Remote Move-Outs: A How-To Guide From Uncle Marty’s

So, your Ithaca apartment’s lease is ending and you must move out … but you’re stuck in another part of the world under stay-at-home orders and afraid your property manager might throw out all of your stuff. What do you do?

Many students are in the same boat right now. When the pandemic struck and local universities encouraged their student bodies to leave town, many tenants didn’t have the opportunity to pack up all of their stuff before they left; many just took a suitcase or two and left the rest of their possessions behind in their apartments to be dealt with later.

Well, it’s later now and leases are ending. Some local property managers are going out of their way to help their tenants and are having their maintenance and cleaning staff assist in packing up and cleaning out, understanding that this unprecedented situation has left many desperate and without other options. But other property managers aren’t able to help.

You may be surprised by how many students are still in Ithaca, choosing to shelter in place here instead of going back to their hometowns for the quarantine. So, you likely still have friends around that could help. Reach out on your favorite social platform to see who’s available—or knows someone available—and could use some extra money and exercise packing up your stuff and cleaning out your apartment. We recommend using a friend, or at least a trusted friend of a friend.

Your friend’s job is simple: get some boxes (Uncle Marty’s sells 50+ sizes, if needed), go to your apartment, FaceTime you to see what goes and what stays, pack up your stuff, and then put the packed boxes somewhere easily accessible for a shipping or storage company (like Uncle Marty’s) to pick them up. If there are items you don’t want to ship or store, have your friend put them in a separate box marked “donate.” Have them throw out or give away all liquids, as having liquids in shipping or storage boxes is a very bad idea. Then, your friend is done and the shipping or storage company can deal directly with you to handle the rest.

We can’t speak for all shipping and storage companies, but at Uncle Marty’s we’re very glad to work with your or your friend’s schedule to find a time to pick up the packed boxes and then either ship them to you or store them until the fall when you hope to return to Ithaca; we’re also glad to take your box of donated goods and find them a good home.

If you’re stuck and have exhausted every avenue and contact—friends, friends of friends, property managers, property maintenance staff, etc.— to find someone to help you pack up your stuff, reach out to us at Uncle Marty’s and we’ll see what we can do. We generally don’t offer in-apartment packing service, as this time of year our team is already overextended with regular move-out pickups for our shipping and storage services. However, we don’t like to leave a desperate person hanging and, on a case-by-case basis, may be able to make a rare exception for people who need our shipping and/or storage services and have no other option to get their stuff packed up.

We hope you find a solution to moving out when you can’t be here physically do to it yourself. This is a situation like we’ve never seen before and calls for creative problem solving.

The best way to reach the team at Uncle Marty’s is by emailing For more information on our storage services, visit For shipping information, reach out via email and we’ll be glad to provide a quote, though in general shipping a typical large box measuring 24x18x18 and weighing 50 pounds can be anywhere from $55+ to east coast or $145+ to west coast; over 50 pounds can be $90+ to east coast or 170+ to west coast, depending on weight, size, destination type, destination area, and other rating factors.

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