There are few things more exciting than moving to your very first apartment! Whether you're signing a lease or closing on a purchase, moving to a new pad gives you the freedom to decorate and design a home that fully represents you. Before packing up your things though, be aware that moving to a first apartment comes with a great deal of responsibilities. For helpful first apartment tips, as well as a list of what you'll need to make your place feel like home, read our advice below. Good luck and happy moving!
Tips for Moving to Your First Apartment
- Figure out your mail situation – Does your apartment building have a community mailbox center where you pick up your mail? Or does your individual apartment have its own mail slot in the door? Does a doorman store packages when you're away? Or will you need to ask a neighbor to pick them up? You'll also want to check to see if mail and packages are left outside your building. If they are, you may want to consider setting up a PO Box. These types of mailboxes are located inside of a post office, and are safe and secure. Many post office locations also offer extended business hours and 24-hour access to your mail. Read how to set up a PO Box when you move.
- Set up utilities –If you're buying your first apartment, you'll need to call all utility service providers a few weeks before the move to schedule installation dates and times for after you move in. Utilities include cable and internet, water and sewer, gas, electricity, satellite, security system, trash and phone. While some utility services can wait until a week or two after the move (think: cable and internet), others will need to be set up on moving day or even the day before (think: water, electricity and gas).
- Spruce up your entryway – Want to make a good first impression on friends and guests? Spruce up your entryway with wall hooks, baskets, organizational shelving, shoe racks, and/or umbrella stands. All of these entryway accessories give you a place to put your belongings while also making your apartment look neat and tidy.
- Purchase cleaning supplies – Give your apartment a good clean before moving furniture inside. Make sure to vacuum and mop all floors, dust surfaces, and clean bathrooms thoroughly. Don't forget to also pick up disinfectant wipes and spray, as well as vacuum bags and soap when purchasing supplies.
- Get an extra set of keys made – Don't forget to have an extra set of keys made for your apartment. Otherwise, you could find yourself locked out one of these days. It's a good idea to keep a set with a trusted friend or family member in case of emergencies.
- Purchase furniture – Before moving to your first apartment, be sure to take measurements of the rooms. This way, you can figure out whether your existing furniture fits or not. Most people moving to a first apartment will need to purchase at least a few basic pieces of furniture. If on a budget, try investing in a comfortable couch and bed. The rest can be found at consignment stores or local donation shops.
- Have an extra set of sheets and towels on hand – To avoid washing the same sheets and towels over and over again, have an extra set or two on hand. This will also come in handy if and when you decide to host guests in your apartment.
- Meet your neighbors – Living in an apartment means living in close quarters with others. To make the experience more pleasant, introduce yourself to the new neighbors after you move in. Not only will this give you a sense of community (and new friends!), but your neighbors will also greatly appreciate the gesture.
- Get a toolbox – If you haven't already, go ahead and purchase a tool box to bring with you to the new apartment. Even a small, portable one is better than nothing. Tool boxes should come with all of the wrenches, hammers and screwdrivers needed to hang wall decor, put together furniture and fix mishaps in the home. Of course, for the more difficult fixes, we suggest calling a qualified handyman. However, you and your handy toolbox should be able to handle basic modifications.
- Buy a plunger – It's a good idea to have a plunger on hand just in case the toilet begins to act up or overflow. Fortunately, purchasing a plunger won't cost you an arm and a leg. Plungers typically run anywhere from $5 to $20 and can be found at your local home improvement store.
- Change your address – When moving to your first apartment, remember to let your bank know as soon as possible. Be sure to update credit card information with your new billing address. Also, don't forget to let friends and family know you've moved. To ensure that you receive your mail, go tocom and choose the date you wish to begin forwarding your mail.
- Figure out trash pickup days – Since trash and recycling pickup days vary from city to city, make sure to ask neighbors for the details. You can also call your city's sanitation department for more information.
- Explore your neighborhood – Get out of the house and explore your new neighborhood! Walk, drive or bike around the area to get a good sense of where you are and what's around you. Make a point to locate nearby grocery stores, parks, schools, museums, libraries, hardware stores, hospitals and pharmacies. Discover more about your neighborhood through Moving.com's Neighborhood Guide.
Items you'll need for a first apartment
If you've been sharing an apartment with roommates or crashing with the parentals, you probably don't own enough furniture and home essentials to fill your new digs. From a proper mattress to a shower curtain liner, there are a number of items you'll need to add to your first apartment moving checklist. Thankfully, we're here to help. Even if you're just moving across the street, we know how time-consuming and stressful a first time move can be. Here's our list of basic necessities you'll need for your new home.
