19 Lessons from Allston Christmas 2013

Another Allston Christmas has come come and gone. The year, the infamous Boston moving weekend was even tougher due to high temperatures, rain, and humidity, but our Olympia crew managed to pull off successful moves for our clients!

Some other relocating Boston residents did not have such an easy time. If you’re moving next September 1st, they say the best way to learn is from others’ mistakes & experiences. Here’s 19 things we learned from Allston Christmas 2013.

1. Double or triple parking will not help anyone.

Via @hilhey

2. There’s some very unique treasures among the junk…

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Get Ready For Allston Christmas

At Olympia Moving & Storage, we’re thinking about moving every day, but there’s one time of year when moving is on every Bostonian’s mind.

The universities are prepping for back to school, the roads are clogged with Uhauls, and abandoned mattresses are populating the sidewalk. It can only mean one thing: September 1st, also known as Boston Move-In Day or Allston Christmas, is coming.

Even if you don’t have to move, there’s a lot to dread around September 1st in Boston. 79% of leases have availability dates at the beginning of September, so thousands of Boston residents are moving on the same day. Moving is hard enough, but when you add bumper to bumper traffic, fighting for elevator use, double-parked moving trucks, and abandoned belongings littering the sidewalk into the mix, it’s a whole new level of challenging.

Despite the difficulties, Boston Moving Day has become a bit of a city-wide tradition. The day is affectionately nicknamed “Allston Christmas” due to the copious number of free household items left on the sidewalk.

This short video by The Boston Globe gives you a good idea of the chaos to expect:

This funny video by a Bostonian demonstrates just how many moving trucks you’ll find on the road:

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Fastest-Growing Washington DC Neighborhoods

Fastest growing neighborhoods Washington DCLast week we highlighted the 5 fastest-growing neighborhoods in Boston, MA.  This week we turn to the trends in our second location, Washington DC.

Population growth in Washington DC has been booming lately.  It’s estimated that since the census was conducted in 2010, Washington DC’s growth rate is higher than any other state.  Unlike many other established American cities, Washington DC seems to be on a path to healthy and brisk population increase over the next few years.  However, some neighborhoods are growing significantly faster than others.  If you’re one of many moving to the DC area in the near future, looking at the fastest-growing Washington DC neighborhoods is a great first step to finding your new home.

(All numbers refer to neighborhood cluster growth between 2000 and 2010, source)

Downtown, Chinatown, Penn Quarters, Mount Vernon Square, North Capitol Street, 58% growth

Almost 5,000 more people moved downtown, resulting in a staggering population boom.  This area also features many new institutions, business, and shops.

West End, Foggy Bottom, GWU, 38% growth

This area is booming with development, especially with many new luxury condos coming to the neighborhood.

Southeast, Navy Yard, 23% growth

The Navy Yard Southeast is seeing a lot of commercial and residential re-development including office parks, the new Nationals stadium, new Marine barracks, and more.

Howard University, Le Droit Park, Cardozo/Shaw, 20% growth

These neighborhoods are known for diverse populations, featuring Howard University and “Little Ethiopia.”

Woodland/Fort Stanton, Garfield Heights, Knox Hill, 18% growth

Long known as impoverished neighborhoods, this area is becoming one of the Southeast’s up-and-coming locations, especially with development in Garfield Heights.

Of course, after you find the perfect DC neighborhood, it’s time to find  the perfect DC mover!  Olympia Moving & Storage has a lot of experience moving our clients in all these areas!  If you’re looking to move to one of these neighborhoods, or anywhere else in the greater DC area, click here to request a free estimate!

Moving in Boston & DC Resources

Moving in or out of Alexandria ,VA

How to Get a Parking Permit

Fastest-Growing Boston Neighborhoods

Boston might not be one of the fastest growing cities in the country, after all, the city has been around since 1630!  The city grew just 5% between 2000 and 2010 according to latest census data.  However, there’s still a lot of Boston moving, and some Boston neighborhoods are growing faster than others.  Recent neighborhood growth trends are often a pretty good indicator of which areas are up-and-coming and a great place to make a home.  If you’re looking to move in Boston, these five neighborhoods might be a good place to start:

Boston Moving

(All numbers refer to neighborhood growth between 2000 and 2010, source)

Downtown Boston, 46% growth

Downtown, which includes Chinatown and the Leather District, is by far the fastest-growing area in Boston.  This neighborhood boasted 5,000 more residents in 2010 than it did on 2000.

