Tips on Moving into a New Manhattan Apartment in NYC

how to move into a manhattan apartment without breaking a sweat

It’s no secret that there are plenty of nightmare stories about the throes of moving into a Manhattan apartment. Some of the scary stories involve having to haul all your boxes and furniture several blocks because you can’t park in front of your building. Or what about hoisting a sofa and mattress up three flights of cramped stairs – only to find that the apartment doorway is too narrow to squeeze your couch through. You’re probably mopping sweat off your brow just thinking about these tales of terror.

So how do you avoid these common Manhattan moving pitfalls? Not to worry – Samba Moving outlines eight key steps that will help make your move to a Manhattan apartment efficient, easy, and rewarding. We uncover some of the logistical mysteries and lay out common sense strategies that will make you the envy of others who have torn their hair out when moving into their Manhattan apartments.

Whether this is your first time moving to a Manhattan apartment, or you’re switching up apartments within the borough, follow these eight tried and true steps so that your moving story will have a happy ending.

1. Evaluate: Are You Moving Into a High-Rise or a Walk-Up?

The type of residence you’re going to live in will make a difference in planning out your moving logistics.

  • High-Rise: If you’re moving into a high-rise apartment, be sure to talk with the super or building manager about the move-in requirements. Can the moving truck park at the loading dock? How many hours can you schedule the freight elevator? How many other residents are moving in or out on your preferred moving day? Do foyers and hallways need to be protected with masonite or other prescribed materials? In large buildings, it’s likely other moves will be happening the same day as yours. If you plan ahead, you’ll have a much better chance of scheduling the elevator for convenient times, won’t be jostling with others in the hallways or stairs, and parking will be easier to manage.
  • Walk-Up: If you’re moving to a building with few apartments, check with the residents to make sure no one else is moving in or out on your preferred moving day. Also determine how many flights of stairs must be conquered before you arrive at your apartment door. Are the stairs especially narrow or do they have tight bends? Do public areas need to be protected before the move?

2. Choose Your Moving Date Carefully

If you move on a weekend, traffic can be slightly easier to maneuver through and parking can be a bit more available. But check the Manhattan events calendar to make sure you won’t be moving on an ultra crowded weekend such as the NYC Marathon.

3. Measure Spaces in the Building and Measure Your Furniture

Quirky pre-war staircases can quickly lose their charm when you’re trying to maneuver your sofa around the turns. Understand which of your furniture items will fit before you move in. If an item won’t fit, can it be disassembled or would you be better off selling it? If you do buy new furniture, get confirmation that the furniture company will deliver to your apartment.

4. Purge Your Stuff Before You Pack

It’s pretty obvious – the less you have to move, the easier the move will be. If you haven’t used something in the last six months, recycle, toss, or donate it. 

5. Pack Smartly

Pack efficiently and carefully. Use boxes with lids that can be taped shut. When you pad fragile items with clothing and household linens this helps reduce the need for bubble wrap and packing paper that just gets thrown away after the move. Label each and every box so the movers will know which room they’ll end up in. This will save you time and muscle. Pack a few boxes with essential items – coffee maker, toiletries, towels, sheets, change of clothes – so they’ll be handy to get to as soon as you move in.

6. Take Special Care with Irreplaceable, Valuable, and Fragile Items

Avoid worrying about irreplaceable items and move them by hand before moving day. Hand-carry valuables such as jewelry, pricey electronics, and fragile items or critical documents. Remember that even though a top-notch Manhattan moving company will assign a crew member to stay with the truck on the street, there could be times that person is called away from the truck to provide extra help. Although they’d be packed in boxes, you don’t want your irreplaceable valuables to be waiting on an open moving van on a busy Manhattan street and sidewalk.

7. Know Moving Truck Regulations and Parking Requirements

If you’re doing a  DIY move, it’s critical that you find out the NYC Department of Transportation rules for parking commercial vehicles. Rules vary within various parts of Manhattan. For example, parking is severely restricted in the Lower Manhattan Blue Zone. You may be faced with a hefty fine if you don’t prepare. Plan to have someone stay with the truck at all times. Finally, with a DIY move, plan your route carefully.

8. Hire a Professional Moving Company That’s Established in NYC

Don’t waste time and money working with a moving company that isn’t based in NYC. Sure, there are many competent and reputable moving companies. But if they don’t have the specific experience and skills for moving into Manhattan apartments, you’re asking for trouble. 

Experienced Manhattan movers who are based in NYC understand the nuances and challenges involved in moving into a Manhattan apartment. They’re pros at sorting out issues that are unique to Manhattan apartment moves, a few of which include:

  • Dealing with Manhattan’s quirky parking regulations 
  • Understanding your particular apartment building’s move-in regulations 
  • Using your building’s approved materials to protect the public areas 
  • Scheduling the freight elevator 
  • Moving into buildings with no elevator 
  • Hauling furniture up cramped winding stair ways 
  • Dealing with many flights of stairs 
  • Maneuvering through narrower than average hallways and doorways
  • Understand the need for at least three movers. Two handle the actual moving and the third stays with the moving truck to ensure your belongings don’t get stolen or the truck doesn’t get towed away.

These are just some of the details that seasoned Manhattan movers take in stride but can flumox movers who are unfamiliar with Manhattan. 


Being unprepared to deal with the idiosyncrasies of Manhattan apartment moves can result in expensive delays and cause unnecessary sweat and tears. Count on Samba Movings’ years of experience moving folks into Manhattan apartments. 

Why try to manage your Manhattan apartment move by yourself when skilled pros can do it for you? Get a free Samba Moving quote now and settle into your Manhattan apartment without breaking a sweat.