Updated: Aug 26, 2021
It’s that time of year again - time to renew your lease. But if you aren't happy with your current apartment, you might be having second thoughts. Is it time to find something new?
Moving is rarely a smooth process. It seems like no matter how much you prepare, there’s always something that you’ve forgotten. Not to worry - we’ve assembled this checklist to help you get organized in your new apartment. Once the last box is unloaded, follow these steps for a stress-free move.
Make a Budget
Whether you’re moving out for the first time or you’ve lived on your own for years, it’s important to learn how to juggle your finances.
Wondering how to put together the perfect budget? Here are a few tips for you: Start with the raw numbers; add up the income you make in a month and the expenses you pay. It might help to plot it on a calendar so you know which days you get paid, and which days you are paying.
When tallying your expenses, be sure to factor in all your costs. Think about utility bills, credit card payments, and groceries. You might want to overestimate your expenses slightly so that you’ll have a bit of wiggle room.
We recommend setting aside an emergency fund. Try to save around 20% of your income for unexpected expenses. You can’t predict the future, but you can predict that unforeseen things are sure to happen. Aim to save up enough to cover a few months of rent.
Arrange Your Utility Bills
If you forgot to set up the internet, you won’t want to delay any longer. We rely on Wi-Fi for practically everything these days.
Review the details of the lease to find out what you need to pay for. Make note of:
And while we’re on the subject, make sure to pay your first month’s rent if you haven’t already! You may need to set up your payment information on the property manager’s website.
Find a Method to the Madness
Everywhere you look, you see boxes stacked a mile high—the idea of organizing them seems impossible. You’re also realizing that you have a bit less space than you anticipated.
If you start unpacking at random and put things wherever you find space, you’ll kick yourself for it later. It’s challenging to find where any of your belongings are when they aren’t organized cohesively.
A few storage hacks for the limited space could include:
Using furniture with built-in storage
Storing things under the bed
Buying stackable storage bins
If all else fails, you can always rent a storage unit. This will allow you to store belongings you can’t part with without cluttering up your apartment.
We all hope that our new apartment will be spotless when we arrive. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.
Break out the cleaning supplies and sanitize a few areas that need extra attention—places like the toilet, doorknobs, and the light switches. Even though it’s a bit of extra work, you’ll feel more comfortable knowing that these areas are 100% clean.
Be Mindful of Your Neighbors
There’s a lot to do on moving day. If you’re the type of person who wants to get everything done at once, you might be tempted to unpack into the wee hours of the night. But there’s something—or someone—you need to consider: your neighbor.
You’ll be sharing a building with your neighbors for the foreseeable future, so you want to start off on the right foot. Stepping on their toes means you might be dealing with awkward encounters whenever you share an elevator or meet in the hallway.
Try to keep noise levels down once late evening approaches. You’ll always have tomorrow to finish unpacking.
Adjust the Thermostat
Now that you’re officially moved into the apartment, you’re responsible for paying for it. This usually includes the heating and cooling costs, too. So, if the thermostat is dialed way too high, turn it down! Find a temperature that you’re comfortable with (and that you can afford). Once you have set the thermostat, pay attention to the airflow. If you hear any strange noises or notice any issues, let your building manager know ASAP.
Your new apartment won’t feel like home until it’s personalized with your belongings. However, you might want to pause before hammering nails into the wall—doing so can cost you your security deposit. You can personalize your home damage-free by changing the curtains or applying removable wallpaper.
If you do want to hang a few posters or portraits, try Command hooks instead of nails. These adhesive strips attach to your walls without lifting paint when it comes time to remove them.
It’s amazing what something as simple as a new rug can do to make your space feel like home!
Test All Appliances & Fixtures
If something in the apartment is broken, it’s best to make note of it before you’re settled in. That way, the landlord knows that the problem existed before you arrived.
Start by doing a walkthrough of the apartment. In each room, you can test the following:
Bathroom: check the drains, hot and cold faucets, the toilet, and the showerhead.
Kitchen: try out the sink, the oven, the dishwasher, and the fridge/freezer
General areas: inspect the drawers, closets, and electrical plugs
When you find things that need repairs or see signs of a pest infestation, take photos. Documentation is key; pictures will prove your case if the building manager tries to dispute it.
Change Your Mailing Address
This step is almost too easy to forget. If you’ve ever received mail or food service delivered to the wrong location, then you know how important it is to update your address. Unfortunately, many people who've moved learn this lesson the hard way.
When you’re switching apartments, it’s important to change your mailing address on any relevant accounts. This includes your bank, subscription services, employer, school, and healthcare provider.
If this is your first time living in an apartment, you’ll notice all the things you’re missing pretty quickly. This tends to happen at the least convenient times; for example, when you remember you need a baking pan after making the cookie dough.
Some of your belongings may have been damaged in the move. Replacing something you already bought is annoying, but necessary in some cases. While you’re out, stock up on quick and easy meals that you can eat while you unpack.
Sign Up for Tenant Insurance
Have you ever wondered what might happen if someone were to burglarize your apartment or fire were to start? Renters insurance offers you peace of mind in these unexpected situations. It tends to be pretty affordable, too—most plans are $10-$20 a month.
Unpack the Essentials
As the day draws to a close, you can sum up how you feel with one word: exhausted. You aren’t halfway done unpacking, and you’re back at work bright and early tomorrow.
But if you don’t find a few essential items, you’ll be scrambling for them in the morning. Hopefully, you remembered to label the boxes as you packed them—more often than not, this step gets missed.
If you have the time (and the energy), locate some of the following items before you head to bed:
Bathroom staples (toothbrush, shower supplies, towels, and hair products)
Perishable items, like milk or raw meat
A set of clothes and pajamas
Your cell phone charger
A pillow and blanket
Try to think of anything else you might need before you call it a day—you’ll thank yourself for it later.
It’s not easy to keep track of everything you need to do after moving day. Just thinking about the process can be overwhelming. With the above checklist, you can stay on top of all the tasks you need to do and phone calls you need to make after moving in.
When you’re renting an apartment, you’re tasked with a lot of responsibility. At Apartments Near Me, we focus on helping renters find the perfect place to call home. Contact us if you’re looking for an available and affordable suite in your area.