Moving with Gorilla Bins: A Review

As mentioned in this post, we’ve moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

We had about 2 weeks of buffer time between signing the new lease and actually having time to pack and move. During these two weeks, I was dreading the idea of buying a bunch of cardboard boxes and packing tape to pack all of our belongings only to unpack them and have a ton of cardboard to recycle. It just seemed like such a waste of money, plus cardboard doesn’t always provide the most stable and reliable mode of packing and transporting items, especially more fragile ones.

I did a little research and found two companies, one being Gorilla Bins, that rented out heavy duty plastic bins to use instead of said cardboard boxes. Both companies rented their bins out for two weeks and provided free delivery and pick-up. The other one was a little less expensive, so obviously that was the appealing choice since we had just dropped a bunch of money on a new apartment and we’d be hiring movers.

However, their ratings on Yelp were less than stellar:

Poor Rating 1

and…

Poor Rating 2

and…

Poor Rating 3

Yikes, not good. You can read the rest here if you want to.

Anyways, the majority of the reviews for Gorilla Bins were very positive, so I took the plunge and ordered a 1-bedroom set of bins (12 Large [red], 18 Medium [black]) plus a roll of plastic wrap, a pack of packing paper, and a mattress bag. Although our apartment was technically a 2 bedroom, a lot of the stuff was too big to fit in bins or was already in an easy to move state, e.g., comic books already in boxes.

I had delivery set for the next day after work. The next evening, I got a text from an unfamiliar number – it was the guy delivering the bins.  He told me he was about 20 minutes away – how convenient! He was very respectful, efficient in bringing the bins in, and thorough in going over the materials we ordered and how the returning process worked before leaving. It took all but 5 minutes.

Gorilla Bins 1

I immediately started packing stuff like books and candles, i.e., stuff we didn’t need anytime soon. Over the next 4 days, Tom and I packed, saving the majority of the work for the day before movers would be coming. The bins worked like a charm; everything seemed safe and snug in the bins as we stacked them all up in our living room the night before the move.

We fit most of our stuff in them with the exception of a few things that we packed in boxes we had from recent deliveries. Remember, I ordered a 1-bedroom set when we technically had a 2-bedroom, so their estimate was pretty good on how much stuff fits in a 1-bedroom apartment. We were also moving into a 1-bedroom, so it gave us a good idea of how well we would fit into our new place.

Gorilla Bins apartment comparison

Moving day came and the bins made everything SO MUCH EASIER for us and the movers we hired. Because the bins were stacked neatly, our movers were able to take them out easily and stack them in the truck first. They were then the last things to get moved into our new place.

AND nothing was broken. Sure, a competent packer (thank you very much) and careful movers are also key players in this, but the bins definitely helped. Over the next few days, we unpacked and, as the bins became empty, created two stacks of each size bin in our new living room.
We were done unpacking a few days before the 2-week mark, so I emailed GB on a Friday evening inquiring about getting the bins picked up the following day. They don’t make deliveries on Sundays, so I was hoping to get the bins out of our apartment Saturday to free up space. Within an hour, I received a response saying that they would come by the following day at the time I specified and pick the bins up.

The next evening, I got a text giving me the 20 minute alert and a GB employee came by to pick the bins up. Quick, painless, and definitely worth the money.

If you are moving in the NYC area, I could not recommend Gorilla Bins more. Their employees were all helpful and professional, the bins were all clean, and it all made our move so much easier.

We’re Moving!!!

After 2 years of living in Brooklyn, we’re moving to Manhattan!

Brace yourselfNo, it’s not that far, but we’re moving all the same.

I’m so excited and it all happened so fast. I came home from work one night two weeks ago and Tom was in the home office. Out of the blue, he started showing me some apartments he found in on Craigslist. In Manhattan. I didn’t recall him mentioning moving before this, so I was surprised and quite curious. He said that he wanted to be closer to the WordPress/developer scene as well as his job’s office and clients, which all take place in Manhattan.

I was down with the idea (since we don’t really like our neighborhood in BK anyway), just as long as we didn’t move somewhere that made my commute farther. Even then, I can’t even complain because my commute is currently about 30 minutes, which is about a third of the average time workers in NYC commute daily.

So for two weeks we’ve been scouring Craigslist, Zillow, RentHop, and realty companies’ websites, looking for decent apartments that wouldn’t [totally] break the bank, would keep us in a good location for transportation, and weren’t cardboard boxes.
"Cozy" room

Let me just start by telling you that the cheapest most “too good to be true” apartments are fake. The apartments Tom showed me that first night were immaculate and only a couple hundred dollars more than what we currently pay in Brooklyn. When I started noticing that all of those “BEST DEAL IN TOWN” postings were by people with three names (example: Lydia Jasmine Nancy), I knew they were scams.

