Moving is one of life’s most stressful events. It’s not easy to face change while you look for a new apartment and plan a fresh start. No matter how old you are, if you’re moving into a new apartment for the first time, knowing what to expect and what you can do before, during and after the move will reduce your stress.
Before Move-In Day
Leasing agents are there to help before, during and after a move. They often provide move-in packets to their soon-to-be new tenants, with a to-do list to complete before move-in day. You will need to:
- File a change of address with your post office. You can pick up a change of address form in person or do it online — there is a $1 charge to file with USPS online.
- Make plans after you’ve signed your lease to change the address on your driver’s license with the DMV.
- Contact electric, cable and Internet services providers for your apartment complex to set up new service at least a week before you move in.
- Call for moving estimates as soon as you have a move-in date. Make the pickup time after your appointment to sign your lease and pick up your keys.
- Take care of banking. You’ll need to get cashier’s checks for your rent and deposit.
- Call your insurance agent to set up an apartment renter’s insurance policy.
Moving requires a lot of physical effort, and you will be worn out by the end of the day — but it doesn’t have to be stressful, too. Much of the stress and discomfort comes from change and the fear of uncertainty. The more details you take care of before you move, the fewer worries and distractions there will be to make you feel unsettled.
Tips to Organize Move-In Day
Be proactive in preparing for your move. Also, don’t be afraid to ask friends or family members to help you understand what you need to take care of or help you on moving day. Often, when we get a handle on the details, we get a handle on what is making us feel overwhelmed. There are lots of packing checklists online to help you figure out the things you’ll need. The tips below will make moving in run smoothly:
- Set up an apartment binder. Buy clear tabbed dividers, preferably with pockets, and use them to file your lease, resident guidebook, utility information, the names of neighbors and their phone numbers, local restaurants, pizza delivery, take out, etc. Write down apartment management and maintenance phone numbers on an index card and put it right in the front of the binder or on the fridge.
- Sign your lease early in the day so you can pick up your keys as soon as possible.
- Make a Toolkit. Include a cordless drill — smaller ones for women are available, hammer, screwdriver, picture hangers, felt pads for furniture, super glue, tape measure, a small and large flashlight and batteries.
- Pack up these three boxes so you can function no matter how long it takes to finish moving and settling in:
- Cleaning Box: Broom, dustpan, vacuum, cleaning supplies and laundry soap. You’ll also need a couple of rolls of paper towels and trash bags. Take a few minutes to get rid of any dust before you carry your first load of boxes over the threshold.
- Kitchen Box: Fill it with paper plates and bowls, plastic utensils, napkins, styrofoam and plastic cups, a coffee maker, coffee, sugar, milk, cereal and snacks. Paper, pens, markers, tape and scissors can come in handy, too.
- Bedroom Box: Fill it towels, washcloths, a shower curtain — include rings and liner, toilet paper, sheets and a pillow. Bring a couple of changes of clothes, pajamas and toiletries. At the end of the day when you’re tired, you won’t have to pick through boxes to find your toothbrush and PJs.
- Refrigerate bottled water and drinks for you and your helpers. Make sure your refrigerator is on and set at the right temperature.
- Designate an area, such as a kitchen island or countertop, and put a bright plastic bin there. Put anything in it that you don’t want to lose track of, such as your phone, apartment binder, medications, purse, wallet, etc. If you take things out, be sure to put them back.
- Make room labels that correspond to moving box labels, such as “kitchen,” “bedroom 1,” “bathroom 1” etc. Tape them at the entrance to the appropriate rooms. Movers will know where to put things and finish the move more quickly.
- Make it a priority to set up your kitchen and bedroom. If you can cook, clean up and dress for work, there’s no pressure to keep unpacking boxes once you get tired.
- Invest in clear storage containers in one size for things you will store. See-through bins are easy to stack in closets and find what you need.
- Make notes of anything you find that doesn’t work or looks damaged around your apartment as you unpack and put things away. Call your leasing agent to discuss any concerns.
- Find your fuse box panel. If you have blown a fuse, you’ll know where to find it.
- Have cash on hand to tip the movers, buy pizza for everyone and tip the delivery driver, and to pay for items someone else might pick up for you.
Your First Night in a New Apartment
Your organizing has paid off. The move went well, and the right boxes are in the right rooms, ready for unpacking. Your family and friends have gone home. Your purse or wallet and other personal items are still together in the bin on the island, even though you can’t see them through the sea of paper and boxes. You’re not sure if you feel tired or overwhelmed, or a little of both. But being able to shower, change clothes and brush your teeth makes you feel at home.
Every building makes noises. Once you know them, you’ll stop noticing them. The same is true of the sounds you hear coming from the apartments around you. Remember that as you go to sleep. You may live alone, but you are not alone. New friends are only steps away.
We’re only steps away, too. Don’t hesitate to give us a call and let us know how we can help!