When you are moving into your very first apartment, you have a lot on your mind. You need to find a place to live within your budget, you may need to find roommates and you have to start thinking about furniture. The next hurdle is to decide how you can get your existing stuff moved into that shiny new apartment. Should you get your friends or family to help you move, or hire professional movers. The answer will become obvious when you ask yourself these three questions:
1.) How much stuff do I have?
If you are a minimalist who sleeps on a yoga mat and has only enough clothing to fit in one suitcase, you will be able to move yourself pretty easily. If you are purchasing your furniture and having it delivered to your first apartment, you may also be able to move yourself without any help from professionals. But if you are moving your queen size bed, some bookcases, desk, clothing and electronic equipment, i.e. the typical stuff, then ask yourself how strong are your friends and how valuable are your items. If the answers are “not very” and “very”, it’s time start asking around for names of professional movers.
2.) What floor is my new apartment on? Is there an elevator?
Even your most dependable friends or family members may not be strong enough to easily carry everything you have – especially if you are moving into a fifth-story walkup. And since they are not professionals, they do not have the expertise in navigating narrow stairs and tight turns and, in the worst case, may get stuck or damage the walls. If you think your bed will make it, just double check the tightest spots with a tape measure. And even if there is a working elevator, it may not be big enough to fit your larger items, so use that tape measure again. If it looks like you’ll be risking the wrath of your new landlord if you miscalculated, hire a professional.
3.) How dependable are my friends and family?
Sure, they have been telling you for months that they’ll help you to move when you finally get your own place, but talk is cheap. You know your friends. Are they going to follow through? You don’t want to get ready to move bright and early on a Saturday morning, only to find that your friends have decided to sleep in after a wild night out, or that they have decided to go to brunch instead of showing up to help you. Or if your family is eager to experience the Empty Nest syndrome, they may also want to assist you with moving out. But do you want to risk injury to your dad’s bad back? If there’s a good chance that any of these people will flake out on you, you may want to consider a professional mover.
Having your friends move you will be cheaper than hiring a professional mover – you probably can get their help in exchange for a pizza or two and a few adult beverages – but the savings can also come at hidden risks. What if it’s your friend who pulls his back moving your sofa? Do you have renter’s insurance to take care of the medical bills? Reputable professional movers carry their own insurance, so you won’t be left holding the bag.
Now, if you are confident that your friends can safely help you carry your items into your new apartment, then go right ahead and have them move you. But if honestly answering yourself the three questions above has left you with reservations, you may want to consider hiring a professional.