Pros and Cons of Apartment Complexes

If you’ve driven around Minneapolis and St. Paul lately, you will have doubtless noticed the preponderance of new apartment complexes sprouting up out of the pavement. It seems like hardly a week goes before another vacant lot is dug up and filled with 4 floors of concrete. In 2014, a projected 1,300-plus units are expected to open in downtown Minneapolis alone. And that’s generally great news. In addition to higher-end housing, it’s likely to help make lower-end housing more affordable. It’ll also up the quality of housing options across the board.

For a moving company like us, it means that more Minneapolitans and St. Paulites will be living in apartments. In fact, you could be reading this from your cozy new apartment right now. Or maybe you’re planning on moving into one.

So let’s talk about some of the pros and cons of apartment complexes, from the perspective of movers. Moving isn’t exactly rocket science, but after you’ve been doing it for a long time, you learn a lot of little things that might not be so obvious at first. Hopefully we can help give you an idea of how moving into/out of an apartment works, and some insight into the thought process that goes into getting your stuff from Point A to Point B.

 

Parking

Off-street parking is a highly valued luxury in Minnesota. All it takes is one winter to convince most people of the benefits of being able to park in a ramp or garage. You don’t have to shovel, your car isn’t freezing cold for the first twenty minutes of your drive, and best of all, you can be sure you’ll have a place to park even when there aren’t any spots because half the streets in the city are closed for plowing snow.

Unfortunately, some apartment complexes are only conveniently accessed through the parking garage or ramp. This is usually only an issue if you happen to be driving a 26-foot truck.

 

Yeah, they're pretty big
Yeah, they’re pretty big

If your movers need to park on the street, then you can usually save a great deal of time by making sure you reserve space with the city, which you can do at the respective sites for Minneapolis and St. Paul. If you live in an apartment complex, be sure to talk them as soon as you know you’ll be moving and see if they can secure parking for you in advance. This saves a great deal of time.

 

Security Doors

Another benefit of some apartment complexes is the addition of multiple layers of locked doors. All those locks help keep you cozy and safe, but sometimes apartment managers can get a bit prickly if you try to prop the doors open. Or if you try to give your movers a way to open the doors. And that’s understandable. Security is important. But sometimes a big focus on security can end up slowing down your move a bit. Try to communicate with your apartment complex as early as possible to see if you can arrange a way to keep doors open for the movers.

Elevators

These are commonplace in apartments. In fact, they’re pretty much the foundation that allows humanity to live in such unreasonably tall high-rise buildings. No one likes hoofing it up a million flights of stairs after a hard day of work.

The usual problem with elevators is usually one of two things: lots of people are using it or they’re really small. The elevator, that is, not the the people using it.
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The good news is, most apartment complexes will allow you to reserve the elevator for a couple hours, which is usually enough time for us to get most of the stuff down to the truck. The earlier you talk to your apartment complex the better— this will help ensure that you don’t get stuck behind another tenant. Let us know if you can’t get an elevator reserved, and we’ll make sure to included that in our estimate. As for tiny elevators, we can always take it down the stairs if necessary! Stairs are one place CMM shines: college athletes are often well-practiced when it comes to running flights.

Hopefully we’ve dropped some new facts on you here. Apartments are cool. And remember, if you’re planning on moving into one of the metro area’s new complexes, feel free to give us a call!

I Don’t Think It’s Going To Fit

No one wants to hear this while they’re moving. Not to say there is ever a particularly good time to hear it, but it is especially bad when it comes to getting curiously-sized furniture into a new house. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes unavoidable. Especially with couches. If there’s something that won’t fit through a doorway or a tight hallway, the couch is the usual suspect.

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The square peg in the round hole is a fairly apt description for the sorts of situations that can arise with oversized furniture. Oversized queen boxsprings, massive wicker couches, extra large kegerators: it happens— especially if you’re moving into an old house, of which there are many in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

Sometimes, the whole problem can be fixed with simple disassembly. Maybe you can pop the door off that kegerator and it will slide through whatever tiny space you are trying get into. But while anything can be disassembled, not everything can be reassembled (we’re looking at you, giant wicker couch!)