We quickly realized that what we needed/wanted would cost us a lot more than we were hoping; isn’t that always the case?

This past weekend, we contacted a couple realty agents about posts we saw on Zillow and RentHop. We had one set up for over the weekend, but they canceled on Friday night – it probably got rented before we even got a chance to see it. Such is the story when trying to rent in NYC: there one minute, gone the next.

The search continued and we contacted a few more agents. We were interested in one apartment whose agent got back to us on Sunday. We set up a viewing for the next day and started getting as much paperwork as we thought we’d need.

On the train ride to the first apartment, we were discussing this apartment and weighing pros and cons of what we knew about the area so far and the apartment before seeing it in person. I told Tom that if it didn’t fit what we wanted, that we would keep looking at the other apartments she had set for us. He seemed pretty set on this apartment before seeing it, though.

Our current apartment was something we both agreed on before we even walked in. We were both so nervous that we were going to miss out on it, but we lucked out so hard. There was actually a girl scheduled to view it before us but she had a family emergency, so we got to see it first; as soon as we walked in and checked the place out, we looked at each other, smiled, and agreed that we wanted it. The poor girl called just as we signed the final piece of paper saying she was on the way and could she still check it out; the realty agent had to break the news, and although I felt bad, I was ecstatic. We had all of the necessary paperwork with us and got the keys a couple days later.

This time around, however, has required a lot more paperwork and patience. More on that in a bit.

When we got to the first apartment in Manhattan, I had a feeling it was going to be underwhelming just standing outside. It was in a nice area, but the outside didn’t seem all that great and I remember the pictures showing pretty small rooms with not much storage space (closets or kitchen storage). The website post for it wasn’t amazing, it was just better than others that we had seen. When we walked in, it looked even smaller than in the photos and didn’t seem like it would fit our wants or needs…other than having a roof over our head and running water. We decided to try our luck at a couple of the other apartments she had within the same price range and the same area.

NYC Expectations vs Reality

The second place was a few blocks away and up three flights of stairs. The hallways were narrow, but we were greeted by a fully renovated, fresh paint-smelling, beautiful, but oh-so-teeny-tiny apartment. The kitchen was part of the living room, which isn’t unheard of in the city. However, I’ve seen friends’ apartments that have this layout, but there’s enough room to serve as the living room that it doesn’t really impede on the kitchen (and vice versa). This apartment, though, left no room for any proper seating area while still allowing cupboard doors to open. Plus, we have to consider space for Tom’s computer setup.

I think it would make a great bachelor/bachelorette pad, but it would be tight for two people plus guests. The bathroom was immaculate – like, you’ll never find a more beautiful bathroom in the city for this price. But, we don’t plan on spending copious amounts of time or entertaining all of our guests in the bathroom, so we had to pass.

The third place was a couple more blocks away, and noticed a police station nearby, so that made us feel pretty safe. The apartment was on the first floor which was such a pro compared to the last apartment. When we walked in, I thought she was showing us a studio apartment because the main living area/kitchen was huge. But to my surprise, there was a whole other room for a bedroom to the left with a really good-sized closet. The kitchen, although open to the living space, had a much better layout to allow us to have a table and chairs without creeping into the living area. The bathroom was..a bathroom – nothing fancy, especially compared to bathroom #2 (ha), but it would get the job done.

We looked at each other, just as we had when we got our current apartment, and told the agent that we wanted to go ahead with it. We went back to the office, signed some papers, realized that we didn’t have nearly enough documents that they required, and agreed to have them in ASAP. We have been emailing back and forth about 100 times with our agent, sending more paperwork, getting clarification, re-sending clearer pictures and scans of documents, etc.

When a good apartment is on the line and you have to wait a whole business day for your landlady to provide a letter stating that you are a good tenant who pays on time, it feels like a lifetime because anyone can jump on the apartment at any time and it’s first come (meaning first applicant with 100% of the necessary documents) first served. Just because we put a deposit down didn’t mean it was ours yet.

It feels like this has taken a week because the waiting and scrambling to get everything together feels like it’s been going on forever.

But it’s only been 3 days.

At 2pm yesterday afternoon, we finally submitted everything we needed. Our agent was super quick with her responses and was supportive the entire time. She was unsure if the new landlord would accept one of our documents, so she left us with an email that said she would get back to us once she got word back about the status, and that this might take a day.

