Lessons Learned from Moving from Chicago to NYC

Hi All,

My new colleague Katie just moved to New York all the way from Chicago — and boy did she have some tips! Enjoy!

“I recently moved from Chicago to New York City and the experience was a bit of an eye-opener for me. I wish I had had someone to give me some pointers and guide me through the process. If you’re planning on moving across the country or to another state, here are some lessons I learned.

Don’t spend all of your money on rent! When we were looking at places we were tempted by the spacious buildings that had amenities like an elevator and laundry in unit. We decided to go with a smaller place for less money because the money we’re saving in rent will be our food/drink/fun money. If we had gotten a bigger place, we likely wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the city as much.

Don’t be afraid of walk-ups. We were hesitant about the fourth floor walk up but discovered a few things. 1) They’re cheaper because who wants to climb 60 stairs to get to their apartment? 2) You get better daylight and better views. 3) It feels safer – no robber in his/her right mind would attempt to steal my TV and then proceed to run down four flights of stairs.

Choose your moving company wisely! If you hire movers, make sure you read as many reviews as possible. We had an awful experience with Mayflower. Next time around, I think I’ll do the drive myself (road trip!) and hire someone to help unload the truck when I get to my destination.

Give yourself time. If you’re starting a new job, be sure to give yourself time to unpack and get settled before jumping into work. Because of our moving troubles, we didn’t get our stuff until we were almost through our first week of work and it made for a long, uncomfortable week.

Label your boxes. I know this seems like a given, but trust me. Your life will be immensely easier if you put clear, detailed descriptions of what is in each box. Also, if you get boxes that someone else has used for moving, make sure you cross out their labels on the box so as not to confuse the movers (or yourself!).

Save money. Moving always costs more than you expect. The little things add up – meals out while you’re unpacking, miscellaneous items – paper towels, toilet paper, shower curtains, food, window treatments, etc.

And remember, when you get frustrated and tired and start wondering what the h*ll you were thinking when you decided to move . . . take a step back and go explore your brand new city. It’ll make all of the pains of moving completely worth it:)”

Katie is a recent transplant to NYC by way of Chicago (by way of St. Paul).  She loves communicating with people – learning about what makes them think, what inspires them, what motivates them.

She  lives in the East Village, work at GolinHarris with their consumer and digital teams and is passionate about all things social, books, yoga, travel, food and progress.  She also runs a t-shirt company, Scared Panda, with her boyfriend.  All thoughts and ideas are her own.

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Author My First Apartment

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at Cars.com, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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Comments (4)

  1. Avatar Moving Company NH

    Good suggestions, I think packing wisely is always important. Figure out what you really need to bring with you and get rid of stuff you might not use can drasticly reduce how much you actually have to move. Packing everything and labeling each box will help speed up the unpacking so you can get to the most critical items first.

  2. Avatar Greenway Movers

    The key is really research. Looking up a companies ratings with local and interstate agencies can save you a huge headache. Not all long distance moving companies operate this way.

  3. Avatar Elite Moving Labor

    Great suggestions. Mayflower is a full service moving company and may not be the most affordable way to move. As you suggested, by hiring movers to load and unload in both Chicago and New York you can have much better results.