Fenway/Kenmore, 15% growth

Though growth in Fenway lags far behind downtown, its second place spot definitely points to a surge of vitality in this neighborhood.  It’s easy to see why, who wouldn’t want easy access to the Red Sox and Fenway?

Allston, 14% growth

A popular neighborhood with students and young professionals, growth in Allston is an indicator of the strength of Boston’s young population, thanks to the city’s many universities.

Roxbury/Mission Hill, 14% growth

The advancement of Longwood Medical Center may be a factor in this area’s growth.

South End/Bay Village, 12% growth

Home to some of the hippest new shops, restaurants, and bars, the South End will definitely continue to be attractive to new residents.

Of course, after you find the perfect neighborhood, it’s time to find the perfect Boston mover!  Olympia Moving & Storage has a lot of experience moving our clients in all these areas!  If you’re looking to move to one of these neighborhoods, or anywhere else in the greater Boston area, click here to request a free estimate!

Moving in Boston & DC Resources

Surviving September 1st in Boston

Things to Consider When Moving To and From Boston

Moving in the Cold and Snow

Avoiding the snow is one of the reasons most choose to move in the summer.  As year round movers in Boston, MA and Washington, DC we’ve seen our share of Nor’easters and chilly days.  Our crews are tough and always persevere through whatever Mother Nature throws our way, but customers can take a few simple steps to make the movers more comfortable, expedite the move, and even save a little money while moving in the cold and snow.

Keep in touch with your movers.  If you know some brutal wintery conditions are coming your way, feel free to call your moving coordinator with your concerns.  If you have the flexibility, it might be possible to shift the dates of local moves and services to avoid the snow.  It is extremely rare for Olympia to close the office due to weather, and we will certainly contact you with as much notice as possible if this is the case.

Shovel before the crew arrives.  Our crew members are more than happy to do all the necessary shoveling for you, but adding the task of shoveling adds time and money to your move.  If you want to avoid those charges, it’s best to get rid of the snow before the truck arrives.  Be sure to clear a spot for the truck to park, either in the driveway or street, as well as pathways for the crew between the truck and the entrances.

Salt the pathways.  It is extremely important for the crew to keep their balance while they are carrying your precious furniture in slippery and icy conditions.  The crew will bring salt, but the sooner the pathways are salted, the sooner it is safe for the crew to start loading the truck.  Therefore, like shoveling, it’s helpful to put salt down prior to the movers’ arrival.

Turn down the heat.  As the crew comes in and out, the door will be open to the cold air for a good portion of the move.  Additionally, it’s uncomfortable for the bundled up movers to come into a toasty house from the cold.  By putting on a jacket and turning down the heat, you’ll save a little money on wasted heat and put the crew at ease.

Floor protection.  Snow, mud, slush, and salt can lead to a mess under movers’ boots.  Therefore, in the winter, we always put down extra floor protection to protect your home from a mess.  If you have extra mats, put them by the door to help the crew clean their boots before entering your home.

Go for a Dunkin’ Donuts run.  Chilly movers will never say no to warm coffee!

Surviving Moving September 1st in Boston

Sept 1st in BostonSeptember 1st has become an infamous day for moving in Boston. It is by far the busiest moving day of the entire year. The main cause is the city’s large population of students. Many leases begin just in time for students to move in for the fall semester. As a result, a significant number of leases in Boston begin on September 1st. A recent statistic released by RentJuice found that 79% of Boston’s rentals have availability dates at the beginning of September.

Relocating on this date can be a concern if you are moving downtown or in surrounding neighborhoods; such as Allston, Brighton, Cambridge, or Somerville. Commonwealth Avenue often becomes gridlocked with moving trucks. The time required to move into and out of apartment buildings increases as movers attempt to maneuver around other relocating tenants while elevators are at a premium. The city has even asked some universities to avoid scheduling dorm move-ins on this date.

In true Boston fashion, residents still find a way to make the chaos amusing. Those in the neighborhood of Allston have dubbed September 1st “Allston Christmas” because the sidewalks are littered with abandoned furniture. Check out this article on hilarious tweets from last year’s September 1st moving day.