So I sat back, relieved that it was out of our hands, and figuring we wouldn’t hear from her for at least an hour, maybe not until the following day.

Five. Minutes. Later. She sends us an email congratulating us because we had been accepted!!!!!!!!!!

I can haz new howse?

We signed the lease today and it feels surreal since we can’t move in right away; I’m getting a colonoscopy Saturday (fun!) to make sure my Crohn’s is okay, and then we’re going to a concert on Sunday. We’ll move slowly since we have our current apartment for another 30 days or so, which is great because neither of us has huge chunks of free time to pack, move, and unpack. I’M JUST SO PUMPED!!!

Summary by Statistics: Moving Out of My Childhood Home

I went upstate (western New York) Tuesday to pack up my belongings since we have to sell my childhood home. You can read a little bit about that here. In that post is a link to another post featuring a bunch of pictures of me when I was younger…go take a gander!

Along with me were my fiancé (gah, still getting used to that!) Tom, his mom, and his aunt, so we had plenty of man and woman power. Instead of recapping every detail (seeing as so much happened within the span of two days), I figured I could just give you some of the highlights through numbers. Ahh, math.

So here we go with the stats from this trip:

42 total trip hours from the time we left Long Island until we returned

12.5 total hours spent in the truck (Tom’s aunt drove, and I think it’s an F-150 with an extended cab)

13 total hours spent packing, throwing stuff away, and taking things to donate

4 coffees consumed (I’m usually a once a day type gal)

0 meltdowns on my part (Although I did get impatient and/or frustrated at times, there weren’t tears or outbursts)

7 full truck-loads taken to Salvation Army and My Sister’s Closet for donation. These included:

  • 1 little red wagon
  • 4 boxes + 3 garbage bags full of clothes
  • 43ish Barbies
  • 4 garbage bags full of bedding and towels
  • 1 purple body suit and pair of purple tights (these were my mom’s back in the day. Check out the picture of me in them 2 years ago…when I first stumbled upon them)247732_10150192670801526_3595493_n

2 full boxes of food donated to a church pantry

3 overflowing boxes of paper/cardboard to recycle

25 total garbage bags full of garbage/unwanted/old stuff. These included:

  • 2 garbage bags full of old pillows
  • 20ish year old “artwork” from school – we’re talking moldy candies in the shape of an H
  • 10 bowling trophies
  • 2 boxes of Flutie Flakes
  • 1 box of Kelly Krunch

4 friends stopped by to say hi while I was in town (here is a picture of Tom, Courtney, and me at dinner on Tuesday).three amigos

1000+ stairs taken (up and down)

7 boxes + 1 large wooden trunk full of stuff I brought back to Long Island

My mom came to the house on her scooter to go through her own stuff; she made a dent but still has plenty of work to do. But for what she got through, we ended up bringing two boxes full of her “keep” stuff to the nursing home.

It was great that she got to get out of the nursing home and see the house after 2+ years. Plus, she finally got to meet my future mother- and aunt-in-law! And eat pizza and donut holes! And see my ring in person!

Overall, this process has been much smoother than I ever expected or anticipated. I still have a few odds and ends that had to be left at my house because the truck was seriously packed to the brim. So another trip upstate is in the cards sometime within the next couple months. I am so thankful for all the well wishes from friends and family, as well as all of the help from Tom and his family.

Above all, I have been thanking God each and every day for all the blessings from the past 8 days (birthday, engagement, new job, and now the move); honestly, it’s all Him. I mean, I got to end the trip with a beautiful and coveted Geneseo sunset. What more could I have asked for?geneseo

Well, maybe an escalator or elevator in my house. But I digress.

Saying Goodbye?

I got some crushing news this weekend from my mom.

“I’m selling the house,” she told me.

Cue heart sinking, gut twisting, jaw dropping, eyes widening, so on and so forth.Sitting at Mom's Desk

I don’t want to write too much about it since I already wrote a post about my childhood home. We had a conversation about the house 3 weeks ago and it had been settled that she would keep it until I was certain that I had a place to go after graduating this December. But things change, government agencies suck, and here we are getting the proverbial rug ripped out from under us. I have been slowly preparing myself mentally and emotionally for this, but I still wasn’t and still am not 100% ready.

Although things are not set in stone as of right now (Mom’s speaking with a lawyer this week to see if there are any other options) I was hoping to get some ideas about having an estate sale, packing stuff, storing stuff, etc. Being over 300 miles from home, it will take a lot of prep work to organize an estate sale, so if anyone has any suggestions please share them. I’m not sure if getting some sort of estate sale service is worth it, but I’m open to learning more about them.

