If you can totally relate to Tony Bennett crooning about leaving his heart in San Francisco, moving to San Francisco may just give you the perfect place to call home.
Home to the Giants (baseball), 49ers (football), colleges, impressive theater arts, massive tech companies, and the birthplace of Steve Jobs, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, George Lucas, Jerry Garcia, and Huey Lewis, San Francisco is sure to grab a hard hold on your heart, too.
Before you hit the road for the city by the Bay, read this to learn the best tips on preparing for your big city move.
Properly Packing for Moving to San Francisco
Did you know that there are right ways and wrong ways to master packing for when you’re moving to San Francisco?
No, there won’t be a test, but moving certainly can test your will and stress levels!
Basically, properly packing for your move really means that you have the right supplies and the best way to get everything to your destination.
Items you’re sure to need, regardless of what you’ll be bringing with you to San Francisco:
- Boxes of all shapes and sizes but with one thing in common: very strong and sturdy!
- Bubble wrap
- Various tape, including packing tape, Scotch tape, and masking tape
- Thick black Sharpie/permanent markers
- Blankets or sheets you don’t mind getting dirty, to wrap large items such as computer monitors and flat screen televisions
The good news is, you can actually rent or buy many of these items from a moving company if you decide to go in that directly. (They’ll often even offer discounts on supplies when they perform your move.)
What to Pack Yourself
No, we don’t mean to put yourself in a box, though it could save on the flight tickets or gas to get you on your way to moving to San Francisco.
We mean there are several items you should NOT pack in the truck.
These items should either go with you in your luggage or car if you are driving. The point is, they’re too important to ship, sometimes weeks ahead, and you want to keep them accessible at all times:
- Medications (consider telling your doctor about the move; they will sometimes give you extended/early prescriptions to cover the moving time)
- Documentation of your move, including apartment lease papers, home mortgage papers, hotel stay papers along the way
- Documentation for any pets you are bringing with you, including vaccination proof, plus the pets’ regular food, treats, medications, and toys to make the trip a bit more comfortable and familiar
- Extremely fragile or expensive electronics equipment
- Jewelry, heirlooms, other valuables that you would have a hard time recovering from if they happened to be lost or damaged during the time moving to San Francisco
Making your plans about moving to San Francisco from a rather colder climate?
The good news is, you may have more room in your moving truck than you thought.
Unless you have some kind of personal attachment to items like shovels, snow chains, plows, and other cold-weather equipment, you can leave them at home.
San Francisco doesn’t get much snowfall and you won’t have to deal with too much ice accumulation, either.
One thing you may want to begin to track is San Fran fog.
The city is often “socked in" and this could spell trouble for trying to navigate a massive moving van or just coordinate rolling up to an unfamiliar place.
Fog is often most present in the mornings, and “burns off” during the afternoon.
Once you’re a San Francisco long-timer, you may look over at the foggy days as part of the city’s charm (the fog has a name? whaaaat? Yep, it's Fred!), but it can be disarming for newcomers.
Bridging the Gap
If you’ve ever had a fear of heights or bridges, now is the time to make a good, solid plan.
San Francisco is home to two massive, iconic bridges, the Golden Gate and the Oakland Bay Bridge. (Several other bridges may even become part of your daily commute, depending on your preferred routes and destinations.)
These two bridges (which do have tolls) span huge waterways and if that type of driving situation makes you nervous or worried, try to talk to people about how they conquered their own fears.
Don’t worry, as both bridges are constructed as strongly as they are beautiful. Sometimes, they’re even decorated with special lighting for the season and may really perk up your commute.
Speaking of commuting, San Francisco is not known to be one of the easiest places to traverse.
Once you’re done moving to San Francisco, you probably plan to get out and about to visit your new city. Whether that’s a daily commute or heading in to sample one of the many museums, sports arenas, and restaurants, you’re probably going to face some gridlock.
A great option is to bookmark or download a traffic app. SF Gate, a major San Francisco media conglomerate with a newsletter, website, and more, has a site that gives you instant views on traffic incidents that you can customize to your route.
Talk to locals about shortcuts and backroads. You can even opt for things like the Bay Area FasTrak transponder, which gets you into more available lanes when going through the tolls.
A Word on Rent
In February 2017, absolutely no one who is familiar with San Francisco was surprised to hear that it was labeled as having the highest rents in the entire world.
Don’t halt your move just yet! If you haven’t already secured your spot, keep going with your plans for moving to San Francisco.
There are lots of ways you can combat the high-rent issue:
- Consider downsizing, such as a 3 bedroom to a 2 bedroom
- Share (friends, family, or home-shares with like-minded strangers)
- If you are relocating for work, ask if they will help with your expenses as well as find you something in your price range
- Work with a relocation specialist to find you places in your budget
- Live San Francisco-adjacent in one of the many nearby, commutable “bedroom communities”
But when you do find a place, be sure to discuss some of the other important issues, such as whether you can bring pets, what appliances come with your new location, and even be sure to ask the logistics of backing up your moving truck to the property.
Some places have noise/vehicle ordinances, and you don’t want to incur a fine before you’ve even stepped foot into your new place.
It’s Your Move!
Whether you’re making the move from Sonoma County (that’s just about half an hour down 101 from San Francisco) or all the way across the country, it’s time to make your move.
Let us help!
Click here and give us a little bit of information.
You can tell us your planned move date, estimated move size, and where you’re coming from.
Don’t worry too much about the details, this is just a little bit of an introduction and a connection. We’re experts in helping people moving to San Francisco and we look forward to helping you prepare for this next adventure!