How to make moving in New York suck less
By Roberta Bernstein, September 28, 2016 | 6:52pm
Moving is a minefield of lists and plans and packing, texts and emails, emotions and mistakes. And it’s something we willingly repeat. The average person in the US moves 11 times in his or her life, U-Haul estimates; some 40 to 50 million Americans will move this year alone.
So why make it harder than it has to be? An entire industry has sprung up to help you relocate hassle-free. Its offerings include countless apps that keep your clutter in check (cost: as little as zero dollars) and white-glove moving services that won’t let you lift a finger.
Now you can direct your move like a carefully choreographed ballet, from creating the earliest checklists to plumping up the throw pillows as a finishing touch.
“Moving never goes perfectly,” says Lauryn Gorli, who recently moved her family north from Georgia and used the app SwatchPop!, which matches users with an interior designer, to fix up the new place.
“My husband’s an executive who took a day off. That day off means a lot — a truck can’t break down, and it did. But there were services to make it easier.”
If you’re looking for a head start to organize your belongings, try multiple-function apps like free Sortly (iPhone only with Android on the way). Among its useful hacks are detailed to-do lists (before boxes are packed) and printable labels to keep track of their contents (after they’re stuffed).
The labels sport a QR code, which, once you scan it with the app, calls up a list of what’s inside — so you’re not ripping them open looking for the colander after move-in.
“I’m using it to prepare for a move and [I think] it is a great app,” says Sortly user Victoria Chase, who lives in New Hampshire. “I use it for cataloging 30 years of accumulated possessions, exporting PDFs for my grown children so they can claim things if they want them — this is a great feature — and printing the QR codes.”
Sortly’s thorough pre-relocation checklist starts eight weeks out (get the kids’ school records transferred, find the mover) and takes you week by week up through the day itself. We especially like how it remembers the small stuff, like the food in the freezer (start polishing it off six weeks before the big move).
Other helpful apps include: Moving Day (free, iPhone), which also utilizes bar codes; MoveAdvisor (free, iPhone and Android), which can get you price quotes for movers, calculate your shipment weight and more; and MoveMatch (free, Android), which also determines box weight and coordinates with your mover what goes where in the new place. Or if you’re looking to purge possessions – and make some extra cash — digital consignment company TheRealReal has just launched a division that will pick up, store and sell your designer furniture.
As for the move itself, extra perks — like having your stuff packed for you — can actually be yours for a very reasonable price. Take national chain Flatrate. The difference between merely moving a basic 900-square-foot Manhattan pad and also packing up its entire contents is less than 20 percent. Companies like Flatrate, Brooklyn-based U.Santini Inc. and Manhattan-based Scanio also offer “luxury” services to give clients valuable added TLC.
“Even with a basic move, we’re going to unpack things into your new closets, unpack the TVs and large artwork. We’ll do a full-service move,” says Dan Menchini, president of U.Santini, which will charge anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for a basic move. To both pack and move someone can cost $3,000 and up.
Those extra perks include computer and home entertainment setups, and assisting licensed contractors, electricians and interior designers.
If money is no object, then a) lucky you and b) high-end services that can function as full-fledged project managers, or “concierges,” are a phone call away.
NouvelleView, for instance, based in New York and the Hamptons, manages all details, coordinates with contractors, and can meticulously set up every inch of your place — think shoes lined up by heel height in the dressing room.
“Pamela [Muller, co-founder and principal] did an extraordinary job of being me without me being around,” says client Louise McAndrews, whose move to Florida was recently handled by Nouvelle at a cost of some $25,000. “If something can go wrong, it did, but Pamela was there to fix it. When the company bringing our car said [last minute that] it couldn’t do it, Pamela called them, and I don’t know how, but it was delivered.”
This week, in fact, NouvelleView moved Robert Galanti into his new home off Madison Avenue. Curator Rigel Angelina took care of unpacking his funky furnishings while he relaxed.
Meanwhile, one-percenters with valuable collectibles and fine art tend to go with movers who specialize in transporting such priceless works. But those services don’t come cheap: Prices can vary, but it’s not uncommon to start the ball rolling at around $12,000.
“Every job is different,” says Thad Meyerriecks, co-owner of New York’s Bourlet ArtLogistics. “It can be a minimum four-hour job, or a two-month project like one we just finished.” But, he notes, “there’s no cheap road to security.”
The first step, he says, is to have your art appraised by an insurance company. “Some things are surprisingly valuable, though something that might be of lesser value to an insurance company can be of supreme value to a client, a beloved artifact of their lives,” he says.
“That’s the kind of thing we can’t put a value on. I always tell our art handlers, ‘It doesn’t matter if something costs $5 million or five dollars — treat it with care.’ ”
Then there are luxury relocation experts like Greystone ($10,000 and up) who drill deep and do the move itself. Greystone can deal with IT work, the hanging of expensive art and more. The company even helped an executive moving to Manhattan from the West Coast find an au pair and then created a neighborhood guide for the family, explains David Hauslaib, Greystone’s chief concierge officer. “We want people to feel like locals as soon as they walk into their apartment,” he says.
Of course, there are less expensive ways to feel right at home. The aforementioned SwatchPop! app offers users designers, who can either decorate a whole house or just help fix specific problems. (Pricing is $49.95 for what SwatchPop! called the first “dilemma” and then $25.99 for each additional one.)
“I went from having four giant built-ins that held all these great knickknacks and pictures that I wanted to keep in the new house, but it only had one built-in,” says SwatchPop! client Gorli of her move. “So I took a photograph of all our stuff and sent it … and they showed me how to [arrange] it.”
Interior design app Homestyler (free, iPhone) lets you design your home in 3-D so you’re ready to place furniture when the movers gets there. The Magic Plan app (free, iPhone) also creates 3-D floor plans.
And don’t underestimate the power of having even the smallest household jobs done for you — sometimes post-move, feet finally up, the last thing you want to do is get out the tool box. Keep in mind resources like Task Rabbit and Handy.com, which can quickly accomplish tiny tasks that might otherwise drive you nuts.
Surviving a move may seem like a miracle in itself, no matter who or what is helping. But there’s still the new neighborhood to navigate, and Next Door (free, iPhone and Android), an online social community for specific areas, can go a long way in connecting you with new neighbors and important information. You can find a babysitter, reach out with questions, find the best painter for your new kitchen and more.
There now — that wasn’t so bad, was it?