What to know about storing your belongings during a renovation
- For smaller projects, you might be able to store everything in a bedroom
- For gut renovations, your items would be taken to a storage facility
- FlatRate's pricing is all-inclusive but you can opt out of packing/unpacking
Renovating an apartment or brownstone in New York City involves multiple moving parts, so it can be all too easy to overlook an important consideration: Where are you going to store all your furniture and other belongings?
The last headache you need is for your favorite sofa, collectibles, or apparel to be lost or damaged during the project, so as with all things reno-related, the key is to plan ahead.
"We get called about this all the time," says Dejon Reid, vice president of sales at FlatRate Moving, a full-service company that established the all-included flat-rate pricing model in NYC and shifted the way people relocated locally and worldwide.
He explains that there are two basic options depending on the scope of the renovation:
If you are doing a gut renovation, everything obviously needs to come out and in these cases, it's like a traditional move where everything is packed and taken to an off-site storage facility.
If it's a kitchen and bathroom renovation, on the other hand, everything can be moved into a spare bedroom or other space. "We do this often," he says. "It's like having a storage unit inside your own home."
Read on for how these options might play out in your own co-op, condo, or brownstone renovation. (And be sure to check out "The 7 best ways to find a short-term rental while you renovate your NYC apartment" for more essential information.)
Moving items to a storage facility
"FlatRate is a full-service moving company, especially when it comes to storage," Reid says.
So rather than using a self-storage unit, you can hire them to pack and protect everything and can move it into their own climate-controlled storage facility, and then we bring it all back, unpack it, and set it all up again for you," he adds.
There are different procedures for moving items into storage vs. into another apartment. "Instead of just wrapping a sofa in a moving blanket for a regular move, we will shrink-wrap it to protect it from dust and fading when it will be stored for a month or longer," Reid says.
Sample all-inclusive pricing for a typical one-bedroom apartment would be $3,400 to $4,000, which covers full-service moves into and out of storage—with packing, protection, unpacking, and precise setup of items—and the cost of storage.
Storing items in a spare bedroom or other space
Deciding to go this route is not just about cost. Reid says it's mainly about safety and convenience because you don't have to move things in and out of your home and a storage unit.
They still pack and protect everything for storage and treat the bedroom as a storage unit. "It's not just about moving the items in there to get them out of the way, especially since there will be lots of dust from the renovation work," he says.
FlatRate will also clear the storage area for you. According to Reid, the movers always bring materials to protect floors, walls, and corners, especially when putting everything back so you don't end up marring your renovated space with dings and scratches.
Sample all-inclusive pricing for a typical one bedroom would be $2,250 to $2,700, which in this situation covers full packing, protection, unpacking, and precise set up of items, as well as clearing the in-home storage space.
How pricing is calculated for both scenarios
As the name implies, you will get a flat-rate quote for the service.
"Our pricing algorithm is based on inventory, complexity, and mileage. Mileage is less of a factor here since you are either storing onsite or moving to a facility within NYC," Reid says.
For renovation or storage moves we prefer to do an in-person visit to determine both the number of items and any special packing needs. For example, Reid says they offer custom wood framing for chandeliers and fine artwork. "Some people will say they don't want their antiques wood-crated, but we say you probably do because we prefer to keep the focus on safety."
That's true even when you are keeping everything inside the home.
Either way, company reps spend time carefully documenting what's there with photos, too, so everything can be returned to its proper place post-renovation.
While there are no line items per se in the flat-rate proposal at the individual level, "if we have a client that wants to go into that depth, we can have that conversation," Reid says. "So maybe we suggest getting rid of an older sofa or doing their own packing or unpacking to get to a price point that fits within their budget."
That said, having FlatRate's pros do the packing and unpacking often results in less breakage—and it saves much time and effort. "The clients who go through the full-service are shocked to see how fast and efficient it was, and those who don't are shocked to discover how long it took them and how certain things are not as perfect as they were before the move or worst case, damaged," he says.
What's more, the additional cost—around $400 to $700 for unpacking—is worth it for many New Yorkers, for whom "time is of the essence." Imagine coming back to your brand-new kitchen to find all your dishes and cooking supplies neatly tucked away.
General moving and storing tips
Even if you don't want to pay for the packing/unpacking, FlatRate sends a list of 10 items that should be left for them to handle based on experience. That includes lamps, electronics, wardrobe boxes, small art pieces, and items with glass or marble. "This way we ensure the best possible outcome," Reid says.
Another way to control costs is by booking at least two weeks in advance because the price is based on capacity (similar to airline pricing). Moving on certain days can be cheaper, too, which they can talk you through. "For example, moving on a Monday instead of a Friday can save as much as 20 percent," Reid says.
One more tip: Be sure to reserve the service or other elevator ahead of time. Otherwise, you may find that your movers are denied access.
Providing high-quality service and all-inclusive guaranteed pricing, FlatRate Moving Company has been trusted by more than 200,000 customers for over 30 years. The nature of FlatRate’s quality service lies in our prepared staff, team of moving experts, detailed logistics, and timeliness. Ready to get moved? Call (212) 988-9292 or visit our website for an instant free quote—satisfaction guaranteed.