Moving on up? High-rise apartment living is, ahem, on the rise, and it’s easy to understand why. Not only does it fall in line with the growing downsizing and minimalist trends, it also offers up stellar city views, a host of building amenities, and more security. Plus, it’s a lot less work to maintain than a house. 

Whether you’re relocating to a new city or just looking for a new POV in your current city, know this: moving into a high-rise apartment follows a different set of rules than regular moves. The high-rise life may be sweet, but getting there can be a little complicated.

Never fear! We’re here to help you take the elevator, not the stairs, with our tips from prep to successful execution for your high-rise move — including what you need to know about your building’s moving rules before you start hauling furniture. 

MOVING TIPS FOR HIGH-RISE APARTMENTS

Before you move up, get down with these tips to help make your high-rise move as easy and breezy as summer nights from your new balcony above the city. 

1. Downsize your belongings

Got stuff? Be prepared to minimize your moving inventory. Most high-rise apartments are much smaller than your average house and are designed with way less storage space. But, hey, this can be a positive thing! You’ve now got an excuse to say goodbye (no hard feelings!) to anything you’ve been holding onto for no good reason. Plus, you can even cash in on items that don’t make the cut by holding an estate sale or selling it via online marketplaces. What you can’t sell, donate to charity or give to friends.

person measuring the floor of their high-rise apartment

2. Measure before you move

Moving into a high-rise without making sure your space can accommodate your stuff can be a recipe for disaster. Calculate how your furniture measures up against the available space in your unit to make sure you’ve got a good fit. It’s much, much more hassle to get rid of large items after they’ve already been moved into a high-rise apartment. We recommend actually plotting out the space on paper or via an online site (like Planner 5D) that allows you to plug and play in order to see if your furniture works with your new layout.

3. Go with the pros

If there was ever a time you’d want to consider paying the high price for a full-service moving experience, it may be for a high-rise move. Not only do professional loaders and moving services have experience successfully completing high-rise moves, chances are they’ve even got experience moving in and out of your new building! That means they know the questions to ask, the permits they need, where the elevators are, and are already a few steps ahead, which, during a high-rise move, really makes them worth their weight in gold. Plus, with more muscle on the job, it’ll go faster and be less stressful, leaving you to focus on the important stuff like which room to start unpacking first. One note of caution: Don’t just assume the movers will take care of everything. Ask in advance, get the nitty-gritty details, and double-check along the way to make sure you get what you’re paying for.

PRO TIP: Even if you’re going DIY with a truck rental or moving container service, you can still hire hourly moving help to take care of the heavy lifting. 

4. Know your building rules before you move

Whether you’re going with the pros or heading the DIY route, don’t even start planning your move until you find out the rules are for moving in or out of your building. Every high-rise building has its own unique set of rules that tenants must follow. Failure to do so can shut down your move, get you off on the wrong foot, or cost you a pretty penny in fines. See below for a list of key questions to ask your building management about its moving rules

5. Plan for parking and permits

In addition to building rules, there will also likely be city rules that apply to your move. We’re talking about parking permits, street-use or curb permits, etc., and you absolutely need to know these in advance to avoid fines or snafus. Regardless of whether you’re using full-service movers, a rental truck, or portable container, if your building doesn’t have parking with enough clearance, you’ll likely need a reserved space and the A-OK to park for the unloading process. Contact the city’s traffic and parking division as soon as you know you’re moving, so you have time to get the permits you need. This is definitely not something you want to leave to the last minute!

PRO TIP:  If you’re looking for flexibility and easy, built-in storage options, PODS City Service offers a moving experience in select cities that’s designed especially for moving in highly dense, urban areas. 

6. Opt for insurance

Since high-rise moves are a bit trickier and have a lot more moving parts than a standard move, it’s definitely worth considering a bumped-up level of moving insurance — or at least checking what, if anything, your renters insurance will cover in the case of damages to your property and/or the building during your move. 

PODS storage containers in a storage facility

7. Consider storage options

Extra storage in the form of a self-storage unit or portable container can be a lifesaver when you’re moving into a high-rise apartment — especially if you’re in the process of downsizing from a larger home. For example, PODS containers do double-duty for both moving and storage. You can have a container delivered to your driveway, where you can keep it for as long as you need while you’re packing, loading, and sorting through your belongings. When the container’s ready, PODS will pick it up and take it to your new apartment or to a secure Storage Center, where you can still have easy access while you decide what you want to keep or let go. 

If you have a lot of stuff, you can use multiple containers, and even designate one that goes to your apartment, and the other to the storage center. Some people decide on a hybrid move, where they use a container for storage and hire full-service movers to take care of all, or part of the packing, loading, and unloading. In short, portable containers can give you a lot more flexibility, whether you’re storing extra furniture for a future move or saving valuable closet space by packing seasonal clothes and decorations away.

Wondering how much moving and storage containers cost? For local moving and storage, visit PODS online, or call 877-350-7637 for long-distance moves or PODS City Service. 

WHAT TO ASK YOUR HIGH-RISE APARTMENT BUILDING ABOUT MOVING RULES

As we mentioned, your new apartment building is going to have its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to moving in or out of the building. Here’s a quick list of the basics you should ask to get the ball rolling. 

  • Do I need to reserve a date for my move?
  • Do I need to reserve the elevator for my move? Is it a regular elevator or a freight elevator? 
  • Do you require the use of professional movers? 
  • Do you require professional movers to be licensed and insured? 
  • Are there any fees for moving into or out of the building?
  • What services or support does the building provide? 
  • Where should I dispose of any extra/leftover moving supplies and materials?
  • Is there a printed list of rules and regulations you can give me? 

Now that you’ve got a good handle on the ins and outs of your high-rise move, check out these 12 Foolproof Packing Tips and, for when you’re settling in, these Easy IKEA Hacks for Small Spaces. With good planning and prep, you’ll be enjoying those sweeping views in no time.

(Credit for image featured at top: Vladimir Kudinov via Pexels)


Katherine Alex Beaven is a freelance writer who recently made a big-city move herself, from NYC to Los Angeles.