5 Tips for Moving Into Your First Chicago Apartment

Moving to Chicago is exciting! If you've always wanted to live in the big city and this will be your first time, the actual moving process can be hectic. Even if you've lived in a big city before, moving into your first Chicago apartment may become exhausting.

couple moving into apartment building

When it's time to move into an apartment in the Windy City, a few tips might help. Here are five tips to help you with the moving process.

Move at the Right Time of the Year, If Possible

While it may not be possible, if you have the option to choose when you move, the spring and summer may not be the best time. The weather is great, but everybody is moving during the spring and summer. During these seasons, you may struggle to book apartment movers in Chicago, unless you plan many months in advance.

Choosing to move in the fall or winter might be a better option. While the need for a winter coat could be annoying during a move, the prices for moving and for apartments will likely be lower during the colder months. There will also be less competition for booking your movers as fewer people will be moving. Even the landlords become a bit more desperate and may offer better deals during these seasons.

If the fall and winter won't work for you, at least try to avoid the big move in and move out weekends for colleges throughout Chicago. These weekends happen in late April, early May, and August.

Pack with What You Own

Moving into your first Chicago apartment can certainly get expensive. Using some of the things you already own as packing supplies will help ease the burden. Even though boxes aren't expensive, when you end up buying several, along with bubble wrap, tape, and other supplies, it can add up fast.

Consider using blankets and towels as protection. Pack in suitcases and bins you already own before investing in any other moving supplies. Using what you own might save you money you can use for other things, such as hiring a residential mover in Chicago instead of trying to do it all yourself.

Eliminate and Minimize Before Packing

This tip is especially important if you're coming from a larger apartment or house in a smaller town or city. Overpacking is common for those moving to Chicago and you will likely have less space than you had in another city as the cost of living is more expensive in Chicago.

You may be going from 1,000+ square feet to less than 700, which means you won't have room for all your things. When moving into your first Chicago apartment, it's a good idea to eliminate anything you don't need or want before packing.

Use Up Groceries Before Moving

About two weeks before you're ready to move to Chicago, it's time to start using up the last of your groceries, especially anything in the fridge or freezer. Traveling with food isn't fun, easy, or practical.

Prepare and eat the last of the food you own and schedule a time to shop at the grocery store only for what you really need. Consider buying things for one day or one meal at a time and you may end up eating out a bit more than normal during the moving process.

Pack an Overnight Bag

Even if you're not staying overnight on the way to Chicago, pack an overnight bag or an essentials bag. This bag should have everything you need if you have to stay in a hotel overnight, along with the essentials you may need for the first day/night in your new place.

It's likely you will arrive at your first Chicago apartment and have very little energy once the day is done. You may not want to unpack right away and your overnight or essentials bag buys you a day to work things out.

These five tips will help make moving into your first Chicago apartment a bit easier. Of course, hiring a moving company to handle your packing, moving, and unpacking will also make the process much easier.

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Renting a Moving Truck vs. Hiring a Moving Company

It's time to pack up and move. You have a specific budget you're working with and you're not sure if you should rent a moving truck or hire a moving company.

Making the decision between a moving company and a DIY move isn't always an easy decision. Renting a moving truck will usually cost less, upfront, but the added stress and work you must do will make it less convenient. Here are some of the things to consider when choosing between renting a moving truck vs hiring a moving company.

Price Tag

If you've set a moving budget, the price tag will be one of the deciding factors for you between rending a moving truck and hiring a moving company. At first glance, it will seem less expensive to rent a moving truck compared to hiring a moving company. However, you have to look at more than just the initial cost.

If you rent a moving truck, you will also need to pay for gas and tolls. Those moving across the country should also consider that you won't drive as fast, so you may need to overnight in a hotel and you may need to buy meals on the road.

When comparing the price of a moving truck to a moving company, make sure you factor in all the costs. Hiring a moving company may end up being the less expensive option.

Hands

Does anybody truly enjoy begging family and friends to help them pack? When you rent a moving truck, you will have to recruit the hands of others to help you pack the truck and move. Of course, if you're a family of 6 and 3 of your family members are teenagers, you might have all the help you need.

However, for those moving on their own or without much help, hiring a moving company means you will have plenty of hands to help pack up the truck. Plus, the hands you will have are professionals with the ability to ensure your things are properly loaded into the truck and unloaded carefully at your new location.

Control

One of the things you do lose when you hire a moving company is control. Renting a moving truck means you're in total control of the moving process. You'll get to choose the truck, the supplies, and everything else that goes along with your move.

