There are two days late summer that are dreaded by everyone living within Boston. Already bad morning and evening commutes are worse on these days, and driving through neighborhoods like Allston, Brighton, and the Back Bay feel like driving through an abandoned highway on a Walking Dead set. The days I am talking about are of course, August 31st and September 1st. These two days are created by what I like to call, "The Perfect Storm." Sorry about all the movie puns.
You see, Boston is a great city for many reasons. One of those reasons being our value on education and thus the resulting large number of universities within its limits. Because semesters usually start in September, and the number of great schools we have here, students come from all over the world to study and earn their academic degrees around the same time each year. Naturally they need a place to live while they study, and sign leases starting on September 1 and ending one year later, on August 31.We are also an old city. With that comes roads and infrastructure not always ready for the large amount of people it brings in. With the lease structure, congested city roads, and universities here, it creates a headache for anyone who is stuck on the September 1, August 31 lease cycle.
There are some things you can do though to minimize the stress on these days. Notice I said MINIMIZE. Unfortunately moving is already stressful and moving on these days will add to it, no matter how prepared you are. But expecting an eventful and tough day can sometimes ironically have the effect of calming someone down. Almost every moving consultant at Eagle Lines has assisted in over 100 moves on these days, so they know a thing or two about preparing for them and making them go as smoothly as possible. We have listed some of our best tips and advice below. Enjoy, and remember you can call the office at any time if you have questions that are not answered here.
1. Plan Early
Planning early for anything has its benefits. It is no different in moving and is essential on these moving dates. Whether you are thinking about using a professional moving company, or are planning to do the move yourself, planning ahead will save you both time and money. Every moving company in the area will be fully booked on these dates, that I can promise you. You do not want to be the one calling movers the day before your move frantically looking for a professional service with availability. I have gotten those calls personally, and they do not sound fun at all.
So how early is too early? The answer to that is, it is NEVER to early. At Eagle Lines we have already started taking calls about those dates and some people have even reserved slots already. The people who call this early know that they will not only ensure they lock in a professional mover for their peace of mind, but they will also get access to the best hourly rates movers have on these days.
And if you are doing everything yourself? Remember Uhaul has a limited number of trucks as well and like movers, they will run out of availability as well.
2. Parking Permits. GET THEM
Remember how I told you about how Boston's streets are not really built for a large number of people on the roads? Well, it's true. And all those people who drive and live off of those roads? They need places to park. And as one of those people let me tell you that it is nearly impossible to find parking at certain times of the day, and I drive a sedan, not a moving truck that requires 2 or 3 car lengths worth of space.
On normal days (Those are days that are not August 31 or September 1) parking a moving van is hard. It will be impossible to do so without a permit on these days. Purchasing parking permits ahead of time will save you time and a parking ticket on your moving day. It will also help start you off on the right foot with your neighbors, because they will not have to squeeze in between your Uhaul and the guy's Uhaul who is moving in across the street because you guys chose not to get a permit.
Parking permits must be posted two days in advance before your move. They can be acquired either by going to city hall and purchasing them directly, or city hall now has an online option available where they will mail them to you (I will post the link below). You can only purchase permits two weeks prior to the day you request them if you use the online option. So make sure this is on your to-do list nice and early. You will also get a hard copy receipt of your parking permit purchase. DO NOT THROW THIS AWAY! You will need this as proof that the permits belong to you before police will tow any vehicle parked in your spot. If you go to city hall to get the permit, you can get it at anytime as long as you do so two days prior to your move. Remember though, the longer you wait the higher the chance someone else will purchase permits in the spot you need on moving day. So get them as early as you can.
3. Know Your Move In Times
Many leases not only have a move-in day associated with them, but also a time indicating the earliest time you can move in. This is extremely important to know ahead of time, especially if you are hiring a moving service. Almost all moves taking place on these days require a move out on August 31, and a move in on September 1. This means that when using a moving company, they are going to want to deliver your items at a time that works from them unless you specify other wise. Remember, these are the busiest days of the year for Boston-area movers and if not guided by you, they will organize their schedule in a way that works for them. This may mean that they plan on moving you early on September 1 when in fact you cannot move in until noon. Communicate with your mover and make sure they can accommodate your delivery needs before you come to terms. You can find other articles with more information about overnight storage online.I have added one below that I believe is useful.
4. Storrow Drive
Have you ever heard of Storrow Drive? If you are not from Boston, maybe you haven't. Storrow Drive in and of itself is not that important, but knowing one crucial thing about it is. Absolutely NO TRUCKS including moving vans and Uhauls can drive on it. If you do, your nice and shiny truck will become a convertible. This is because the height clearances on the bridges over Storrow Drive have a low height clearance. If you are using local movers in Boston, you do not need to worry about this. They know the area well and know what they are doing. If you are moving yourself however and are not familiar with driving trucks, know this. All trucks have a height clearance associated with them. This is the tallest point of a truck and tells you how high the truck really is. You can usually find this above the driver's side of the truck on the box itself. If you cannot find it just ask.
The reason it is important to know a truck's height clearance is because not all bridges are high enough to allow a truck to pass under it. Bridges also have a height clearance listed on them. If what the bridge has for a clearance is shorter than your truck, do not drive further. You will hit the bridge. Remember Boston is an old city and that is also true of its bridges. Sometimes clearance heights are hard to read because of the age of its sign or paint. Proceed with caution.
5. Avoid Moving On This Day If You Can
This may seem like meaningless advice, but have you actually looked into any other options? If you have then great, follow the advice above and you should be fine. But there is a reason this piece of advice was saved for last. Many people do not even consider breaking the cycle and moving on different days. We see the same people move every year on these dates, just because their leases started and end on these days. It is a cycle that will repeat itself forever if you let it. The following are just suggestions and may be difficult in completing. But the effort for at least trying is very low compared to the huge reward it can bring if you are able to accomplish any of the suggestions below.
Try to Restructure your Lease
This may be a little tough to pull off. Landlords and Property Management firms know when and where demand for rentals in the city are. And most of the time they will not want to chance missing out on a tenant because you want to move out on a day that is convenient for you. That being said you should still give it a try. Who knows, maybe they will let you move out September 30 instead? The moving rates will be better and the stress factor will go way down. It would not hurt to ask.
Stay in Storage
Another way to avoid at least one of these days is to stay in storage until they pass. This option is only available to you if you use a moving company. What you can do is ask your mover to, rather than store your items overnight, put them in a long term storage for a couple of days. The advantage of doing this is moving rates will be cheaper than on the 1st and of course the city will not be filled with moving trucks adding stress and time to your move. The downside is of course waiting to receive your items but if you have other accommodations in place, this may be the best option for you.
Live Outside The City
Depending on your transportation needs, this could be an option for you. Living outside of Boston neighborhoods will allow you to avoid the massive amount of people moving on these days. You may not be able to avoid the high moving rates if you still use a Boston mover, but it will at least give you a chance to find a moving company from outside the city. Depending on how far outside you go, you may not need to worry about a parking permit either, further saving you money.