So You Signed a Lease. Now What?

Cute dog popping it's head out of cardboard box against light colored wall


Congratulations! You’ve fallen head over heels for your new Gramercy Row home, signed the lease, and you’re dreaming about your new space. That funky, shabby chic couch you saw at Present Thyme will look great in the open living room. Your fancy new espresso machine from Ladles & Linens looks like it was made to be placed on those shiny granite kitchen countertops. And the windows are big and bright enough, you can even try your hand at a houseplant or two.

But wait! Suddenly a torrential avalanche of moving-related details threatens to swipe you right off your feet. Don’t let the little things get you down—by taking it one step at a time and following these handy tips, you’ll get there (nearly) effortlessly.

Ditch the Clutter

Let’s start with the obvious. You’re going to need to move all your stuff from one place to the next. Now is the perfect chance to do some deep thinking about what goes with you. That collection of ceramic roosters you inherited from your aunt…does it make you smile every time you walk by and reminisce about childhood visits to the family farm? Or is it just collecting dust at the back of your pantry? And that massive sectional with the coffee stains and frayed edges…is it really worth hauling that up a flight of stairs? Donate it. Toss it. Pass it along to a friend. If it doesn’t bring you joy, don’t bother moving it. Your back (and the friends you conned into helping you move) will thank you.

Boxes Galore

Now that you have things cleared out a bit, it’s time to get creative about box sourcing. Who knew those simple cardboard cubes could be so expensive? Instead of buying new from the moving company, save money (and the earth) by calling around to places who might have them for free (like supermarkets or even local, friendly boutique stores) or taking leftovers from a friend who has just moved. Put out a request on Facebook—I guarantee someone has a stash they don’t know what to do with.

It also saves tons of time in the moving process to clearly label (on all four sides and the top) which room the box needs to go to. It’ll cut your unpacking time in half, at least, if you don’t have to shuffle all those heavy boxes from room to room because all your toiletries ended up in the living room, or all the items from the kitchen junk drawer got set down in the bathroom.

The Practical Paperwork

In between rounds of packing, sneak in a few paperwork details. Yep, they’re even more boring than packing dishes, but sadly they’re very necessary. First, start a folder with your new apartment paperwork. This should include a copy of your lease and any other pertinent financial info that goes along with it. If you’re moving from out of town, will you need a new banking institution? If so, begin the switchover of accounts, so you have time to clear out the old and establish the new. File a change of address form at the post office (you can do this online) to make sure your snail mail starts going to the right place. And don’t forget about all your bills, credit cards, investments, school loans, etc. Your address will need to be updated for each of these, as well. The good news is most of this can be done online with a cuppa coffee or glass of wine in hand.

Move-In Readiness

That about wraps it up in your old space, but what about your new Gramercy Row digs? Your To-Do list should include setting up any utilities needed and securing rental insurance. When planning the big move-in day—especially if your friends and family are acting as your movers—be sure to have snacks and plenty water or other hydrating drinks on hand at both locations. Consider making a reservation at one of the nearby downtown restaurants in the evening to thank everyone for a job well done.

If you hired movers, having several bottles of water or Gatorade to hand out would be a considerate gesture. And don’t forget to tip them! There’s no exact formula for how much is acceptable, but most sources agree anywhere from $20-$40/mover is fairly standard. If you had a particularly difficult move (lots of heavy, antique furniture hauled up several flights of stairs, for instance), you might want to up that amount.

With all those pesky details out of the way, now it’s time to pop on some of your favorite tunes and get unpacking. Welcome home!