However, when you choose a good moving company in Chicago, you'll have enough control to keep you sane, if you need control. Plus, you won't have to do nearly as much work and you'll be trusting experts that move things for people every single day.

Safety and Protection

Renting a moving truck means you have to load it, drive it, and unload it. You're responsible for the safety and the protection of your items, yourself, and the truck.

When you hire a moving company, you don't have to worry about much of anything. You won't do the heavy lifting, you won't have to drive, and you won't have to worry about how the truck is packed. Professionals handle moves every single day and they know how to make sure your move happens safely with all your belongings protected.

There are benefits to both renting a moving truck and hiring a moving company. However, if you're looking for a less stressful, easier way to move, hiring the right moving company will make a huge difference.

The Professionals Moving Specialists moving truck
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How to best be helpful to your professional movers

You’ve hired a moving crew with a great reputation and a great deal of experience in moving household goods. Now it’s time for your upcoming move and you want to be sure everything goes as well for you as it has for other moves. What can you do on your part to help ensure the move is a great one?

While your movers will be doing the heavy lifting and the stuff that isn’t so fun, you can do some things in preparation for the move to make sure they can do their job more efficiently. Start emptying out dresser drawers and getting some labels ready, along with these other tips, so that you can be extra helpful to your movers while they do their best to take care of you too.

Get beverages for the crew

One easy place to start is to have cold beverages ready for the team on moving day. Your movers are going to work hard and they are going to work up a sweat. Offering refreshments to your crew and anyone else you have helping you out will show appreciation for the hard work and keep everyone feeling good for the duration of the project. Having snacks like fruit and granola bars is also a great way to keep everyone fueled for the hard work taking place.

Make labels for the right rooms

If you are the one doing the packing, make sure to have everything packed and ready to go for moving day. Have a space set aside for anything you don’t want them to touch, such as an extra bedroom that they won’t go in.

If you have a packing crew, make sure to start making labels ahead of time for things like “kitchen,” “dishes,” “kid’s toys,” so that you can slap those on the boxes quickly and efficiently. If you are packing yourself, make sure everything is labeled with the items and rooms they go in before the movers arrive.

Empty desks and drawers

The movers aren’t going to move your dresser, desks, and armoires with stuff full in the drawers. Instead, you should empty them out ahead of time to ensure the furniture can be moved and nothing is damaged. Emptying any cabinets, desks, and other furniture and packing them into boxes with everything else will allow your movers to focus on the piece of furniture and the best protection for it without extra weight inside.

Disconnect electronics and appliances

One thing you may not have thought to do is to disconnect anything plugged into the wall. This means that you’ll want to unplug lamps, TVs, DVD players, hairdryers, air fresheners, and more. Have everything unplugged and wiped free of dust so that it’s easy and fast for the movers. Otherwise, you may be paying for extra time while your movers attempt to figure out how to detangle them.

Take everything off the walls

Your walls are full of art, photographs, shelves, mirrors, and more. This is the time to start taking everything down. Your movers can appropriately pack these fragile items in the right boxes, but having them down off the wall ahead of time will make it much more efficient. Anything on the wall can be taken down and set on the floor below where it was hanging including paintings, mirrors, clocks, and pictures. Then put all of the hanging hardware and nails in a bag for your new home.

Pack valuable items in your car

Another tip to help your movers is to put anything small, fragile, or very important in your own car. While it’s not required, your professional movers will appreciate not being responsible for your family heirlooms, jewelry, or small electronics. Then you can keep some of these extremely valuable items with you the whole day.

The most important thing to do to help your professional movers is to let them do what they do best. Taking steps to make the day smoother ahead of time will be appreciated, but trusting them to handle your goods with care is the best thing you can do.

preparing a large item for a move
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Moving Day Etiquette: What you should and shouldn’t do for your movers

When moving day arrives, you want to be properly prepared. Moving day etiquette is important you should know what you should and shouldn't do for your movers.

Some of the things you may or may not do for your movers also depend on what you hired them to do for you. For example, if you hired your movers to pack for you, it's not necessary to finish packing before they arrive. However, if you didn't hire your movers to do your packing, you should be done packing before they arrive.

moving boxes ready to go

Here are a few other things you should know about moving day etiquette before your big day arrives.

Label Your Boxes Properly

Labeling your boxes with the room they belong to will make it easier on your movers. You can even color-code the labeling for each room to make it even easier for your movers to know where everything needs to go once it arrives at your new home.

In addition, make sure you label any fragile items clearly. Put the word "fragile" on all sides of the box and make it obvious.

