Everything you need to know to prepare to move into your first apartment.
Moving into your first apartment is one of the most exciting things you’ll do but it can also be super overwhelming. It isn’t unusual to want to start preparing early but not know where to start.
This list contains 12 things I wish I’d known before moving into my first apartment. After signing my lease I was desperate to prepare, but I wasn’t sure what to do or where to start, so I ended up leaving pretty much EVERYTHING until the last minute. If I had known these 12 tips my move would have been a lot smoother.
Tips for Moving into Your First Apartment
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Before you move
1. Say goodbye to unwanted items
It may seem obvious but decluttering is essential before moving into a new home; you don’t want to be packing and carrying things you’ll soon dispose of. If you are moving into your first apartment you’re probably going to want to buy a lot of new pieces, so be ruthless with what you say goodbye to.
Sell unwanted items on sites like eBay, Vinted and Depop. But remember items can take a long time to sell on these sites, so get them listed soon and have a backup plan for if they don’t sell.
2. Get free boxes
Moving boxes are expensive, so start thinking about getting them early. Ask friends or family if they have any you can borrow. You’ll be surprised how many people keep hold of them.
When you are out shopping ask staff if they have any you can take away. Or ask friends that work in retail to keep hold of some for you.
Top Tip: when you are in a supermarket lookout for staff replenishing the crisp aisles. The boxes are usually really big and flatpack down nicely. Ideal for moving house.
3. Budget, budget, budget
Try to avoid purchasing anything for your new place before you have defined your budget. If you have saved and signed for your first apartment you probably already understand how a budget works and the importance of one.
Having a budget for furnishing your new home is ESSENTIAL because it can get expensive very quickly. Hopefully, you have saved and know how much you can afford to spend upfront. This will help you define what items you can go ahead and buy and which ones can wait.
Work out how much disposable income you will have each month after you have paid your new monthly bills. This will give you a clearer idea of when your apartment will be fully furnished. This will help you decide whether you need to stop and save more money before you move in.
Top Tip: keep your budget breakdown on your phone so that it is always with you. This will help control impulse purchases you might be tempted to make for your new home.
4. Buy smart & invest well
Your first home is probably not going to be your forever home. Keep this in mind when you are shopping for your new apartment. As you move to different homes your needs will change as well as the available space meaning your furniture may need to change to suit.
Invest in items you know you will always need and will last you a lifetime. Save on items that may not.
Items to invest in:
- A good hoover
- Small appliances i.e. kettle, coffee machine, iron
- Kitchen utensils, pots & pans, knives and chopping boards
Items to save on:
- Dining table
- Window dressing
- Wardrobe and drawers
For More First Apartment Tips
67 First Apartment Kitchen Essentials
5. Wait to buy
Try to resist the temptation to buy furniture before moving in. Remember your new apartment doesn’t need to be picture-perfect on day one. Trust me, this will help you save money. Unless you have a floor plan with exact measurements it is risky to buy furniture until you have the keys. Try to focus on only buying the bare essentials before moving in like a bed and things you need to cook a meal.
You’ll get a much better understanding of what you ACTUALLY need when you are in the space and you have spent a little time there.
There are so many items I thought I would need that I just didn’t.
Things I’m glad I didn’t buy:
- 4 dining chairs- I thought I’d have space for 4 chairs around my table.
- A mop- I genuinely thought I needed a fancy mop but my apartment is so small I can clean the floors in seconds with a floor wipe. A mop would have just taken up storage space that I don’t have.
- A toaster- I thought every home had to have a toaster, but the oven in my apartment has a grill, so for me, a toaster just isn’t necessary.
6. Do the boring stuff
Researching broadband and energy providers is dull, so get the research and supplier checks out the way before moving in.
It can take a long time for installation so check with your chosen suppliers what the wait time is. It may be essential to get things booked before your moving in date. Otherwise, you could be without broadband for months like I was.
7. Find those codes
This is another tip that probably seems obvious but is easy to forget. Make sure you know all the access codes for your complex. This will help you avoid wasting time calling your landlord to try and find them out.
8. Pack smart
I was so relaxed with my packing and didn’t consider just how exhausting it would be to move everything into a second-floor apartment. So if you are like me and cannot afford a removal company, pack smart! Make use of EVERY bit of available space and evenly distribute weight.
Label everything and be specific! You won’t want to be sifting through 10 boxes labelled ‘kitchen’ looking for a pizza cutter after a long day of moving.
Colour code your boxes based on their importance. Choose one colour for boxes containing items you will likely need to unpack soon such as cutlery and shampoo. Choose another colour for boxes that aren’t so important like clothes accessories and games.
Top tip: If you are taking furniture with you, buy sandwich bags. As you dismantle a piece of furniture pop the screws into a bag and label it with the piece of furniture it is from. And if the furniture is a particuarly tricky piece to build take some pictures as you dismantle it. It will make reassembling much easier.
9. Prepare an essentials box
Buy a good selection of cleaning products before you pick up your keys. I wish someone had told me this because it felt like such a waste of time having to go to the supermarket and hunt for everything I needed.
What you will likely need:
- Anti-bacterial spray
- Lots of cloths
- Floor cleaner/ wipes
- Bin bags
- Carpet cleaner
- Glass cleaner
Think about other things you will need/ want during the day of your move. I cannot live without a cup of coffee so a kettle was essential for me.
What to pack in your essentials box:
- Loo roll
- Hand soap
- Hand towel
- Something to stay hydrated with
- Some lunch and snacks
- A radio/ speaker
On the Day of Your Move
10. Complete an inventory & take meter readings
Before you bring anything into your new apartment make sure you complete an inventory. Don’t wait for an inventory to be sent to you by your new landlord. Inspect the property straight away and take lots of photos. Note down any issues or imperfections you see and take photographs of them. This will be so much easier to do before you start unloading boxes.
11. Move things logically
If you have followed tip number 8 and packed up your items smartly, you should easily be able to identify what is in each box. When you bring these into your new apartment make sure to put them in the right room. This may seem obvious now but it is so easy to forget or not care when you are doing all the heavy lifting. Keep high-priority boxes to the front and not-so-important boxes to the back.
Moving house is exhausting so don’t forget to rest. Set an alarm to remind you to stop for lunch and dinner. In all the excitement it can be easy to forget.