Challenges of Moving Furniture in NYC
Moving furniture isn’t easy. But when you add NYC’s particular challenges to the mix, moving furniture – even a few pieces – can be fraught with ugly surprises and headaches. To avoid the hassles of moving your furniture in New York City, get clued in to the challenges, be aware of your options, and plan carefully.
Let’s start with the buildings themselves. Many of NYC’s pre-war buildings have narrow doorways, halls, and stairways – some have such extremely narrow spaces that you simply can’t move large furniture pieces through them. Some old buildings may have four or five stories but no elevator. Are you ready to lug your couch up five stories of stairs? In addition to their unique physical features, each building has its own set of moving rules and regulations. They may limit moving to certain hours, restrict the use of the freight elevator (if there is one), or require that you cover common area floors and walls with protective materials. Be sure to talk with both your old and new building supers so you’re aware of each building’s specific moving rules.
OK, now you’re tuned into your building’s moving challenges, but are you familiar and comfortable with NYC’s strict parking laws and regulations? The reason these regulations complicate any move is that they vary from borough to borough. Where and when you can park a car or truck in your old borough may be very different from the times and locations in your new neighborhood – and that’s even if you can find a parking space.
And have you thought about what the weather may decide to do on your moving day? Winter moves are especially challenging because of frigid temps and snow. Walking a sofa out to a moving van on an icy sidewalk can be a tricky maneuver. And what about that sweltering summer heat . . . even though many apartments are air-conditioned, sidewalks aren’t. Carrying heavy furniture out to the van and loading it is especially taxing in the humid heat.
Even if you’re just moving one bed frame and mattress, the more familiar you are with NYC’s furniture moving challenges, the less of a hassle your move will be.
How to Move Furniture in NYC in 11 Steps
Right – moving furniture anywhere is tough but moving furniture in NYC is a serious challenge. To avoid NYC furniture moving pitfalls, follow these 11 steps:
1. Get organized and be aware of your options.
- Create a checklist of everything you need to do to get your furniture moved from point A to Z.
- Include a list of every piece of furniture you’ll be moving.
- Consider your moving options (and check out #s 9 and 10 below).
- If you’re moving just one or a few pieces of furniture, you can:
- rent a truck and ask friends to help you. Be sure to know your buildings’ moving rules and boroughs’ parking regulations.
- hire a car service that has minivans.
- Hire a professional furniture mover.
- If you’re moving a household full of furniture, it makes sense to hire a professional mover, especially because moving in NYC is so much more challenging than in most other cities. Pros know how to flow through the quirky parking codes and building restrictions for quick and efficient moves.
- Just keep in mind that most moving companies have two-hour minimums.
- If you’re moving just one or a few pieces of furniture, you can:
2. Take measurements.
- Measure each piece of furniture that you’ll be moving and enter the dimensions next to the piece of furniture on your checklist. In addition to length and height, be sure to include the depth of each piece.
- Now measure the throughways in your new place. That will include measuring all the doorways, hallways, stairways, and entryways that you’ll be hauling the furniture through. Imagine the frustration of lugging your couch up three flights of stairs only to find out it won’t fit through your apartment’s doorway.
- Finally, measure the dimensions of the rooms themselves – visualize where you want to put each piece of furniture in each room, then measure that wall or space. Don’t forget windows – especially if you don’t want to cover them with furniture.
3. Plan to sell furniture that won’t fit in your new place.
- You can use online sites like Craigslist, Letgo, Offerup, or sell your furniture through a consignment store.
- Apartment Therapy’s Bazaar is a great place to market your vintage, collectible, and designer furniture.
4. Understand your old and new buildings’ moving regulations.
- Find out all moving detail requirements from both buildings’ supers.
- Schedule the dock and freight elevator at your old and new places.
- Find out if walls and floors need to be protected.
5. Gather packing supplies.
- You’ll need furniture moving blankets, shrink wrap, packing tape, cardboard, and a furniture dolly. You can rent the blankets and dolly unless you think that purchasing them is a wise investment and you can use them for other purposes after your move.
- You may need protective material like masonite or Koroflex for your building’s common floor and wall areas. Professional movers will manage this if required.
6. Disassemble and reassemble.
- Sectionals and bed frames obviously need to be disassembled but some other pieces will need to be taken apart to fit through doorways, hallways, and stairs.
- If you hire professional furniture movers, they’ll disassemble, reassemble, and arrange your furniture for you.
7. Start packing.
OK, so you know your couch will fit in your new apartment. Now you need to pad and wrap it so it won’t get damaged.
- Before you pack, watch some furniture packing videos online. They’ll show you how to pad corners, edges, arms, and fragile parts so they don’t get ripped, torn, scratched, or broken in the move.
- Careful padding and wrapping procedures are especially important for leather, antique, vintage, and other valuable furniture.
8. Take care when lifting and loading.
- Make a plan for how many people you’ll need to recruit to lift, carry, load, and unload your furniture. Make sure you have enough people so no one gets hurt.
- If you can’t find enough people or the job seems too difficult, hire a furniture moving company.
9. Consider transport and mode of move.
- In NYC, transport is tricky. Traffic is heavy and congested. Parking is limited and parking regulations are strict. Parking laws vary from borough to borough – and fines are steep. All this means you should be aware of traffic and parking if you’re going to rent a moving truck and drive it on your own.
- Hire a professional furniture mover if you can’t manage transport complications.
- If you have a few small pieces of furniture to move, like a few end tables, consider using a Zipcar or car service. Taxi drivers can be reluctant to take any type of furniture.
- Another mode is to sell your furniture and buy new from a store or service that will deliver directly to your new place.
10. Consider other furniture moving needs.
- Storage: Depending on the length of your storage contract, many moving and storage companies will pick up or deliver your furniture. It’s worth a phone call to find out.
- Donations: Try to find a charity that has a pick-up service.
- Toss it out: New York City has strict junk laws. Certain items like mattresses, sofas, and large wooden furniture pieces are accepted for pick up if you schedule an appointment. Mattresses must be wrapped and sealed in plastic. Call 311 or go to gov/bulk
11. Hire a professional furniture mover.
- If you hire a professional furniture mover, you only have to accomplish the first four 4 steps! Oh, and maybe #10 if you’ll be storing, donating, or tossing. The movers will do everything else for you.
- A pro can move your furniture in a fraction of the time that it would take you to do it. They have the materials, the trained crew, the truck, and the knowledge about NYC parking regulations and building rules. All this expertise can save you stress and headaches.
- The benefits of hiring The Movers NYC
- We are a bonded, licensed, and insured moving company. This means your furniture is protected from start to finish.
- Our experienced and knowledgeable furniture moving teams know and understand the rules, codes, and regulations of all NYC’s five boroughs.
- We use quality equipment, clean trucks, and provide all the padding, wrapping, and furniture moving supplies needed.
- We carefully disassemble, then reassemble and arrange your furniture upon arrival.
Protect your significant furniture investment and your sanity. The Movers NYC can efficiently and expertly move a single piece like your couch or every piece of furniture in your household. Get your free quotes now!