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On Moving: DIY or By Professional?

Curbed University delivers insider tips and non-boring advice on how to buy, sell, or rent a home or apartment. Additional questions welcomed to Curbed Chicago's tipline.

Moving Yourself
Ah, moving day: every city-dwellers worst nightmare. Though the welcoming of a new digs is always an exciting time, the task of transporting all of your possessions through crowded city streets is a prospect that even the hardiest Chicagoans would probably rather avoid. Residents of high-rise condo and apartment buildings have it slightly easier, with the availability of elevators and accessible parking and loading zones. Those in walk-ups, however, face a task that few would envy: carrying all of their possessions down, and possibly back up, several flights of stairs.

For DIYers who aren't afraid of breaking a sweat, you can rent a U-Haul (or Budget or Ryder, or any other) truck for as little as $20/hour plus about $1/mile traveled. With some loyal friends and a couple quick trips, it should be possible to get your stuff to your new place and return the truck within a few hours (unless you're a hoarder – in which case, this section probably doesn't apply to you anyway). But be warned: Truck rentals tend to book up at the beginning of the month, especially during moving season (September and October). If you like your chances, it's a perfectly feasible way to save some money; but if the cost of avoiding physical labor is worth it to you, there are plenty of burly guys around who will gladly do it for you.

Moving Companies
The going rate for a crew of movers will typically cost $25-$40 per man, per hour. When selecting your mover, the company will take inventory of all of your possessions and the distance they will be traveling to gauge an estimate. Most companies will allow you to fill out this information on their website, immediately shooting you an estimate via email. Additional costs may be accrued for optional packaging materials and services. Most companies require a two-hour and two-man minimum on each job. At the end of the day, a full-serviced move can cost anywhere from a few to several hundred dollars. Before selecting your mover, it is suggested that you review the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's website. Here you can learn about your rights during the process, and reduce the possibility of getting scammed into paying more than you should. Knowledge is power!

A couple of the most reputable movers in town are: The Professionals Inc. Moving Specialists, and Move-tastic. Based on the reviews of these guys online, it's doubtful you'll find them digging through your couch cushions or trying to talk you out of a few extra bucks.
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