JSYK: This is the ultimate apartment moving-in checklist

Get your head in the game

Graphics of a cleaning spray, checklist, and moving boxes, surrounded by heart-eye emojis
(Image credit: Future)

Are you moving into a brand-new apartment? If so, yay, that’s so exciting! If not, well it’s always good to have info like this in your back pocket, ready for when you do actually move. There are lots of things to keep in mind when you’re moving in, so it’s worth getting organized early.

I’ve moved around multiple different places in my time, and I know that the task can feel really overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure where to start. But we’re all in this together, peeps, and the hard part of apartment hunting is over! So, I’ve put together an apartment moving-in checklist, for everything from a loft to a studio apartment, so you can get everything in order.

This covers the whole process, from when you first decide to move right up to when you’re in boxes. Basically, no matter what stage you’re at, there’s no need to get stressy.

Screenshot this list, and get ready for your moving journey…

12 things you need to do before moving into an apartment

Want to be organized AF? Work through this article as you go through the stages of changing places. 

1. Give notice to your previous landlord

If you haven’t got on this already, you def need to sort this stat. Check that your move-out date and move-in date align, and if they don’t make sure to make arrangements to get your furniture in storage and for somewhere to stay.

2. Read the lease agreement

Yes, it can be super easy to just skim the boring paperwork and sign away. But it is really important to take time to read it thoroughly, as there may be clauses that affect what you can do once living there. Get a delish drink from your coffee machine, have a sit-down, print out your contract, and highlight and make notes if needed. Once you’re happy, then sign it and return it ASAP.

3. Secure renter’s insurance

Another cost? I feel ya. This one is necessary though, trust. You’ve got to keep your belongings protected, as you just don’t know what will happen. It’s important that the insurance you get covers theft, fires, and any other damages so that you know you’ll be okay in case the worst happens.

4. Book time off work

Sorry, but cramming in packing, moving, and unpacking into a couple of weekends just isn’t a good idea. You’ll tire yourself out, and you may even run out of time to do everything. Instead, make sure you have a couple of days for packing, moving, and then unpacking. This will make the whole process a lot easier, and mean you won’t be worried or frazzled while working either.

5. Arrange your utilities

If you aren’t living in an apartment with all-inclusive bills, you’re gonna need to sort out your own utilities. Contact electricity, gas, water, internet, and cable companies, and make sure that they’re all set up for the new place. If you have existing plans at your old place, you can simply move these over.

6. Declutter your home

Before you begin packing, it’s a good idea to have a proper declutter (FYI, here's how to do that). This way, you won’t be packing up junk, and will be able to move into your new place with a fresh start and just the key necessities. Go through everything and decide if you use the item and if you really want to keep it — if the answer is no to either or both, get rid. Anything that’s in good condition, you can gift to friends and family or donate to Goodwill.

7. Pack and label boxes

Go into each room, armed with a few boxes, and put all your items in boxes. You can categorize these for each room, to make it easier to find what you need. For example, in the bedroom, you could have a clothes box, bed box, and nightstand box, while in the kitchen you could have a food box, utensils box, and cookware box. BTW, I recommend labeling these so you know what’s what — you can either do this with a marker pen or with a label maker, like this Phomemo one which is Amazon’s Choice.

8. Get moving help

I know you’re totes independent and brilliant, but moving just isn’t a job you can do by yourself. See if any friends or family (preferably with big cars or vans) can help you out with the task. If you have a lot to shift and want to hire a moving company instead, be sure to book this a few weeks in advance, as you don’t want to leave it ‘till the last min. My top tip is to book an early morning timeslot, as the moving company will get the job done quicker, as they’ll be nice and fresh. 

9. Change your address

Whether you know you’re gonna be getting important letters or not, you need to let any companies that you have agreements with that you’re changing address. Get in touch with your bank, credit card company, and any other place that may be sending you physical post. To cover yourself even further, you can also submit a change-of-address request to your mail service, so your mail gets redirected.

10. Clean the apartment

As well as cleaning the home you’re moving out of, you need to clean your new apartment too. Trust me, the previous tenant and the estate agent ain’t going to do the hard work for you. Clean cabinets and surfaces with all-purpose spray (Mrs. Meyer’s on Amazon is our fave here at Real Homes) and cloth, as well as vacuum and mop the floor. This way, you know it will be free of any dust and germs before you get fully moved in.

11. Take note of any existing damage

While you’re in your new apartment cleaning, before you have all the boxes in, check for any damages. Look for scratches, marks, and any broken pieces on doors, walls, skirting boards, windowsills, and the floor. If you spot anything, snap a pic and take a note of it, and let your landlord know. We gotta keep that deposit protected, honey.

12. Plan for any furniture

Measure up your new apartment, room by room, and take notes of each one’s size. This will make planning for furniture 10x easier, legit. See if you have any existing furniture that will fit, and if not make plans to replace them. Don’t stress about getting everything straight away though — so long as you have a couch, table, bed with a mattress, stove, and fridge, you should be golden for moving in.  

Ticked off everything on this list? Congrats — you’re officially ready to get outta your old place and get moved into your new space. I hope your move goes smoothly, and that you have the best time enjoying your new apartment. You’ve got this, bestie.

Up next: 15 tips for moving into your first apartment

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.

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