Moving is a big effort and a stressful undertaking, but it is a necessity. Moving house is one thing, but moving into an apartment block can be another thing entirely. There are endless lists and suggestions for how to pack, professional help to consider, and what to remember on moving day for a house move, but here is a specialised advice article on moving into an apartment. See our Ultimate Moving House Checklist for more general advice.
Moving house from a quiet suburban street to another wide street with shoulders presents different challenges to a move in an urban vertical block on a busy city street with little parking space. But do not fear, a little research and preparation makes apartment moves just as manageable. Speaking in generalities, here are some of the differences.
- Street: Suburban streets can have large shoulders and free parking spaces all days of the week. Narrow, busy city streets often have limited parking spaces. Research your street to find out.
- Access: A house might have it’s own private driveway, footpath, and porch. In the case of a house, you have the keys and can leave the door unlocked for movers coming in and out. Some apartments have narrow driveways, or low roofed underground car parks making truck access challenging. Also, many apartment buildings require an electronic pass or code to enter the lobby and or lift.
- Stairs: While some houses have stairs at the entrance or leading to a second floor, it is unlikely that moving into a house requires travelling multiple flights. On the other hand, if an apartment building doesn’t have a lift, you might be in the situation of carrying boxes up multiple flights of stairs.
- Lift: Some modern homes feature a lift, but not many. However a lift becomes a part of daily life for apartment dwellers. Using a lift on your moving day saves you from climbing stairs but presents other challenges and problem solving opportunities. You will also have to have a plan for any items too big for the lift.
Moving trucks are long, wide, and generally troublesome to park. Not only is there the size and dimensions of the truck to consider, but also the swing doors at the back that need space to open and allow pedestrian flow around the vehicle. Scout out your new street before the day of the move. Find out what street parking is available, how long it lasts, and if there is off-street parking available. If there is off-street parking or an underground carpark, we recommend contacting the building manager to discuss use of the carpark, height restrictions, and turning circles. You don’t want to arrive at the property with a full truck and not know where to park. Make the moving day as stress-free as possible by planning ahead.
The lift is another situation in which forward planning is essential. There are a few things to consider.
Firstly, protecting the lift: many buildings have legal requirements regarding moving and lift use. Often you are required to take only fully wrapped items in the lift or request drapes, covers, or protective lining for the lift on your moving day. Lifts are expensive and complicated electronic machines and damaging them is the last thing you want to do on your first day in the building. So, contact the building manager to find out the rules and organise your move.
Secondly, booking the lift: you will also need to contact the building manager in order book the lift for the period of your move. Booking the lift means you get a certain time frame in which your use of it is prioritised. This is a form of etiquette to other building users/residents, and also hopefully reduces your lift waiting time.
Thirdly, will furniture fit: A lift is a limited space with set dimensions and volume. Unlike corridors or stairs, where a slight rotation into the opening doorway works like magic, there is no leeway in a lift. Either your couch fits or it doesn’t fit. It is best to have some idea before you turn up in the foyer wielding a couch that font fit in the lift. When you contact the building manager to discuss the above, also ask for the lift’s dimensions. Or visit the building and measure it yourself. And compare the measurements to those of your largest or most awkward furniture pieces.
How to keep your belongings safe and secure during an apartment move? Depending on your level of optimism, these points may cause concern or be irrelevant. Moving into an apartment has multiple points at which to consider security; at the unlocked truck on the street, the doors to the apartment building foyer, the foyer, the lift, the corridor on your level, and the open apartment door. To optimise the time is takes to complete the move, ideally all of these points of entry would remain open to let people flow in and out carrying boxes. To shut and lock each entry point after every box or dining chair would take time and possibly multiple sets of keys/swipe-cards. For the very cautious, this could mean enlisting lots of friends so that there is always someone in the apartment, someone in the foyer and someone at the truck, to keep an eye on things and hold doors open (plus three people to actually do the carrying). It also depends on how many belongings you are moving and how big the foyer is. If it’s possible to empty the truck into the foyer in one go, lock the truck, and proceed to send everything up in the lift, good for you. Moving is a logistics game. There are many possible solutions. Find the one which best suits your moving needs.
What to consider
Remember the differences between moving to a house and moving to an apartment. They are many and varied. Do your research ahead of time; scout the street, plan where to park, contact the building manager, book the lift, and think about your security plan. How many people are you going to need to help out? Put your safety first and then proceed to think about the safety of your belongings.
For further moving advice see our Ultimate Moving House Checklist.