How to Make a Solo Move Easier

Maybe you’ve had help in the past when moving thanks to friends and family, but they might not always be available to help out. When you’re living on your own, there might come a time when you’ll have to do a solo move. While it might sound daunting, moving alone doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. In fact, as long as you follow the below steps, your solo move might even be easier than if you had to move with others!

Plan in Advance

If you live in NYC, you should know when your lease is up. That gives you plenty of time to start preparing for your move. Regardless of the circumstances, moving always takes longer than you think. When you’re moving alone it can take even longer as you will have to do everything by yourself Luckily, you can start the moving process several months in advance.

One of the first steps you should take is to create a master like of all your moving tasks and deadlines. Don’t leave anything out even if it seems trivial. You don’t want to forget something and have to scramble to get it done at the last minute. If you’re not sure where to get started, here are some ideas on what to include on your list:

  • Getting moving boxes and other moving materials
  • Set a date to donate/throw out whatever belongings you no longer need
  • Packing each room
  • Taking pictures and making an inventory of everything that will be coming with you
  • Canceling or transfer utilities
  • Updating your mailing address

From now until moving day, make sure to look over your checklist to ensure you’re on target to meet your deadline.

Create a Budget

Living on your own has its perks, but it also means you’re responsible for all the bills and that includes when you move. There are a lot of factors that go into creating your personalized budget, but in general you can expect to pay anywhere between $1,000 to $6,000 on a move. Of course, that total depends on a variety of factors. Moving always tends to cost more than you estimate, so when you’re creating your budget, make sure to tack on some extra money at the end for those surprise expenses. Some basic moving costs to consider when creating your budget include:

  • Cost of the actual move – decide whether you will hire professional movers or do it yourself. Both have pros and cons which will be discussed further below
  • Packing materials – one box might not seem expensive, but when you end up having to purchase 10+ boxes, packing tape, and other packing items you might be surprised to see the total jump into the hundreds
  • Real estate costs – you probably have to pay at least first month’s rent and security, but you might also have to pay for credit check, administrative, and even pet deposit if you have a pet
  • Move-in fees – once you’ve moved into your new place there will be a lot of expenses that will pile up which could lead to you spending thousands of dollars, especially if you end up leaving behind a lot of old furniture. Keep note of everything you will need to buy in your new place and don’t forget to include things like utility set up, small expenses like toilet paper and paint, and more.

Luckily, if you planned in advance, you can reduce your overall costs by doing the following:

  • Don’t pay for boxes! Reach out to local stores to see if they have any used ones they plan on throwing out. You should also save whatever boxes you received from your online orders.
  • Downsize as much as possible. Be realistic about what you really need at your new place. Follow the six month rule. If you haven’t used an item in the past six months, you probably won’t use it at your new place.
  • Sell as much as you can. If you have high value items that you no longer use, sell them online. While you might not get the full retail value that you paid, you can earn a few extra bucks to help out with the move. This process can take some time, so make sure to start this process as early as possible.
  • Pack everything yourself unless  you really don’t have time. Yes, moving companies might offer packing services, but this can add hundreds of dollars to your final bill. Save your money and do it yourself. This way you know exactly what is in every box and that your fragile items are packed away safely.
  • If you got rid of a lot of your furniture, look online for good deals on used furniture. Make sure to properly fumigate it before you bring it into your new apartment as the last thing you want to deal with is an infestation.

DIY or Professional Movers

Deciding whether to hire movers or mover yourself depends on your budget, complexity of your move, and your own personality. Moving alone means you can only rely on yourself for DIY moves, which could be an issue if you have heavy furniture to move. In that case, your only option is to hire professional movers. However, if you only have some boxes to move, you might be able to move yourself. Before you make your decision, consider the follow pros and cons for each option

Moving Yourself

When you go the DIY route, you have complete control over your move. You get to choose everything from the truck to the moving supplies. Since you’re also handling everything yourself, you can ensure nothing breaks in the process. You also have more flexibility when it comes to when your move starts and ends as well as the packing process. You don’t have to put everything into boxes if you don’t want to. So long as everything is on the truck on moving day, you’re good to go!

The DIY option is also great if you’re on a tight budget. Renting a van can cost as little as $40 saving you thousands of dollars. Of course, this price can increase as most truck rentals allow you to choose add-ons and loading supplies to make your move easier. One add-on you should definitely include is additional insurance just in case you get in an accident.

Of course, the downside of DIY moves is that it means you’re doing all the heavy lifting. If you’re not used to heavy lifting, you could end up injuring yourself in the process because you twisted or lifted a box the wrong way. This could delay your move by a few days! Even if you don’t hurt yourself, you may end up scratching up walls of the building when moving. Depending on the damage and your landlord, you might have to pay for the repair.

If you’re not a natural planner, then you probably will have a hard time moving yourself. While hiring professional movers requires some planning, you don’t have to worry so much about the logistics of getting your stuff from point A to point B. Plus, you have to plan how to load and unload the truck and how to arrange everything so your fragile items aren’t getting jostled around. You’ll also  have to worry about parking and, with it, parking tickets!

Professional Movers

Even though it might cost you more upfront to hire NYC movers, it could actually save you money in the long run as you won’t have to worry about paying for damages, parking tickets, or being bedridden because of an injury. While you have to do your due diligence to find the right movers, once you do find a trustworthy company, you won’t have to lift a finger on moving day. Plus, since they are professionals, they can get your move done in a matter of a few hours depending on how much stuff you have giving you more time to unpack and relax after the move.

One other big benefit is that moving companies are insured, which is a must for many NYC apartment buildings. In some cases, you might have to hire a professional moving service because the building will require something called a certificate of insurance (COI). This form shows what insurance coverage the moving company has as well as their liability coverage. So in the event that the movers damage something in the building, they will be held liable not you. You will have to contact your current and new building manager to see if they require this form and make sure to let your movers know so they can submit it on time. Otherwise, you won’t be allowed to move in!

Of course, when you hire professional movers that also means you’re shelling out the big bucks for their expertise. You also have less flexibility when it comes to the timing of your move. With that said, this can be mitigated somewhat by calling 4-6 weeks in advance so you can at least choose your preferred move date. The company will then schedule an arrival time a few days before your move.


Moving by yourself can seem daunting, but as long as you take actionable steps every day for a few months, you should be able to manage it with ease. With that said, there’s no reason you need to do everything by yourself. Delegate the more strenuous task of loading  and unloading your stuff to professional movers like us!



How far in advance should I hire professional movers?

In general, you should book a mover about 4-6 weeks before your move. If you’re moving during peak season (April-August) you should try to hire them around 2 months beforehand.

What happens if my apartment isn’t ready to move in by the time I have to move out of my old place?

You should store your belongings with a friend or rent a storage unit. Many movers also offer a storage option.

How can I make my move easier?

Create checklists, plan out your budget, make an inventory of all your belongings, write in calendar reminders, etc. to stay on top of everything.