Also, since I currently live in a dorm room, ideas about storage spaces would be great appreciated. This will probably be happening within the next 4 weeks (before the fall semester starts), so I’m going to be scouring (read: frantically looking) for thoughts and ideas.

Yes, Virginia (and everyone else), I live in New York City

So for those of you who did not know, I have been living in the City That Never Sleeps.

Yes, Virginia, I have been living in New York City for two and a half months now…and I forgot how many people I didn’t tell. I guess maybe they thought I was just working as a substitute teacher and glamorous Walmart supervisor for these last few months. Others, well, either don’t care to know my whereabouts or thought I fell off the face of the earth?

I was actually accepted into Teachers College, Columbia University back in August last year, but coming in the fall was too soon to get everything prepared to leave home. That’s a whole other complicated story (AKA: my life), so maybe one day you’ll hear about it. I’ve always been told that my life would make a good book; I think I should get better at blogging first, then I’ll consider it.

Image

I applied for two schools: University at Buffalo and Teachers College. I had already been admitted into UB’s Math Education graduate program, and was planning on starting in the fall, so I had a fallback plan if TC didn’t accept me. I honestly didn’t think I had a chance of getting into TC; I mean, come on, it’s affiliated with Columbia! I’m just this small-town girl (though, technically, Batavia is a city), I never received huge awards from high school or college, my grades were good but they could definitely find better people to take my place. It was quite a stressful summer waiting to hear from TC.

And then, on an August evening, I got an email from TC directing me to the ‘decision’ page of my application. This was it. I mentally prepared myself to read, “We are sorry to inform you…” or something along those lines. So when I read, “We are happy to inform you…” I just about wet my pants. I think I screamed.

As excited as I was, the idea of moving in only a month was terrifying. Like I said, it wasn’t going to be as easy as students who move away to college freshman year with parents to take care of all the messy details: house, transportation, the actual moving process, etc. So I knew that if I accepted admittance into TC, I would be deferring to the spring semester to allow me more time to prepare myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially.

I only told a select few because I didn’t want to announce it publicly over Facebook that I was leaving town to go to NYC. There are multiple reasons, but one of the bigger ones was due to self-doubt and pride.

Okay, sure, I got accepted into this crazy awesome graduate school, but…What if I can’t hack it in the city? What if I come back after a semester because I hate it there? What if I fail my classes, living far from home, life in general?

And when I did tell people, I would make it seem like I was prepared to fail. That way, if I didn’t like it or ended up not doing well, I would be willing to come home without making a huge scene, reapplying to Walmart (that would make 5 stints there), and assume my old life back home.

If I hate it, no big deal – I’ll just come home.

It was definitely a defense mechanism but, looking back, it was only defense from myself. Everyone I told was nothing but excited and supportive; we were all people living in a small city in western New York, so just thinking and talking about going to and living in a huge city like NYC was thrilling.

Absolutely everyone was pumped for me. Everyone but myself. It’s not that I wasn’t excited. The problem was that I was so excited I was afraid I would overlook the possibilities of failure and end up getting clotheslined by life.

Why do we do this to ourselves? If any of my friends came and told me they got accepted into a prestigious college and/or were moving somewhere, I would be ecstatic for them! A couple of my friends have done this actually (not for school but for jobs) and I couldn’t be happier. And I’m so glad they told me so that I can be excited for them and support them! But when it came to myself, I was so bent out of shape about the negative possibilities, doubting my ability to do well in school or survive a new city, that I wasn’t willing to share it with anyone but those I was closest to.NYC skyline

So to those of you whom I didn’t tell, I really apologize. I was afraid that if I told everyone and made this huge hype, it would blow up in my face and I would end up falling flat on my tush. Then I wouldn’t just be letting myself down, but I would feel as though I failed all the people I told, all the people that believed in me. I felt as though my failure would extinguish any fire in the hearts of those coming from a small city and wanting to explore living in a bigger city. If I couldn’t do it, I know it would discourage me, but would that also discourage others?

I’m glad to say that I love it here. These past two+ months have been exciting, challenging, eye-opening, and amazing. I’ve been wanting to write about my experiences here, but there was still such an uneasiness with letting people know and actually knowing myself whether I liked it here enough to stay. I plan on being here for the next year, and after that, who knows? Maybe I’ll love it enough to find a job here for a few years before I settle down and start a family; I don’t really want my future kids growing up in such a huge, overwhelming city. Or maybe I’ll find a job in another great city. Maybe a different country. Who knows? I do know, now that the cat is out of the bag, that I’m excited to write about anything that may come up.