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When I decided to move to New York, I heard a lot of “but it’s so expensive”, “have you been even there before?” and “do you already have a job?”. Although I had never lived on the East coast and only visited a couple times, I knew that New York City was no joke.

I had the dream, the idea of what I wanted in the future, but had to figure out the logistics of the post-plane-ride and pre-fabulous/figured-out-life. I read stories about people moving to NYC for a job they already had, for a significant other (so they had some support) or had family nearby; but I had a hard time finding any advice for the “moving without a job and only knowing one person in the city”. I knew I was moving into new territory and wanted to make sure I started off on the right foot. I decided to put together some tips of my own for anyone looking to move to New York City.

Pre-Move Saving: I tried to factor in any possible surprise costs when making sure I had enough, even down to surprise eviction-Airbnb bookings (I had read some horror stories). I initially used similar logic to that of planning a long-term trip. I made a list of the calculated costs of the plane ticket, two months of average rent, transportation, two months of average food and drink costs, etc. I took the number and doubled it to come up with the absolute minimum I needed to have saved by the time I flew out.

Housing: I had a bit of help in finding an apartment via Craigslist from Seattle. I don’t have much of a network in New York City so thank goodness for my friend Jill, who offered to go look at apartments for me before I moved here. It made me feel better from my end in Seattle because I had a friend who I trusted that had been in the place I wanted to live; but I also feel like it was nice for the guy renting the place because he had someone physically looking at the place and vouching for me. Should you not have that option, my backup plan was to book two weeks in an Airbnb so I could physically be there and be able to go look at places myself. I have to say I got lucky with this set up.

I signed a sublease for two months in an apartment in Brooklyn for $1200/month. It’s enough time to find work and feel settled versus only living somewhere for one month and constantly worrying about where I’m going to live next.

My Stuff: I only brought one large suitcase, one smaller suitcase (carry-on sized), one carry-on duffel bag and a purse. All the rest of my belongings are in boxes at my parents house. I only brought the essentials at first due to the limited amount of time I’d be living in this particular room and not wanting to move too much stuff.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! Go through your stuff! It feels so good to get rid of clothes, books, or knick knacks the you do not need. I whittled down my belongings as much as I possibly could and it made me feel so much lighter and less stressed out.

Here’s what I brought for my initial move.

Clothing:

  • all underwear
  • all socks (including half socks for flats)
  • all bras
  • 4 tank tops
  • 2 maxi dresses
  • 1 casual skirt
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 1 pair jean shorts
  • 2 Seahawks t-shirts (have to represent on game day!)
  • 1 UW t-shirt (see previous)
  • 3 casual t-shirts
  • 1 pair shorts for pjs
  • 2 pairs cropped yoga pants
  • 1 pair long yoga pants
  • 1 pair running shorts
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 2 sweaters

Clothes Specifically For interviews:

  • 2 nice skirts
  • 1 black dress
  • 2 blouses
  • 2 pairs heels
  • 1 pair flats

Other Shoes:

  • 1 pair flip flops
  • 1 pair nicer flip lops
  • 1 pair running shoes
  • 1 pair sneakers
  • 1 pair ankle boots

Bedding:

  • fitted sheet
  • light blanket
  • pillow

Toiletries:

  • Full bottles: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash
  • 1 razor
  • face lotion
  • 1 curling iron
  • hair spray
  • dry shampoo
  • sea salt spray
  • hair ties
  • bobby pins
  • Basic makeup (BB cream, eyeshadow, mascara, couple of lipsticks, eyeliner)
  • 1 bath towels
  • 1 hand towel
  • Ibuprofen
  • Excedrin
  • tampons
  • birth control

Electronics:

  • macbook pro
  • cell phone
  • tablet
  • camera
  • spare cell phone charger
  • chargers for all of the above
  • headphones
  • note books
  • pens
  • monthly Planner
  • passport

 

I looked up the average temperatures before flying here and feel like I brought a good variation for most unexpected weather. I’m clearly not ready for the snowy winter, but I’m in good shape for sunshine and a few rainy days.

My original goal was to pack up everything I wanted to bring with me to New York into boxes, organized in order of what I would need first and make lists of what was in each box. That way when I am more settled, I will just transfer the money, then the box is sent. For instance, the first boxes may have more autumn-related clothing like boots and scarves. My winter boots may be saved for the second box as I won’t need them in September.

Oh, and just to make sure you heard me before-

GO THROUGH YOUR STUFF! BE RUTHLESS!

THAT? YOU PROBABLY DON’T NEED IT!

THAT? YOU HAVEN’T WORN THAT IN YEARS! THROW IT OUT!

it also helps to have some wine to help with this process :).

I was a stress-ball of a human on the night before I flew out. I hadn’t gone through my stuff as thoroughly as I’d hoped. However, I did make sure that some boxes were organized as far as clothes and shoes I’d need as the weather moved into fall. This way if I sign another short-term lease I won’t have mountains of boxes to move from place to place.

Arrival in NYC: I had checked my two suitcases so once I grabbed all of my stuff from luggage claim, and I headed off to Brooklyn. I arrived a couple days earlier than my room was available so I booked an Airbnb close by (within two blocks) so I could explore the neighborhood before moving in. It also made the move itself easier, especially with a super helpful new roommate who helped me roll one of my suitcases down the street.

New Neighborhood, New City: Since arriving in NYC, I’ve found a favorite coffee shop, favorite jerk chicken place, and even a bar that will show the Seahawks games for me :). I’m starting to settle in and definitely stand by my packing list for this move. So far, I haven’t felt like I didn’t have an appropriate outfit for an occasion.

I did research, planned for what I wanted to take and made sure I had the funds to float me until I got settled into a job. This plan may not work for everyone but it’s working so far for me. I learn something new every day here and will continue to detail any new findings in a section of this blog just for moving to New York.

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