We all love our windy city, but sometimes it doesn’t love us back. Harsh weather, “construction season”, parking tickets: things that Chicagoans endure with a smile (after a hot dog or two, of course). The last thing you want during a move is one of these to ruin an already stressful day. To help you avoid this here are 10 moving tips for Chicagoans.
1. Parking! Parking! Parking!
All ten moving tips could be about parking, and we could leave it at that. Finding a spot for your moving van can be as difficult as learning to love the new Trump Tower sign. Do your research ahead of time: scout out your new place and see if there is an alley or driveway you can use. If not, contact your Alderman for temporary (although not enforceable) “No Parking” signs. For enforceable signs, apply in advance at the Chicago Department of Transportation.
2. Plan Around Local Events
Sporting events, concerts, summer street festivals, parades, neighborhood block parties– these events make our city awesome. But make sure these things are not going to make your move a giant headache. Check your new neighborhood advance. Do you need a special parking pass due to Cubs games? Will the neighbors be blocking off the street to karaoke all night? Is the Pride Parade going to fabulously march right past your door? Make moving arrangements accordingly.
3. Winter is Your Friend
As we have said before, moving in winter is actually a great idea. Summer is the busiest moving time in Chicago. A winter move can open up dates and give you lots of flexibility. Winter is also the offseason for movers, which can make your choices and time slots more open. Competition for housing is less fierce, helping you find your dream apartment. Just keep an eye out for those pesky snow parking restrictions and get your lawn chairs ready to claim your spot.
4. So is Your New Alderman
Need those “No Parking” signs for your moving van? Want to find out the neighborhood block party schedule? Need to know which days street sweeping happens in your new hood? Guess who can tell you all this, and lots, lots more? Your new Alderman! He or she can tell you all you need to know about your new hood. Also, sign up for their newsletter and you will know all the events and volunteer opportunities near you!
5. Give Your Pet a Vacation Day
Moving is stressful for you and your family, and even more so for your pets. Movers in your house, loud noises, new smells: these things can be sensory overload for your cat or dog. Consider checking your pet into a pet hotel on moving day. You won’t have to worry about them accidentally running out the door your mover left open or not being able to get them out of their hiding spot when its time to go. It will keep you and your furry pal in a much better frame of mind.
6. Find Cheap Boxes
Do you want to save cash or green your move? You have several money and tree-saving options. You can use a company, like this, that specializes in gently used boxes. Check for postings on Craigslist as many people will sell their old boxes at a fraction of the price. Big box stores and grocery stores get rid of boxes every day, ask the manager or stockroom team if you can take the ones they no longer need. And if you don’t mind a little dirt, you can check the recycle bins in your neighborhood for any useable boxes your neighbors don’t want!
7. Hire a Cleaner
Moving is messy! You think you get all that dirt when you clean throughout your lease, but just wait until you move your bed out of the way. Dust bunny city! Hiring a cleaner for your old and new apartment can save you a lot of work and protect your security deposit. There are many cleaning services in the city that can clean both places from top to bottom, making them move-in ready.
8. Movers are Also Your Friend
We can tell you from experience, moving a sofa up three flights of stairs is really not fun. Yes, your mom wants to help, but when she accidentally drops your box of fine china you might not feel so appreciative. Hiring a great local mover saves your back, your relationship with your mom and will help you save your energy for all that unpacking.
9. Get Rid of Your Stuff
With moving comes the realization that you just have too much stuff. But what to do with it? Don’t throw away your old boxes, sell them or give them away on Craigslist. Instead of taking over your whole recycling bin, take them to a neighborhood recycling center. There are many charities that will take donations of furniture and household items; you can check this list or ask your new BFF (your Alderman). Many charities will even come to pick up your items for you and there are even organizations who will take your unneeded food items.
10. Find the Best Local Deep Dish
Now that you have navigated the mean streets of the city, pamper your pet, got your place sparkling clean, and all your stuff is safely nestled in your new home; put up your feet and pat yourself on the back. Job well done! Celebrate by finding your new local deep dish pizza place (like this one) and order yourself a pie. Make a nice table out of boxes, take a deep breath, and relax. You are going to need that energy tomorrow when it’s time to start unpacking.