Your entryway is the first and last thing people will see in your new home. So whether it's small hallway or a grand foyer, keep it looking neat and tidy to guarantee a good first impression. Here are a few item recommendations for your entrance:
- Wall hooks for hanging coats, jackets, and dog leashes
- Umbrella stand or holder
- Basket, rack or other designated place for shoe storage
- Console table and mirror
- Round foyer table (for large entryway)
Living Area and Den
Your main living spaces are the most important (and often most utilized) places in your new home. Chances are good that you'll be spending a lot of time here, so make sure the space is comfortable and practical for your lifestyle. If you're planning to entertain or have guests over, you'll need to make sure you have plenty of seating and good lighting. Here are a few item recommendations for your living spaces:
- Couch or sectional
- Additional lounge seating (chairs, stools, futon etc)
- Coffee table or ottoman
- Lighting (lamps or standing lamp)
- Area rug
- TV and TV stand
- Picture frames
- Drapery or blinds
- Art, mirrors and decor
- Hanging hooks and tools
- Side tables
Similar to your living spaces, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home. If you're planning to cook, you'll need plenty of kitchenwares and tools. If you're also planning to entertain or eat dinner with your family, you'll need to have a set of table and chairs. Make sure to evaluate your real kitchen needs before wasting money on an excess number of plates, utensils and kitchen equipment. Here are a few item recommendations for your kitchen:
- Dishes and various size plates
- Cooking sheets and baking sheets
- Pots and pans (sauce pan and large pot)
- Tupperware or Pyrex
- Utensils and utensil tray
- Cutlery set (Butcher's knife, paring knife, utility knives, steak knives and bread slicing knife)
- Oven mitts
- Cups and glassware
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and measuring spoons
- Cereal bowls and soup bowls
- Coffee maker or Keurig machine
- Blender and/or food processor
- Peeler for vegetables and fruits
- Dish towels
- Dishwashing soap
- Toaster or toaster oven
- Tea kettle
- Salt & pepper shakers
- Shelf liners
- Trashcan and trash bags
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic wrap/cling wrap
- Pantry supplies
- Spice rack
The master bedroom should be your own private little sanctuary. Make sure you measure the room before investing in an expensive bed frame and accessories. Also, don't forget your closet! Depending on the size, you may need to purchase certain tools to maximize your closet storage. Here are a few item recommendations for your bedroom:
- Bed frame
- Mattress and mattress pad
- Bed sheets
- Duvet cover/duvet
- Bedside lamps
- Night stands/bedside dressers
- Dresser with drawers to hold clothes
- Full-length mirror
- Closet shelving
- Shoe storage
- Laundry hamper
- Drapery or blinds
- Clothing hangers
- Closet organizers
Don't forget your bathroom! It may be a small part of your house but it's an important one. Besides stocking the cabinets with toilet paper and cleaning supplies, you'll also want to make sure you have plenty of towels for yourself and for company. Here are a few other item recommendations for your bathroom:
- Shower curtain and liner
- Bath towels
- Hand towels
- Toothbrush holder
- Bath mat
- Vanity trays
- Seagrass baskets for holding towels
- Shower mirror
- Canisters for holding miscellaneous things
- Shower seat or stool
- Cleaning supplies
- Toilet paper
- Bath caddy
- Cosmetic organization trays and bags
- Cabinet storage shelving
Boost your work productivity by keeping your home office clean and tidy. Even if the rest of your house is a mess, your office should feel professional and pleasant. From your desk accessories to cozy seating, I also recommend making your work area as comfortable and practical as possible.
- Desk and desk chair
- Printer and scanner
- Writing tools
- Laptop and accessories
Important Miscellaneous Items
When you're moving to a first apartment, there are a bajillion things you're going to need – many of which are unexpected. To help you prepare for your move, we've listed a few often overlooked items you'll likely need. Many of these necessities you can find at large chain retailers, such as Target and Home Depot.
- Carbon monoxide detector
- Additional hooks
- Baskets and bins for storage
- Stools for closets and pantries
- Air filters
- Surge protectors
- First aid kit
- Tool kit
- Light bulbs
- Batteries for smoke detectors
- Sewing kit
- Cleaning supplies
- Broom and dustpan
- Chargers for your electronics
- Extension cords
- Laundry baskets
- Bins for storage
- Iron and ironing board
- Folders for documents
To help you further plan what to bring and what to purchase for your new home, take a look at Moving.com's helpful Moving Planner tool as well. Complete with a customizable moving checklist, personal tasks list, email reminders, and coupons on supplies, this moving planner is your ultimate guide to a successful move.