My major project this summer has been moving into my new apartment, but how do you make leaving your old place as easy and smooth as possible? Here are some moving out tips that worked for me!
1) Purge, purge, purge
Before the packing can begin, it's important to take stock of the possessions you've accumulated and be honest with yourself about what should make the cut and what you can leave behind. I tried to purge pretty ruthlessly, which meant eliminating most of my DVD collection (though I still hung onto the complete series of Sex and the City...#priorities). Perhaps my biggest purge of all involved my shoe collection - not only did I whittle it down quite a bit (farewell, Steve Madden black patent wedges that I bought for a steal during my freshman year of college!), but I made the ultimate shoe sacrifice...I got rid of ALL of my shoeboxes. For a gal who has meticulously labelled each and every shoebox in her collection for the past 15 years, this was a HUGE deal but it was necessary in order to make room for both of us to share one closet. Now that I've been living sans-shoeboxes for the past two months, I have to admit that I really don't miss them (TOO much), and purging them was an excellent way for me to trim the fat and get rid of excess baggage!
2) Change your address (utilities, bills, cable, USPS, etc)
It may sound minor, but I was very happy that I took care of all of my address changes before moving in since at that point, unpacking was consuming my life. Not only do you want to change your billing address for all of your credit cards, but make sure you contact USPS with your move date so that your mail can be forwarded from your old address (bonus - after moving in, you'll receive a welcome packet filled with some seriously great coupons). You'll also want to contact your utilities company to either stop service completely on your move-out date or transfer services to your new address. Of course, don't forget to call your cable company - unpacking is never going to be my favorite way to spend the evening, but doing it with some Netflix made it MUCH more palatable!
3) Pack with Bin-It
During my previous moves, I had battled with the cumbersome task of purchasing expensive cardboard boxes, lugging them home, unfolding and building each box, then securely taping every box...all before any actual packing could even begin! Luckily, I wised up this time and left my packing needs to Bin-It, after hearing a coworker simply RAVE about how amazing they were with her move. The Bin-It team showed up at my old apartment two weeks prior to my move with a tall stack of 30 plastic bins loaded up on a dolly - since my old apartment was a small studio, it was great to have them compactly stacked within each other so that they didn't take up any extra room until I was ready to use them.
Their folding tops and easy to use zip-ties make tricky packing tape wrangling a thing of the past - it was incredibly simple and quick to tightly secure every bin. Bin-It also provides box labels, cardboard, packing paper, bubble wrap, and more...it's one-stop shopping to alleviate packing stress!
Not only did I love saving so much time by using these plastic bins as opposed to slowly building my own cardboard boxes, but I was happy to have an environmentally-friendly option to cut down on moving waste. I mean, if I felt comfortable enough to pack my shoebox-less shoes in these bins, then you KNOW that these guys are onto something good.
Each bin has comfortable hand grips to assist with lifting, and since they stack onto each other, it's easy to carry several bins at once - my movers could not stop talking about how awesome the bins were! After I was totally unpacked, I simply arranged a time for Bin-It to pick up the bins and they rolled them out as easily as they had brought them in...I'm pretty sure it took less than 2 minutes from the time my doorbell rang until the time the bins were back on the truck!
Bin-It has customizable packages depending on the size of your home and your individual packing needs - I cannot recommend them highly enough. They were a total timesaver, and they made packing a breeze!
4) Set aside essentials in a weekend bag
Instead of tossing your daily essentials in a moving box (because you KNOW you'll never find the one you need right away), simply set aside a weekend bag and pack it with your toothbrush, sunglasses, phone charger, soap, toilet paper, a change of clothes, and any other essentials you'll need when you first arrive at your new home. Since we were basically living in a sea of bins for several days, this was a huge savior for us so that we didn't have to go hunting for the basics.
5) Get your full security deposit back with a professional deep cleaning
Moving and packing can kick up a lot of dust and since I was so busy getting everything settled to move into my new place, I didn't have the time to scrub my old apartment back to sparkling condition. NYC landlords are notoriously sticklers for finding any excuse to dock some dollars off of your returned security deposit, so I knew that this wasn't a job for just any ordinary human. In order to make this apartment pristine, I would have to call in the big guns...the Wizard of Homes.
It's no exaggeration to say that their work was, well...magical! Every inch, nook, and cranny of my apartment was tirelessly scrubbed until you could eat off of every surface and floor. I had never seen my apartment look so gorgeous (including the day that I first moved in!). Though these unfiltered iPhone pictures cannot fully do their work justice, you can still see how impeccably clean the apartment was left.
When I opened the cabinet below the kitchen sink, I was floored to discover that its years-old water damage had completely vanished...I'm telling you, it was seriously like magic! I was so impressed with their attention to detail that even hidden spots like this were dealt with careful attention.
My bathroom sink looked like it had never even been used before, and I could seriously see my reflection in the faucet.
My Wizard even folded the toilet paper...such a nice touch!
Wizard of Homes serves Manhattan below 110th Street. I only wish I had discovered them before moving out, since their service was absolutely fantastic and left my apartment feeling completely fresh and squeaky clean! Best of all, my superintendent did a final walk-through with me to assess any damage, and he said this was the cleanest move-out apartment he had ever seen (cue my smug smile). I'm so grateful to Wizard of Homes for helping me reclaim my full security deposit, and I'm happy that the apartment's new tenant had such a beautiful place to come home to!
6) Manage your keys remotely with Keycafe
One of the biggest challenges of undertaking a huge project like moving is managing your time. While moving felt like a full-time job, I still had to go to my ACTUAL full-time job while juggling all these additional tasks. One of the ways that I stayed sane and was able to virtually be in two different places at once was by utilizing Keycafe, which allows you to remotely manage access to your home through secured key exchanges. Made popular by Airbnb hosts, Keycafe stores your keys at local cafes and you can grant permission to different guests to pick them up during set dates. There is no personal information on any of the keys and guests need to provide a passcode to pick them up, so you can feel secure that only your permitted guests are gaining access.
Keycafe helped me manage my time efficiently throughout the moving process; instead of needing to make extra trips back and forth to my apartment, I was able to let people into my apartment remotely while I was at the office so that the moving train continued trucking along! A friend of mine was able to stop by and pick up some books that I wasn't taking along to the new apartment, my Wizard came in and did the entire deep cleaning while I was working, and my mom popped by and wound up packing a few extra bins while she waited for me to come home (thanks, Mom). It was really great to not have to worry about scheduling these things during times when I would be home, so that I could use that time wisely by continuing to pack!
It's easy to manage Keycafe directly through your cell phone, and you can receive text messages and emails every time your keys are accessed. Best of all, you can sign up for a free trial at Keycafe for two free key pick-ups so you can try them out for yourself! I will definitely be using their services again the next time I have houseguests staying with me.
What are your best moving out tips? Are there any companies you've hired that have made this burdensome task much easier?
Linking up with Jessica and Katie!