Planning is the key to a successful move on September 1st. Be sure to secure a date with your moving company or reserve a rental vehicle as early as possible to ensure availability. Follow our packing tips to make sure you are fully prepared for when the movers arrive. Check with your building to confirm the rules for where the truck can park and usage regulations for the elevator.

How to Get a Parking Permit

As a moving company located in the Boston, MA and Washington, DC areas, Olympia does a lot of moves on busy and/or narrow streets without a lot of parking availability. Failure to obtain a required permit can delay the process and add significant cost.

If you live in the cities of Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, or Somerville, chances are that you are going to need a parking permit. The same applies if you live in the cities of Washington D.C., Alexandria, or Arlington.

Olympia can arrange for the requisite permits for between $110 and $160 contingent upon the specific city that you live in, OR you can obtain these permits on your own. If you are going to request that Olympia obtain these permits for you, please provide at least one week of lead time. If you plan to obtain the permits on your own, we have provided some useful links below for markets in which Olympia conducts a lot of business:


Washington D.C.

Moving in the Summer

Summer is always the busiest time in the moving industry, but this season in particular has seen a significant increase in demand. The following tips should help to ensure a smooth transition to your new home.


  1. Call Olympia as early as possible to get a quote, and do not wait too long to book your move. As schedules fill, moving companies sometimes block dates with the highest demand in order to manage resources. Dates at the beginning and the end of the month are usually the first to fill up, so be sure to book your move as early as possible to ensure availability.
  2. While there are several excellent moving companies in Greater Boston and Washington D.C., there are also a host of bad movers. Understand that when it comes to moving, price and value are not synonymous.
  3. Create a move plan and adhere to this plan in the weeks leading up to relocation. Check out our planning calendar to help you put together your move plan.
  4. Use Olympia’s moving resource page to help you fully prepare for all the details of your move.
  5. Remember that effective communication, planning, and preparation are the key elements of a successful move. Be sure to talk to your move coordinator if there are any changes to your move. Changes you would want to communicate to your coordinator include the addition of extra stops, large discrepancies (increases or decreases) in the number of items you’re moving vs. your estimate, the need for additional packing, or the addition of a bulky or fragile item to your move.

Moving into or out of Alexandria Virginia

Moving into or out of Alexandria, Arlington, or Washington DC requires an in-depth understanding of the streets and access conditions.  In contrast with some of the more removed DC suburbs, truck access needs to be considered and parking permits are often required.  Washington DC does not allow any tractor-trailers into the city, and therefore smaller straight trucks must be used.

Alexandria MovingWhile newer developments typically have better access for movers, some of the older buildings and row houses can be challenging.  Tight staircases and small entryways are par for the course and can make moving a piano challenging.  To address this scenario, all of our crew chiefs receive significant training with hand-hoisting and, as required, we will also use a crane for bigger pieces.

Largely owing to the numbers of government employees in the area, the DC Metro is the most transient market in the country.  In an environment in which there are so many temporary residents, storage can be a great alternative to trying to cram all of your belongings into a small space.

Best Time of Year to Move

Although most people do not have the luxury of being able to determine when they are moving, there are, in fact, worst and best times to move.

Northeast Best Times to Move

If you live in the Northeast, or anywhere where inclement weather is potentially an issue, it is preferable to avoid the middle of the winter. Moving companies operate regardless of weather conditions (unless there are safety concerns); however moving in the middle of a snow storm invariably creates additional stress and may add extra timeBest Time of Year to Move Moving Calendar Olympia Moving Boston MA to the move. The one positive aspect of moving during the winter is that you are likely to get the best quality movers. This is because moving companies expand their labor force during the summer months to account for demand. Therefore during the winter months you are usually working exclusively with the most experienced full-time movers.

Avoid Peak Moving Times

If possible, avoid the end of the month. Moving coincides with lease dates, and therefore the end of the month is always the busiest time (especially in the summer season). Movers with a positive reputation are usually at or near capacity during this time and often they charge a small premium during the end of the month.

Best Times to Move Interstate

If you are moving interstate, June through August represents the single busiest time where capacity issues become a factor. If it is possible to move outside of these months it is preferable and, if not, we suggest scheduling your move as far in advance as possible.


If you need help with your move, give us a call at 800-222-4744 or fill out our form online for a free moving estimate!

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