15 Tips for Simplifying Your Apartment Move

15 Tips for Simplifying Your Apartment Move

Moving into a new apartment is undoubtedly exciting. However, the process can also be stressful. Once you start preparing to move, you may realize you have more belongings and less free time than you thought. 

Don’t fret – we know moving takes careful planning and thorough organization. We’ve compiled a list of 15 tips for simplifying your apartment move to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Whether you opt for a DIY move or hire a professional moving service, these hacks will help you kick off your new chapter right. 

Keep reading for tips on

  • Simplifying the packing process
  • Preparing for unexpected expenses
  • Organizing your belongings
  • Updating addresses and service providers

15 Moving Tips for Apartment Living

Whether it’s your first apartment or an upgrade, these 15 tips will make moving day a breeze. We’ll tee up how to plan, purge, and pack like a pro so you can start enjoying your new space sooner.

Budget for Extra Fees

Moving will generally cost more than you expect, so it’s best to budget ahead of time. Apart from the expenses included in your new lease – such as the security deposit, pet rent, and amenities fees – you’ll likely incur additional costs for supplies, services, and last-minute cleanups. 

Even after settling in your new home, you’ll need to purchase a renters insurance policy and pay utility setup fees, too. The best way to avoid running low on cash or panicking over an added fee is to prepare for the unexpected. With some savings on hand for unexpected costs, you’ll have a smoother, less stressful move.

You aren’t alone if you’re concerned about your financial capacity for the move. Here are eight charities that help with moving costs.

Host an Apartment Yard Sale

Moving a massive load of items is undoubtedly more challenging and laborious than the alternative. Simplify your apartment move by downsizing your load ahead of time.

This tip is crucial for an easy move – especially if you’re moving into a space smaller than your current apartment. Before packing boxes, declutter everything from clothes and books to decor and furniture. Decluttering reduces the number of things you have to move while saving you loads of effort when unpacking.

Don’t just throw things in the dumpster; instead, sell items in good condition to make some extra cash before moving. We suggest holding an apartment yard sale to purge things you no longer use. If you’re moving out of an apartment, the chances are that you don’t have an actual yard. Don’t sweat – online platforms like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace make selling items locally a breeze.

Take clear pictures of for-sale items and post them online at reasonable prices. You’ll be shocked by the extra cash you rake in just by decluttering.

Donate Items Ahead of Time

You probably won’t sell all your unwanted items, and that’s OK. You can donate your leftover belongings to charity.

Stash old clothes, linens, books, toys, and decor in clean boxes. Be sure to label the box “donate” or “charity” so you don’t mix it up with things you intend to keep. You can donate secondhand furniture to stores like Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity. Even pieces that are a little scuffed up will be a thrifter’s dream.

If you don’t have a way to deliver your items to a charity, you can look up local pickups and drop boxes in your community. Here are five charities that pick up donations for free. 

File Your Change of Address

Don’t forget to file your address change.

Changing your address simplifies your moving transition for a couple of reasons. First, it helps ensure packages and mail forward to your new address. It also launches the process of updating items like your driver’s license and credit cards.

USAGov suggests updating your address with the following institutions, if applicable:

  • The post office
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Your state’s DMV
  • Your state’s election office

If you’re trying to change your address with a postal service, you must provide your old address, new address, anticipated move-in date, and housing type. The post office will charge you for the update, but it’s not expensive. For example, the U.S. Postal Service charges a $1.10 service fee for address changes.

Update Service Providers

Notifying service providers of your move is a crucial step in the process. 

Call your internet service provider, electric company, and cable provider to request a transfer to your new address. If you forget to do this, you’ll likely spend the first few nights in your new space without electricity or WiFi. Schedule your transfers or new services at least a month before your move. Then, confirm the service dates in the week leading up to your move-in.

Remember to cancel with your current provider if you’re transferring your utilities to a new company. The last thing you want is a bill for services you no longer use. 

Hire Movers in Advance

Book your moving service well in advance if you plan to hire professional movers. Scheduling at least a month before your move increases your likelihood of getting the moving date, services, and prices you want. 

Aim to prepare a complete home inventory list approximately eight weeks before the move. This will keep you on track during the planning process and lead to more accurate quotes. You’ll also have more time to assess quotes before booking a service.

Before picking the first company you see, read provider reviews to find the best moving company for your needs. You can search for services tailored to long-distance travel, pet transportation, local moves, and more.

Plan Your Move Ahead of Time

Once you’ve completed your move’s technical requirements, it’s time to plan the actual move-in day. For this step, we suggest compiling a thorough moving checklist before you even start packing.

Here are some checklist items to include two weeks before your move:

  • Confirm times and locations with the moving company (or friends and family you’ve recruited)
  • Make sure your car is ready for the drive
  • Pack non-essential items like decorations, books, and out-of-season clothing
  • Prepare an overnight bag for your first night
  • Purge your fridge and pantry of perishables 
  • Thoroughly clean your current space, spackle dents/holes, vacuum up pet hair, and wipe down the fridge.
  • Try to gauge how many trips the move will take and how to pack items the most efficiently

Start the Packing Process Early

Packing ahead is key to avoiding stress and chaos during your move. Waiting until the last minute to start packing sets you up for disorganization, broken items, and a painful unpacking process.

