Moving in Boston: Q&A!

With only a few days before the biggest moving day of the year here in Boston, we wanted to answer some of the most common questions we get so you can make this your smoothest move ever. Whether this is your first move to the city or you're an "Allston Christmas" vet, these tips can save you some major headaches this Friday.



Q. So you forgot schedule movers in time, now what?

A. Needless to say, movers can make your life much easier - but when it comes to 9/1 they can book up to MONTHS in advance. If you forgot to schedule them, or just thought you could grab a last minute U-Haul you'll likely be out of luck this year. But all hope is not lost! Consider asking around if anyone has a truck/van you could borrow for the day (with proper compensation of course!) or even better, if you have some friends who wouldn't mind helping you move that day in exchange for some pizza and beer you'll get the work done much faster. Think of it this way, if you rented a dreaded fifth floor walk-up, find five friends and put one on each landing - that way you'll be moving your stuff one flight at a time with a break in between - and if you can keep a good pace you'll be done in no time (with friendships still in tact!)


Q. Why can't I just move in early and avoid this whole mess?

A. I think everyone can agree, if move-in dates were staggered - 9/1 in Boston wouldn't get such a bad rep. Unfortunately in most cases the lease that you signed (and the lease that was signed before you) goes until midnight on August 31st. On the bright side, most folks are in the same position as you and try to get into their new place a day or two early to avoid headaches. In situations where that's not possible, you're stuck in the awkward position of needing to be out of your old apartment....with a truck full of all your stuff and no where to go until at least 12PM on the 1st. The first thing to know is you're not alone! Most of the city is dealing with the same problem so best to be proactive about the situation. There are plenty of hotels in the Greater Boston Area with cheap rates that could be a good crash pad in between places, just make sure you're parking your moving van in a safe and more importantly legal spot. No one wants to find that their moving truck has been towed on the first of September!

Q. I'm moving into a neighborhood with narrow roads, how do I know which streets my moving truck will fit on?

A rule of thumb to go by, if you have to ask - it's likely not going to fit. But if you want to see the full list of official closures and reroutes, the city of Boston has a nifty guide to all of that, which they update frequently every year: 

The main takeaway when it comes to moving trucks in Boston: do not take your truck on Storrow Drive. You will not fit. You will get stuck. You will have a very, very bad day. 

Q. What if there aren't any parking spaces?


A. An easy way to solve this problem ahead of time is by going to City Hall and securing a parking permit. This will run you between $80 - $120 but trust me, it's worth it's weight in gold. The last day to apply for a permit is August 29th, as you need to post the signs 3 days in advance to give drivers advanced notice that that particular spot will be off limits. If you are unable to get to City Hall or don't want to shell out that sort of cash, your parking situation will be left up to chance. But as a reminder: please do not park your moving truck or car illegally, you will most definitely be subject to a hefty fine (the meter maids are out in full force this weekend) but more importantly will be starting off on the wrong foot with your neighbors.

Q. Alright I'm all moved in...where do I go with all my trash?

A. The City of Boston is very particular when it comes to their "standard" trash pick-up, however specific schedules vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. In Beacon Hill trash gets picked up curbside every Monday and Friday morning prior to 9AM. You can begin putting trash out on the curb starting at 5PM the day prior, but it is strongly suggested to wait until the morning of to cut down on the amount of pests and scavengers.

If you're wondering what to do with furniture/decorations, consider donating to a local charity or secondhand shop. If the item is not suitable to donate, the City of Boston maintains a list of disposal instructions for almost any item you can think of here:!rc-cpage=wizard_material_list.


Q. Is everything left on the street up for grabs?

A. Yes....and no. While that "like-new" looking couch you've found abandoned on a curb looks like the perfect addition to your new apartment - there's usually a reason it's been thrown out in the first place. Unfortunately bed bugs run rampant in Boston around this time of year (and they don't stick to just beds!), if you ask someone who's ever had to deal with these critters they can tell you it's just not worth it. Any sort of fabric surface is a serious risk to bring into your new home, so just make that 30 minute drive to Ikea and save yourself the headache.

Q. Do I need a permit to keep my car on the street?

A. Yes! Each neighborhood in Boston handles their "resident permit parking" differently,  but there are a few important details that are the same throughout.

  1. You need to have your car registered to your new address, and be able to show proof of this.
  2. You need to show proof of residency, this can be in the form of a utility bill or lease - but it needs to have your name on it and be from the past 30 days.
  3. You need to have ALL parking tickets paid off, this one can really hurt - but hey, it needs to be done anyways right?

Once you have proof of residency and registration, and have no outstanding balances you can order your FREE resident parking sticker online or in person at City Hall. Another option would be a monthly pass at one of Boston's many parking garages, however this will run you (at a minimum) $400/month.

Q. Now that I'm moved in, is there anything else I need to do?

A. Grab a cold drink, put your feet up and enjoy your new place! But once you're done with that, here's a list of the most commonly forgotten items when it comes to moving:

  1. Change your address, this can be done online or at your local Post Office branch. Losing a piece of important mail because you forgot to turn on forwarding can be unfortunate, so make sure to get this set up before it's too late.
  2. Change your voter registration! This can actually be done when you got to change your address, or separately on the City of Boston website.
  3. Get renters insurance. This is not mandatory in the state of Massachusetts unless it's specifically stated on your lease - but if you chose to run the risk of being uninsured your landlord is NOT responsible for any of your personal belongings in the event of fire, flooding, robbery or any other worst case scenario you can think of. Plans are usually relatively inexpensive, and can provide some serious peace of mind.


And before you know it, another 9/1 will have come and gone.
The Team at Red Brick Real Estate wants to wish you a safe, and successful move!