Moving is always a challenge. Moving in Boston can be even more difficult from everything between a competitive real estate market down to navigating the narrow, busy roads on move in day. But moving on Allston Christmas (September 1st) takes the cake and can seem nearly impossible!
This year, September 1st and Labor Day fall on the same weekend. Which means as a Bostonian, you might be falling into one or two camps. The people facing the dreaded move, and the people who are relieved that they’re staying put, at least for another year…haha. If you plan on moving on September 1st in Boston, (or any time of the year for that matter), there are some very important things that you should know to help navigate this extremely busy moving day in the city. Most people in the city know Bostonians start planning their September 1st moves almost 5 months in advance due to the incredibly high demand for this popular lease starting date. Which almost seems nuts but totally necessary. So it’s never too soon to get started on your planning process and to make sure you have your bases covered.
As we creep up on September 1st, by this point, anyone who is planning to move should have signed their new leases, rented their moving trucks, and probably even busted out the bubble wrap. Perhaps you’re one of the roughly 250,000 college students at one of the many local colleges, or one of the 79% of Bostonians whose leases turn over on this dreaded date.
The Globe reported in 2017, that the combined number of permits for August 31 and September 1 was over 1,200, compared with the average of about 37 on any other day. According to apartment listing website RentHop, August 2017 saw a record 3,257 permits issued. The Globe reports that on Labor Day weekend could see around 2,000 moving trucks hit the road. The zip codes with the highest numbers of permits are located in Brighton, Southie, Back Bay and the West End.
Since Labor Day weekend is also expected to bring increased traffic to Boston over the next few days, this will make escaping the madness no easier!!!
If you’re dreading the big day, don’t stress! Here are some tips to help navigate the chaos of moving in Boston. According to YourMoveInc.com, Boston.gov & OlympiaMoving.com, here some of the most important things to remember!
If possible, move any day except August 31st or September 1st. It might not be remotely possible but it will be cheaper and easier if you are able to move on literally any other day. Both rental truck and moving companies charge a premium for those dates. Traffic will be at a peak. If you have flexibility to move out of your apartment a bit early or push your move in to the first week of September, do it.
Plan Ahead. Try to contact a mover 6-8 weeks prior to your move date. This will allow for time to schedule an in-home estimate with multiple companies, receive and review quotes, and then schedule the mover of choice. This should also give time for those moving into or from Boston who require parking permits and or elevator reservations.
Research moving companies. Not all moving companies are created equal. Reach out to multiple companies for estimates and compare prices, but keep in mind that the cheapest option might not be the best. Make sure your movers are licensed and insured.
Get a parking permit. If you are moving in Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, or Somerville, you need to get a parking permit for your moving truck at the origin and destination. This prevents expensive parking tickets. The permit also reserves your parking space on move day, so you don’t have to waste time circling the block looking for parking. Even worse, without a permit you might end up parking way down the street and lugging your sofa a long distance to your apartment. When you see parking permits, please respect them! Otherwise you risk your vehicle being towed.
Resources for obtaining parking permits:
- Ask your moving company to quote handling the permits for you
- Hire the service Permit Puller to handle the permits for you
- Boston: Apply for a permit online2-4 weeks prior to your move
- Cambridge: Apply for a permit online at least 7 days prior to your move
- Somerville: Print the permit application then bring it to city hall
- Brookline: Rent permits from city hall
Find Out Your Move In/Out Time. A major oversight for many people moving on September 1st in Boston is finding out what time you need to be out of your current apartment, and what time you’re allowed to move into your new apartment. Talk to your leasing agent/realtor/landlords to find out exactly when you need to be out and when you can move in. This will allow you to create a full-proof plan and not end up homeless on the curbside with a pile of stuff for 12-24 hours.
Reserve Storage. If you face the challenge of someone moving who needs to be out of their current apartment a day or 2 before you can move into your new apartment, you’ll need to have a storage plan. Your options are to either hire a moving company who can store your items for a day or 2, rent a storage locker, or get a rental truck for multiple days and leave your items on it while you wait to move in. Whatever path you choose will book up very quickly so make your selection early and get this scheduled.
Pack smart. As tempting as it is to just throw everything into boxes and call it a day, you’ll be mad at yourself when it comes to unpacking. Be sure to organize belongings as you pack and go from room to room. Eliminate anything you know you no longer need and sell or donate to charity. Use small boxes for heavy items and use large boxes for lighter items.
Properly label boxes. Be sure to clearly label what you have and which room it belongs in so your movers know where to bring each box. Write the details on all sides of the box so this information is always visible.
The sidewalk is not a garbage can. Do your part to keep Boston clean. Allston Christmas gets its name for all the free “gifts” abandoned by residents on the sidewalk. Sell or donate unwanted items instead, and properly dispose of garbage on trash day ahead of your move. Use the City of Boston’s trash & recycling guide for more information.
Start early. Get going to beat the extra traffic. Set your alarm early and avoid wasting time in the gridlock.
Stay hydrated & bring snacks. September 1st is often a hot! Keep your energy up by stocking up on water and snacks. Moving is hard enough, and it’s even more frustrating when you’re hangry.
NEVER take a truck on Storrow Drive. Or Memorial Drive. Or any of these roads. Boston is infamous for low bridges. If you’re driving a truck, keep an eye out for “cars only” and clearance signs, and obey them. Otherwise, you will get “storrowed.”
Good luck! You’ll survive your move and things will go even smoother when you follow our tips! Just don’t forget to invite us to the housewarming party!