Mitch here! (Again. Two posts in a row from me!)
You know that song “I Like the Way You Move” by OutKast? It was written about us. ;) Kelly and I have moved 15 times since college. We used to move every year and sometimes, for fun, we’d do it more often than that. The issue was that New York apartments are terrible and it doesn’t take long before you start planning to move on… again. Think of New Yorkers like sharks; if they aren’t moving, they’re dying.
A few moving memories:
- Our first date, which was a move. I offered to help Kelly as a ploy to spend time with her. It totally worked! (Side note: She only stayed there a month before moving again… in with me. Don’t tell her grandmother! Hi, Grammie. 😳)
- When I moved via New York City Subway using only a rolling suitcase. This was before Kelly, and it took 10 trips. Life was simpler back then.
- That time when my roommate, Erica, crashed our U-Haul into a parked cop car during a move to the Lower East Side. Not good! Don’t worry. We’re all still best friends. She was a bridesmaid in our wedding!
- One time (and this is true) we got evicted from an illegal sublet at 8 p.m. and had to–in the middle of the night–move all our stuff into a buddy’s place while he was out of town without telling him because his phone was off. He didn’t care, haha. And, when he got home, he allegedly did not notice the boxes for several hours. (?)
- Getting evicted the next year. Our 85-year-old landlord hated how early teachers need to wake up and told us we needed to lay out our clothing the night before to minimize the sound of closing dresser drawers. We did this, but she still kicked us out. Tough crowd!
- After a full day of moving, dropping and cracking my iMac. Kelly says she’s never seen me so angry. It only cost $100 to fix, though!
- Being homeless between leases. TWICE. On both occasions, we donated and threw out most of our stuff, dumped the rest in Kelly’s parents’ garage, and sort of just drove around for a month.
- After finishing up our move to Chicago at 3 a.m., looking around our dumpy apartment and asking ourselves, “Did we make a huge mistake?” We didn’t. ;)
- …and then there was this move, which ended up being the craziest by far. More on this below!
What I’m trying to say here is that we’re veteran movers and typically have what it takes, but this time around, it just so happened that our closing date was only 10 days before our due date. (Planning never was my strong suit.)
So as we approached the move, our “worst case scenario” involved me not only packing the old house, but closing on the new house, moving, aiding my wife in having a baby, and unpacking–all in about 36 hours if the baby came early. It just wasn’t going to happen.
Doctor’s orders were for Kelly to not lift a single box, and even if I blocked out the time to pack and conned a few buddies over to help move the heavy stuff, I couldn’t guarantee that I could be there for the move as we could have to run off to the hospital at any minute. And it’s not like I could postpone the move until AFTER the baby came. Free time does not come more easily with a newborn at home. Long story short, I explored as many avenues as possible, but a couple of weeks before the move, I realized that I needed professional movers. Really good, professional, quick, and understanding movers. Ones that would hug me if I suddenly had a meltdown. (Jokes. Kind of.)
New City Moving
Let’s face it: finding a moving service is really tough. Any guy with a van in Chicago thinks he’s a mover, and searching online brought up hundreds of options, most of which are scams with terrible reviews. I got so fed up with finding a mover that I suggested just donating all our stuff and slowly rebuying everything at the new place. (Kelly didn’t like this idea one bit.) Luckily, a good friend of ours, Barbie, recommended New City Moving because she and her family had used them before when they were expecting their second child, and I’m so glad she did. Now that we’re on the other end of it, I can confidently say that New City Moving is the best moving service in Chicago.
In an effort to be fully transparent, I last-minute e-mailed New City Moving to see whether they might be interested in telling this wacky story with us, and they were thankfully on board! (This was not a sponsored post, but New City Movers did offer their services in exchange for coverage.) In NO way did this affect our decision to go with them, though. We were 100-percent hiring them no matter what because of the high praise of our friends, who had been in essentially the same situation only a couple of years prior.
New City Moving = heaven.
From the get go, they made it as easy as possible to schedule the move. First, they offered a “virtual estimate” which involved a FaceTime call with Bailey, a super friendly moving professional. We went through the house room by room, closet by closet. We even looked under the beds and in the drawers. She took note of everything: each frame, every chair, and all the rugs. She even made special notes for unique pieces like our guitars and bikes.
I was a little embarrassed at how much stuff we had but Bailey was amazingly cheerful and professional, and kept reassuring me that she’d seen WAY worse, haha. She made the whole experience pleasant, and I felt myself calming down the more and more I chatted with her. Honestly, it was kind of fun… which was not something I was expecting! All in all, the call took about 15 minutes and I had an estimate later that night. The number we received was way less than I’d expected for a full-service move of this magnitude, especially compared to the prices my family members had paid in the past.
As would prove typical with this move, scheduling the exact move date was tough, though. This had nothing to do with New City Movers and everything to do with us. Our closing date was delayed five times due to circumstances that were out of our control, and I was nervous to commit to a day until I knew exactly when we’d have the keys. But New City Moving was beyond flexible and were more than happy to adjust the moving date again and again during all our closing madness. (More on that later. Kelly an I want to write a few blog posts on the home-buying process, but we’re a little behind right now!) New City Movers even called the city to adjust our parking permits at both the old and new place so we wouldn’t have to worry about it.
I can’t tell you what a relief it was to avoid the weeks of packing that this move would’ve required had we done it on our own. And considering all the closing headaches and the fact that I had a toddler, needy dog, and super pregnant wife at home… very little packing would have happened anyway. Even worse, I’m a terrible packer. I’m all garbage bags and duct tape.