 

Neoteric Salome Modern Outdoor Wicker DayBed. Whatever that means, exactly. Photo Courtesy of Houzz
Neoteric Salome Modern Outdoor Wicker DayBed. Whatever that means, exactly.
Photo Courtesy of Houzz

Sometimes, the problem lies in jutting feet that are easily unscrewed. Just twist those babies off and you’re good to go. On the other hand, sometimes you take the feet off and the couch still won’t go through. Maybe the back is too tall. Or perhaps the frame is curved in such a way that it’s just too wide at the center to fit through the doorway, or around a corner.

If it still won’t go, it’s time to get creative. Think outside the box.

On rare occasions, your house might have a larger door on the second floor, or a balcony that bypasses a sharply turning hallway. It might still be possible to bring it in from another entrance, even if it’s an unorthodox option.

Your next best bet is to reconsider your furniture arrangement. Sometimes even if it isn’t possible to get a piece of furniture  Maybe that couch would go nicely in the living room even if it doesn’t fit down the basement stairs.

If it absolutely needs to get in somewhere, you can always make it happen.

But if machetes aren’t your thing, and you just can’t find a place that you think it’ll fit, you might have to consider getting rid of it.

The nice part about not being able to fit furniture into your house is that it might be a desirable piece. If you can bear to part with it, you can donate it to a worthy cause: the Salvation Army and Goodwill both accept furniture in some locations (the Salvation Army even has a website that will tell you how much tax value you can deduct for various pieces of furniture that you’ve donated, which you can find here.)

You could also find another charitable organization: there are a variety of places that accept furniture, with different stated goals and missions. Alternatively, you can sell your oversized furniture on Craigslist.

Here at CMM, we also offer a haul-away service.  If you have something that you know isn’t going to fit in your new home, or even if you find out during the heat of the moment, we can take care of it for you.

 

Busy, Tired, Sick, or Just Plain Don’t Want To Pack?

It happens. Packing is often the most draining part of a move, especially if you have a large house or you’ve been settled in one location for a long time. It’s often very time-consuming, and has the potential to be extremely tedious. Stack that on top of family obligations and a full-time job, and you might feel a sort of creeping resignation about your upcoming change in location.

A mountain of creeping resignation.
A mountain of creeping resignation.

But don’t worry! If you’re feel stressed, you can always hire a packing service. Let a professional carefully wrap up and box your fragile glassware. Save your back and have someone else come and box your twelve years of National Geographic issues. Or your expansive vinyl collection. Or your entire room of Russian nesting dolls.

A professional packing service like ours can help you make sure your stuff gets wrapped up safely. No one likes boxes of broken glass.

But how is it that a professional service can make a difference?

Safety

First, proper protection. Ceramic, glass, delicate woods: all of these can be easily damaged if they’re allowed to rub against each other in transit. On the job, a packing service will make sure that your belongings are wrapped in packing paper and bubble wrap, and packed snugly so that there won’t be any heavy forces to bend narrow tines or break thin sheets of glass.You’ll want the options of bubble wrap, foam, shrink wrap, and lots of paper. In addition to paper, a good packing service will have a wide variety of boxes available to accommodate possible needs— small boxes for books, large boxes for bedding, dish packs for fragile glass. At College Muscle Movers, we offer personalized services: from à la carte to all-inclusive packages depending on what customers need. The à la carte service means you just order the supplies you think you’ll need ahead of time, whereas the all-inclusive service is a flat rate to access any supplies which might be needed for your move.

The main advantage of an all-inclusive pack is that it simplifies the process for the customer by offering a flat rate for whatever moving supplies are needed. After an estimator comes to get a rough idea of what supplies can be used for your move (boxes, wrap, dish packs, etc), you can relax and let us do the work, right up until we come pick up the supplies left over at the end of the move.

