These tips for moving into your first apartment will make your life 10x easier

Movin' and groovin'

An apartment with a pink wall, blue sofa, and decorated coffee table
(Image credit: @_colorfulhome_)

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re moving into your first apartment, or are thinking about making that first move. Congrats! It’s so exciting having your own place. Having somewhere that’s your own is super special, so ofc you want to organize as much as poss and utilize all the moving hacks before settling into your new place.

There are lots of things to consider, but don’t stress. You’re reading this piece, which means you’re already a step ahead of the game for everything from a loft to a studio apartment. It’s def a good idea to have important info in the back of your mind, so you know exactly what to do before you bring in all the boxes.

I’ve put together some top tips for things to remember when moving into your first-ever pad. These cover a range of different areas, such as keeping your finances in check, getting your cleaning in order, and putting together plans for the future.

Ready to get started? Scroll on down for my top tips for moving into an apartment

15 useful AF things to remember when moving into your first apartment

Get your head in the apartment game with these different tips and tricks…

1. Set a budget

Work out how much you can spend on rent, groceries, utilities, and other essentials, and make sure to stick to this every month. You can plot this out on a spreadsheet, or even just on the Notes app on your phone. By doing this, you won’t spend more than you have, meaning you won’t be caught bein’ broke. 

2. Measure your furniture

Whip out the tape measure, and make sure that any furniture that you have or that you’re thinking about buying actually fits in your space. You don’t want to have super stressful apartment move-in day, carrying up the couch Friends style, and then finding it won’t even fit through the door frame. 

3. Start with the basics

Yes, it can be so tempting to just blow all your budget on making your apartment cute AF. But trust me, decorating is so much easier when you already have the basic big furniture to work around. A bed, couch, table, chairs, refrigerator, and a stove are all the essentials that you need to have before you move in — everything else you can find afterward.

4. Change your address

Thinking it will be easy to trudge back to the ‘rents to grab your letters? No bestie — we’re adulting here! Update your address with the bank, post office, credit card companies, and anywhere else that may be sending you mail regularly. This way, you won’t miss any important letters or bills.

5. Buy cleaning supplies

If this is your first-ever apartment, chances are you don’t have cleaning supplies already. In terms of cleaning products, I recommend investing in a quality all-purpose spray like Mrs. Meyer’s on Amazon, a kitchen cleaner, a bathroom cleaner, and an air freshener. In terms of tools, I recommend sponges, dusters, and microfiber cloths (Spontex’s are my faves, and Amazon has a cute pack of three ).

6. Create a cleaning schedule

As magical as it would be, there’s no cleaning fairy to tidy up your messes — you’ve got to do it yourself. IMO, the best way to keep on top of this is by creating and following an apartment cleaning checklist. Not only does this stop dirt gathering, but it also means that you won’t be cramming all your cleaning into one stressy sesh.

7. Set up utilities 

First, check that your utilities aren’t included in your apartment. If they aren’t? Get them set up, ASAP. Setting up electricity, gas, water, and cable before you move in will ensure you have everything in place on the first day. Just picture that first evening being nice and warm, watching TV with the lights down low. Vibes, right? Much better than just showing up and spending the night shivering.

8. Clean before moving in

Want a fresh start? That’s why you’re moving into your first-ever apartment, am I right? Make that even fresher by giving your apartment a clean before you move in (JSYK, here's our guide on how to do that). This will allow you to get rid of any germs and dust previous tenants have left, as well as get into areas that won’t be so accessible to clean when you’re fully moved in, such as cupboard shelves. 

9. Check for any damage

Let’s be real, deposits are not cheap. So, you def need to make sure you future-proof yours, so you don’t lose any unnecessary dollar when you eventually move out. Before moving in, check walls, surfaces, skirting boards, and flooring for any damage. If you find anything, make a log of this in writing, take pictures, and inform your landlord. Your future self will thank you later, trust. 

10. Learn your apartment rules

If you’re renting or living in an apartment block, you need to make sure that you’re following any house rules, as you don’t want to upset your landlord or neighbors. Useful things to check include quiet hours, pet policies, and parking regulations. By familiarizing yourself with these before you move in, you won’t be at risk of making boo-boos once you’re in there. 

11. Invest in storage solutions

When you’ve not got a lotta room to play with, making sure everything is organized is especially important. This will then keep your apartment clutter-free in the long-run. Storage solutions like over-the-door organizers (this SimpleHouseware one on Amazon has over 9,000 five-star reviews, BTW), storage ottomans, and under-bed storage organizers are all great options for utilizing as much apartment space as poss).

12. Purchase renter's insurance

I know, I know — another extra cost. But this is a worthwhile expense, as you just never know what could happen. Protect yourself in case of fires, thefts, or any other total disasters with renter’s insurance. I def recommend choosing one that covers all your home contents as well as spendy items like your cell phone and laptop.

13. Keep important documents organized

If this is your first place, you probs have VIPs (Very Important Papers) that you need to keep track of. It’s a good idea to have your lease agreement, renter’s insurance, and any other legal docs all in one place, so you can pull them out if you have any issues or need to look back for reference. I like to use magazine holders for this (FYI, these smart black ones are Amazon’s Choice), as they fit easily into small shelves and spaces.

14. Stock up on pantry essentials

Obvi, you’ll be doing a big ol’ grocery shop before you move in — but don’t just fill your cart with fresh fruit and veg. Be sure to pick up plenty of dry foods like rice, grains, and pasta, as well as canned foods, sauce jars, and spices. It’s handy to have these always stocked in your cupboard, so you won’t run out of food to eat. I like to put my dry food in clear jars, such as these ComSaf ones on Amazon, as it makes it easy to see when they’re running low. 

15. Make friends with your neighbors

Apartments are a great size for people living by themselves, but it can get a li’l lonely if it’s just you, or only one other person. When you move in, remember to knock on the doors of any close by neighbors, and introduce yourself. You could also see if there’s a Facebook group or WhatsApp group that you can join. By making bonds with neighbors, you’ll have a community support network, as well as nearby people to rely on in emergencies. Oh, and it’s always good to have new besties.

Up next: How to organize a small apartment, according to a professional

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.