We sent Emma off to my parents a couple of days before the big day, but as it approached, I’ll admit I was a little nervous about having a team of guys in to pack up our lives. I mean, we’re talking about every drawer and every closet. All my unmentionables, all lousy with embarrassing J.Crew critters! But when the day finally arrived and I met the team, they immediately put me at ease. The professionalism they brought to the job was startling.
The first step was to walk through the place and identify the final destinations for each big item and each closet. The foreman would point to something, I’d say the destination, and the team would shout it out and label/record.
The loveseat goes to the basement.
The coat closet goes to the coat closet.
Giant stuffed bear?
The giant stuffed bear goes to Emma’s room.
This process took about 10 minutes and then it was game time. For them, not me.
The New City Moving team swarmed into our place like a team of moving ninjas. In no time, they’d laid down floor protection, filled the house with boxes, and disappeared into the rooms. They meticulously and delicately packed every single thing we owned. And these guys KNOW how to pack. Each bowl was wrapped in protective paper, each frame was placed in a perfectly sized box, and each piece of furniture was tightly wrapped in a protective blanket. There was an art. Heck, they used ZERO garbage bags and rolls of duct tape. (Weird.)
In the end, it took it took our five guys only six hours to pack our house. We had over 100 boxes and two full truckloads of stuff. The guys even sent a truck of guys to our storage unit and packed all that stuff, too! And as I looked around at the house, perfectly packed up and ready to go, I realized that there had been absolutely no chance I could have accomplished it on my own.
Everyone called it a day and agreed to meet back at the house the following morning at 8 a.m. for the actual move!
I’m not going to lie:
When I saw all of my earthly possessions packed into those 100 boxes and lined throughout my home, it put me back a little. First, where did all this stuff come from I used to only have one pair of pants wtf. And second, how in the world would these guys be able to move all this stuff?!
The answer, of course, is that they’re professional movers and do this on the reg. They do this cool move where they hold any box of any size on their backs with one arm stretched up and one arm down. I saw them carrying all kinds of stuff this way, and then I tried, and dropped the box immediately. Regardless, they’ve mastered it, and it’s genius! I saw one of them pick up a full-sized leather arm chair this way and deftly move it out of the house and into the truck like it was nothing.
While I did feel guilty going into the project, I have to say that watching New City Moving expertly handle the job was one of the more enjoyable experiences I’d had in a while. My back wasn’t hurting, nothing got broken, the walls didn’t need to be retouched, and I didn’t curse a single time that day. It was great!
They moved quickly and had the whole place emptied out in a matter of hours.
There’s something so bizarrely confusing about standing in a newly emptied-out place. I mean, this was my home and it did still look like my home, but it was weirdly small and misshapen and empty. In that moment, it was almost like our whole experience there had never happened. The whole concept of leaving instantly became very real and the finality of all the decisions I’d made up to that moment gave me a little panic attack. Like, hold up, put all the stuff back in the house. I’m not ready for this yet!
Ready or not, though, it happened… and soon enough, we were at the new house. I’d originally thought I’d have to play air traffic controller there, waving boxes and furniture this way and that all day. Not like that would have been a difficult job in comparison, but still: it was really awesome that New City Moving barely needed me after I let them into the new house. Every once in a while, sure: there’d be a question. But since each item had been carefully labeled, it ended up in the appropriate place. Oh! And the movers took great care to cover the floor and stairs, and they didn’t leave a single scuff mark on a wall. Everything was just so immaculately protected.
We’d originally planned on the process taking a third day, but the guys were so ahead of schedule that they asked permission to just unpack the stuff and be done with it on Day Two. And as a guy expecting a baby at any minute, I appreciated their expediency!
Before having a family, I’d never really considered how awful unpacking can be. Sure, it wasn’t the best when Kelly and I did it approximately one million times in our younger years, but it was just us back then, and we really didn’t have that much stuff! Fast forward to the present and we have a LOT.
But New City Moving put together our furniture, hung our clothes in the closets, and even filled the shelves in the garage, helping us decide what stuff belonged out there because we’d never had a garage before. (That was cute.) And in the kitchen, they suggested unpacking it all onto the island so we could decide the right spots for everything. (So smart and so helpful!) I’m not exaggerating when I say that New City Moving truly made our house functional and livable on Day One. Because when they left, all we really needed to do was organize a little bit.
Perhaps move my razor, for example, from the drawer into the medicine cabinet, haha. But that’s it! Having them there was like a fast-forward button on the whole project. Oh! And when the movers left, they took all of those boxes, plastic, tape and floor covers with them. I turned around and the new house was full of my stuff. Kelly and I met in the kitchen and it was kind of like, “did that just happen?”
Oh, and then her water broke and we rushed to the hospital. TRUE STORY.
So yeah. If you followed our story closely–which was hard to do because we went MIA for a while there–you know that while the move was occurring, Kelly was likely already in labor, and we’d be meeting Little Lucy only hours later. As described above, I’ve had some crazy moving stories, but this one takes the cake.
Thanks to New City Moving, Lucy was able to come home from the hospital to her fully set-up “forever home,” and our first days at home together as a family of four weren’t a chaotic mess. I really can’t thank them enough for that. And while I hope to never move again, I can say that if it ever happens again, my first call with be to New City Moving. Thanks, guys.