Experience

A professional service also offers experience. Usually there are a lot of different items that need to be packed up over the course of a move. From ceramic urns to matchstick dollhouses, we’ve got the tricks up our sleeves to handle your unique pieces.  We’ll make sure everything goes into an appropriately sized box, and that each box is sealed properly. At CMM, we even offer labels, to help speed up the unpacking that naturally follows packing. Experience means that you don’t need to worry about your stuff. Experience also means efficiency. It’s very likely that in addition to safety, a packing service will be able to expedite the process of getting everything safely packed up. Speeding up the tedium and stressful nature of the task is an important part of what  a professional packing service offers.

Time

A packing service can save you the mind-numbing fatigue you might experience after spending nine hours straight putting away dishes and books and clothes and all the other little things that get stuffed into attics and closets. It can also save you time. Schedules can already be strained by the obligations that arise during moving. Using a professional service will help you keep your time managed and under control.

And don’t forget, College Muscle Movers also offers equipment tailor-made for moving. Even if you want to do the packing yourself, we can help keep your items safe for the upcoming move. Our Muscle Boxes are made out of a dense and durable plastic, and they stack very neatly. They can be reused, offering the benefit of a low carbon footprint. Additionally, you can avoid the mountain range of cardboard that also seems to rise up in the living room at the tail end of the move.

So if you happen to be busy, tired, or sick (or you just don’t want to deal with it)— think about a packing service.

How Does the Estimate Work?

The various steps of moving begin with an estimate. When you contact a moving company to help you move (or pack, if the whole process is beginning to overwhelm you), they will provide an approximate projection of how long it should take to complete the move.

The estimate takes a lot of different factors into consideration. When you set up your move, you’ll want to have a good handle on these factors, because that is the only information your moving company will have to help you plan!

 

The Inventory

At CMM, this  usually comes first. Do you happen to collect priceless Fabergé eggs? Are you the owner of a life-sized marble elephant statue? Owner of the largest vintage record collection in the world?

While you might never be asked these exact questions, it’s important for us to know what we’re moving. Particularly heavy items (fishtanks, certain pianos, gun safes) might require extra movers to help safely transport them.

The quantity of items also matters a great deal. As you might imagine, there is a world of difference between the times required to move a small studio apartment and a six bedroom house. Put simply: more stuff takes longer.

 

The Carry

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Do you live in a large treehouse only accessible by ladder? Probably not. We can skip that one. But you  might live in an unusually busy neighborhood where a permit for parking applies. Or perhaps you live  dead in the center of a massive apartment complex, and it takes you almost 20 minutes to hoof it from  your place out to the parking lot.

The amount of time it takes to carry your items might be the most important question. Regardless of  weight or size of your items, it will still take movers a minimum amount of time to get from the truck to  your house or apartment. If the distance is far, it will take longer.

Some apartment complexes don’t have parking accessible by large trucks, which can also affect the carry  time.  Elevators can also affect the carry time, depending especially on whether they are reserved or  not.

 

Transit Time

This one is the easiest to figure out. Moving from Duluth to Minneapolis? Travel time of a little over two hours. Moving from St. Paul to Fairbault? A moving company can usually offer a pretty good guess that it’ll take an hour. If you’re moving from downtown during rush hour, though, we can adjust the projection accordingly.

And Don’t Forget…

No matter how carefully you plan a move, things can always go awry. It’s only an estimate. You might find that a couch doesn’t fit through the curiously narrow doorways of your new home. Or perhaps the elevators up to your fifty-seventh floor apartment break down. Maybe when you’re packing up, you find that for some reason you just keep finding closets that are chock full of things. At the last minute, you remember that old attic in the garage.

The estimate is just that, an estimate, but here at CMM we’ve found it’s quite possible to offer a good idea of the time it’ll take to get you moved.

If you’re curious, just give us a shout!