Don't Make Boxes Too Heavy

It's better to make your boxes smaller and lighter than larger and heavier. Make sure you pack in a way that allows every box to easily be picked up and moved. Even the strongest movers may struggle to lift large, heavy, and awkward boxes on the day of your move.

Get Out of Their Way

While you should remain present on the day of your move, you don't want to be in the way. Make sure you give your movers access to easily move your things and make sure you let them do the job you hired them to do.

Reserve an Elevator

If you live in a high-rise building, make sure you reserve an elevator, if possible, for the day of your move. It's not a good idea to expect movers to carry your items down several flights of stairs because you didn't book the elevator for the time of your move.

Provide Hydrating Beverages

Your movers will appreciate a bottle of water or a sports drink during the process, especially on hot days. Even in the winter, providing a beverage (maybe a hot cup of coffee in the morning) can be a nice way to welcome your movers to your home.

Remove Pets and Small Children, if Possible

If you can, send your spouse with the children and pets ahead of time. Even if they just go to the local dog park, keeping them out of the way of the movers is best for all parties involved.

You don't want your children getting hurt because they got in the way and the same goes for your pets. Plus, this can be a very stressful thing for small children and pets. It's best to keep them out of the way on moving day by removing them from your home while the packing is underway.

Make Sure You Are Present

If one of the movers has a question, you should be present to answer the question. They will also need to double-check things as they pack and sign the paperwork. Make sure you're easily accessible on moving day or at least make sure they know where to find you, if necessary.

Moving day is a big day for most people. After you've hired the right moving company for your residential move in Chicago, make sure you follow the tips above. You'll have better moving day etiquette simply by following this advice and your movers will appreciate it.

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How far in advance should I schedule a move?

There are so many details surrounding a move from one house to another. One detail you may be focused on right now is trying to decide how far out you’ll need to actually schedule your move. This answer is going to be different for everybody because if you are moving locally, it’s much simpler than if you are moving from out of town.

If you are moving during a comfortable weather season, it will be much simpler than if you were moving during inclement weather. Some days of the month are busier than others, while certain days of the year should be avoided altogether. Take a look at this guide for determining when to schedule your residential move.

scheduling a move

Days to avoid

There are a few days in the year to simply avoid scheduling your move whatsoever. You’ll want to avoid booking a move over any national holidays, including times like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Independence Day.  You’ll also want to try to avoid booking it over the weekends since those are also the busiest time of the week to relocate.

If possible, avoid booking your move at the beginning of the month or at the end of the month since this is when most people would finish and start a lease and also be trying to move.

Local moves

If you are going to be moving locally, from one house to another in the same city, you are going to have more leeway with booking the movers out. If you choose to do this off-season, you can even book it just a couple of weeks out and you shouldn’t have an issue.

It’s best to give more notice since movers will try to book up, but typically during the off-season, it will be much easier.  If you are moving locally during the busy time of year, typically summer, you’ll have to give a couple of months’ notice to movers. If you have no choice but to book with less notice, you’ll have fewer movers to choose from.

Out of state moves

If you are moving from one city to another, you are going to have a different set of circumstances as you would if you were a local move. Moving to another city during the busy season, typically summer, means that you are going to need at least 10-12 weeks booked out with your movers. Fewer movers are willing to move you out of the area, which means you’ll be more limited in who you can work with.

If you are moving out of the city during the off-season, you can probably book 1-2 months out, but lean towards the 2-month mark to be safe. For moves that are going over state lines, you will be extremely limited on choices and thus you’ll need to book at least 12 weeks out.

Scheduling out is important

Now that you know when to avoid booking your move, you’ll want to focus on the best times to move and understand why plenty of notice is key. Having your move booked well in advance gives you a confirmed and reserved date that will allow the rest of your move to be able to be scheduled around this date, such as the packing process and the first day at your new job.

Your moving crew will have plenty of notice to properly prepare for the day and will be able to work with you in advance on any questions or concerns that will avoid any surprises on moving day. If you book early, you can sometimes get a discounted rate and you’ll find that you have the best movers in town available to book with.

Try to book your move on a weekday other than Friday, sometime in the middle of the month, and especially during the off-season. If your area is busiest in the summer, avoid booking from May until September, and try to book it for one of the other months of the year. The longer the distance you are moving, the earlier you’ll need to book.

Consider if you are moving into a complex that will need advanced notice or a property on a street that will need to be reserved. Talk to your movers about elevator access, unusual items, and long carries. By booking well in advance, you can work out all of these details and you won’t have the stress of a last-minute move that could cause you to work with poor movers.

Use these tips to schedule your upcoming move with plenty of notice to your moving crew.   

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