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7 things to do when moving into a new apartment
Congratulations! You’ve moved into your new apartment… now what?
You’ve put in countless hours of effort to make this move possible. You’ve talked to your old landlord. You’ve packed up all your belongings. You’ve chosen a moving service or roped your friends into helping you. You’ve loaded up the truck, dropped off your belongings and (hopefully) had a nice meal with your friends or family. So, you stand in your home with your hands on your hips and a contented sigh. But… what should you do next?
1. Give it a once-over
When you were lugging boxes up the stairs, you were probably focused on not dropping anything (and not hurting yourself!)
Here are some things to look for:
- Damage to your apartment. Make a quick check to make sure there’s no damage in the place. If there is, you’ll want to make sure you let your landlord know right away. This is key to making sure you get your security deposit back when you move out. A good rule of thumb is to document and take pictures right away.
- Damage to your stuff. Hopefully, nothing was broken during your move, but now is a good time to check. You don’t want to be surprised later on!
- Make sure you have everything. Take a quick inventory. Does it look like you have all your furniture and boxes? You don’t want to send everyone away only to realize you have no idea where your bed is!
Ok, I know what you’re thinking! “There is SO much to unpack! How do I even get started?!”
Well, you’re right — and you’re wrong. After you’ve lugged (or supervised all the lugging of) your boxes into your new place, you’re probably tired and possibly a bit overwhelmed. The prospect of unpacking all your boxes is probably daunting. There’s no urgency to unpack all of them now, but there are a few you should take care of sooner rather than later.
Here are some things you should prioritize:
- Bedroom. You’re going to want to be comfortable your first night in your new place, so make sure you label a box with all of the bedding and essentials you’ll need for your first sleep. Be sure to put that box to the side when you’re bringing items into your bedroom so you’ll have easy access to it when it’s time to hit the hay. A good night’s sleep with your familiar sheets, pillows, and blankets (and maybe your trusty stuffed elephant) will help refresh you from a long day of moving and start you off on the right foot for the next day, when another round of heavy work may be called for.
- Bathroom. We’re going to be blunt here. This is a room in your new apartment that you (and your guests) will need early and often. We suggest you have someone set the bathroom up with supplies as soon as possible (even before your movers/friends converge on the space, if you can). Be sure to stock the bathroom with toilet paper, soap, towels, and anything else you think you or your guests will need in order to use it comfortably. After all, you don’t want to be running down to the McDonalds every time you need to take care of business, do you?
- Kitchen. For some, this is the most important room in the house, and it’s a good idea to give it some TLC as soon as you can. You may not need to take out every juicer or donut-maker that you packed away, but you should set up your kitchen to serve you and your moving team for at least basic needs. Make sure there are plenty of cups for anyone who needs to hydrate. Fill the fridge or cabinets with handy snacks and breakfast options, so you’ll be able to start your first morning in your new place with a nice meal. If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, you should also set yourself up to enjoy your favorite beverage in the morning so you’ll be ready to tackle the world — and get on with the rest of the unpacking.
3. Arrange your furniture
It may be hard to think of your potentially chaotic and busy move as a unique opportunity — but bear with us here. Once you’re settled into your home, the task of rearranging or moving furniture becomes more complicated. It can be daunting to lift and move the furniture, and when it’s already laid out, getting it in a new arrangement is disruptive and frustrating.
Can you see where we’re going with this? Now is the best time to arrange your furniture in a logical manner. You’ve got plenty of extra muscle to help you. You’ve got a clean slate to start with, and you’ve got the chance to analyze your empty space and make a calm, informed decision. Think about the placement of the following:
- Your bed. Think about the windows, the door, and the placement of your dressers. You spend a lot of time in bed, and you want your sleep to be restful, so taking care of its placement is key.
- Your TV. Be sure to think about your windows when you place your TV. You don’t want its picture flushed out by morning or evening light. Also, think about where you’ll be placing your couch in relation to the TV, so it’s not too close and not too far.
- Your home office. If you’re going to set up a workspace, there are a few things to keep in mind. You’ll want your desk out of the way, so others aren’t disrupting you when you’re trying to do your work, but you’ll also want to be close enough to light and electrical outlets so you won’t have an inconvenient setup for your computer and other equipment.
- Find yourself missing a few key pieces of furniture? You can always buy new — or find something on the cheap from OfferUp, Craigslist, and the like. There are also a growing number of new online furniture rental companies.
4. Check your utilities
You undoubtedly had a LOT of items on the “to-do” list you made before your move. We’re sure you had the foresight to talk to either your landlord — if they handle this sort of thing for you — or the utility companies themselves to set up your electricity, heat, internet, and any other services you’ll need.
Getting all of this straightened out ahead of time was smart! But now that you’re in your space, you want to make sure that everything has been taken care of.
First, you’ll want to check your electricity. Try any overhead lights in your apartment and choose an electrical appliance (say, a lamp) to test out your outlets. Familiarize yourself with any outlets that may be operated with a switch and make sure you know where to find any circuit breakers or fuses that you may need now or in the future. If you’re having trouble with your electricity, you should either contact your landlord or the power company and get it resolved right away.
Depending on the season and outside temperature, you may not feel the need to use your heat or air conditioning right away, but you want to test them out and make sure they work properly. That way, when you DO need them, you won’t be unpleasantly surprised. Once again, reach out to your landlord if anything is amiss and get these matters taken care of as soon as possible.
Heat and electricity have always been seen as vital utilities, but in this day and age, the Internet is essential for communication, learning, and fun. Be sure to set up your modem and router as soon as you can and test your wired and wireless connections. This way, you can jump online and order pizza if you need it or post some great photos of your new place to make your Facebook friends jealous. If you have problems, well, guess what? Get in touch with your landlord or Internet provider to resolve your issues and get back to surfing the web.
5. Meet and Greet
Hopefully, you were quiet and respectful as you moved into your new place. That way, you’ll have made a good impression on your new neighbors. Once you’ve moved all your stuff in, it’s a good idea to take some time and formally introduce yourself to them.
Start with your immediate neighbors. Knock on their doors (be sure to do so at a time that’s not too late or not too early!) and introduce yourself. Keep it short and sweet, but get their names, give them yours, and make plans to say hello or have a pleasant conversation down the road. You may not become best friends with them, but it’s good to develop a relationship. It could pay off down the road.
6. Wrap things up at your old place
As you moved into your new place, you might have already put your old place in the (figurative and literal) rear-view mirror. But now is a good time to make sure you’ve taken care of all the details at your old apartment. Find out if you need to do a final walkthrough with your old landlord. Make sure they got the keys that you dropped off. And find out when you’ll expect to get your security deposit back. Talk to your old landlord to see if they have any questions for you, and take the time to ask them any you may have.
You did it!
Okay, okay. You’re not done yet. For most people, the unpacking and settling process can take days or weeks (or more, if you’re the kind of person who finds that one random box of stuff in your closet months after you thought you’d unpacked everything). But, all things considered, you’ve done a LOT. Moving is difficult and stressful, but you nailed it! Sure, you’ve still got a lot to do, but you should be proud of your accomplishment. Take a few minutes to bask in your victory. Walk around your new place. Take a few photos. Post some triumphant messages on social media. Order a pizza or have a beer with your friends and family. There will be plenty of time to unpack the rest of your boxes and explore the neighborhood further. For now, take a beat, pat yourself on the back and enjoy your new home!
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