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The Right Way to Move Every Time

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Courtney Wirth/Thrillist

Courtney Wirth/Thrillist

Get into your new place early

If your lease starts the week before you actually move in, make sure to use that time wisely. Get in there and measure everything so you can start planning where to put your stuff. If you can tell the movers exactly where the couch should go, it’s a chore you won’t have to do yourself later. Do the annoying stuff like hanging drapes or stocking up on cleaning supplies, too -- it’s so much easier when all you have to do on arrival is unpack.

Be realistic about your move

Yeah, you probably could enlist five friends who’ll never talk to you again to move your entire apartment across town on the subway, piece by piece. It’s possible. But you could also shell out a couple hundred bucks for a local removal firm and still have pals at the end of it. The guys who show up might not always be the best company -- I’ll never forget the dude who was having such bad bowel trouble that he brought his own air freshener, but still managed to carry an armchair down four flights of stairs singlehanded -- but as long as you’ve done your research, you can bet they’ll do a good job.

Resign yourself to the real cost

Moving always costs more than you think. Moving always costs more than you think. Moving always costs more than you think. Accept it, deal with it, understand that even the tape and boxes are going to add up. If you hired movers, factor in a hefty tip. Consider the stuff you’ll need to replace or buy for the first time (“Here’s your broom that I borrowed three years ago, downstairs neighbor whose name I still don’t know!”) You’ll have a happier move if you’re not flipping out about unexpected costs at every turn, so figure out what you need and how much it costs beforehand, then prepare to sail right over that budget anyway.

Measure the stairwells in both buildings

Is it a pain to disassemble your couch into two or three parts before moving? Sure. But not as much of a pain as getting it stuck halfway up the stairs of your new building (or down the stairs of your current one). Figure out what’s feasible first, and prepare accordingly. Note to self: Figure out how to send this article back in time to younger self to avoid the highly unpleasant four-people-completely-trapped-and-screaming-on-staircase debacle of 2010.

Courtney Wirth/Thrillist

Give yourself twice as long as you think you need to pack

“I can pack up my kitchen in, like, an hour, two hours tops!” you tell yourself. No. This will not happen. This never happens. No one knows why packing takes so long -- it’s a weird mix of procrastination, nostalgic daydreaming, tedium, and running out of packing tape. Whatever schedule you figure out, double it, or still be in the middle of packing the first room when the truck arrives.

Learn to let go

You know those two boxes full of assorted crap you haven’t unpacked since the last move? Throw them out. Don’t even open them, just toss them right in the trash and save yourself the two hours of agonizing over whether you can really part with that mini screwdriver/flashlight combo someone gave you that might come in handy one day, like if you had to defuse a very small bomb in the dark, or something, you never know, right? If you didn’t open them in the last two years, you don’t need what’s inside. Make your move easier -- and your new place more spacious -- by using each move as an opportunity to clean house. Literally.

Don’t be a macho idiot

No, you cannot empty your entire bookshelf into one giant box and carry it down three flights of stairs. And if you do manage it, that’s going to be you done for the day -- maybe for the next month. Professional movers can do this because they have spines of iron and the stamina of a sexually adventurous racehorse. If this does not describe you, pack smaller.

Hire a maid

The last thing you’re going to want to do after moving all your stuff is go back to your old place and scrub the evidence of a year’s solid partying off the walls for three hours, before handing the keys back. Hire a maid to come in while you’re moving your stuff to the new place, then come back to a squeaky clean apartment just in time to give your former landlord his keys back and get your security deposit returned in full.

Nick Leftley has been published in Maxim, Time Out New York, Men's Fitness, and many others. He has also written for various sitcom projects for the BBC, and enjoys writing about himself in the third person.