We suggest kicking off your packing project at least two weeks before move-in day. If you’re downsizing from a house to an apartment, you’ll probably need more time to declutter, organize, and ensure your belongings are well-packed

You don’t have to have everything in boxes a month before your move; instead, dedicate time each day to the project. Start by assessing which items you use least frequently and pack those first. Leave everyday items like toiletries and undergarments unpacked until the day before your move.

Organize by Room or Area

Organize your move by packing one room or space at a time. If you’re having trouble knowing where to start, this is the perfect way to dive into the process.

Start with items you already have packed away, such as holiday decorations or out-of-season clothes. Then, move to a space like your living room and organize decor items, books, blankets, and electronics. You could also start in the kitchen to get fragile items out of the way. Pack up dishes, glasses, and silverware, but leave a few pieces to use until the move. 

Remember to label your moving boxes in detail, no matter which room you start or finish with. The more specific, the better for this process; consider organizing items by room, function, and the order you plan to move them.

Pack Smarter

Packing smarter means organizing items to make the moving and unpacking processes easier. It also means spending less on unnecessary packing supplies you’ll throw away after the move.

Avoid heaps of leftover packing materials by using things you already have. Save money on bubble wrap and packing peanuts by cushioning fragile items with socks or towels. You’ll make use of linens you have to move anyway while protecting breakable belongings. Plus, you’ll execute eco-friendly moving practices with little effort.

Simplify Moving Your Clothes

Another way to pack smart is to leave items where they are, if possible.

Your clothes are likely on hangers or in drawers, which are perfect moving containers. Leave items in dressers to avoid needlessly packing and unpacking folded clothes into boxes. The clothes may become jumbled and unfolded during the ride, but you’ll still avoid reorganizing them into their designated drawers. 

Don’t remove clothes from their hangers for the move. This is usually unnecessary and takes a lot of extra time. Instead, leave items on hangers and slide a trash bag over a pile of them. Cut a small opening in the bottom of the bag and pull the hanger hooks through. You’ll have an easy-to-grab bundle of clothes protected from dust and grime.

Keep Frequently Used Items Handy

You’ll likely be exhausted once the hustle and bustle of the move passes. The last thing you’ll want to do is dig through boxes to find your toothbrush.

Avoid this frustration by preparing a travel bag for your move. You’ll have your items at your new place, but they may be carefully packed away and difficult to access. We suggest packing frequently used items in a suitcase for an easily movable, compact overnight bag.

Pack these things for a simplified move:

  • Cleaning supplies (wipes, dish soap, etc.)
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, etc.)
  • Roll of toilet paper
  • A couple of dishes (preferably plastic)
  • Your favorite on-the-go snack and a bottle of water
  • Container of pet food and your buddy’s favorite toy

Be Gracious of Free Help

Recruiting friends and family members to help you move is an excellent way to save money. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your items will be handled with care by people you trust. However, remember that professional movers charge premium fees for the service your friends are doing for free. 

For this reason, plan to pay them in some form or fashion. Consider buying your helpers a meal at some point during the project. Or, get everyone a gift card to their favorite spot. If your friends use their own vehicles to move your stuff, pay them back for gas and mileage.

No matter what, make sure your friends and family members know their help is greatly appreciated.

Report Pre-Existing Damages

Before you start shifting boxes, hanging pictures, and dragging furniture, walk through your new apartment to assess for any pre-existing damage. 

You should:

  • Check the walls for scuffs and dents
  • See if the appliances operate properly
  • Check light switches and power outlets
  • Ensure windows and doors lock
  • Look around for pests and mold

If you find any problems or damage from the last tenant, notify your apartment building’s management company immediately. You want to do this before you start unpacking to avoid looking like the culprit. Plus, if you don’t notify management, you may get charged for damage when you move out.

Take a Breather

You’ve moved every last box into your new space and handed the keys back to your old landlord. Now, it’s time to unpack and get settled. 

We recommend taking the unpacking process at your own pace. There’s no rush to get everything unloaded the day after your move. Approach the unpacking process as you did the packing one – dedicate a little time each day to set up different areas of your new home. This approach helps you stay organized and avoid getting overwhelmed. 

As you settle in and have some unpacking under your belt, take time to learn about your new community. Check out nearby retailers selling home decor and organization tools. More importantly, explore the area to locate nearby pharmacies, grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and veterinarian clinics.

Unloading and setting up are the only parts of the moving process. Becoming a connected community member is your next step to happy apartment living.

Final Thoughts

With these tips in mind, you’re sure to have a successful, efficient move.

Once you’ve unpacked and settled in your new home, you can start enjoying all the perks apartment living has to offer. If your apartment community has amenities, use them! You’re paying for access to the swimming pool, gym, and dog park, so make the most of your stay. You might even consider throwing a housewarming party to show your new digs to friends and family.

With the move behind you and relaxation ahead, your apartment will feel like home in no time.

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