Whether your lease is up or just beginning, you likely need help managing an often stressful juncture of the apartment hunting process — moving.
For some, the mere thought of moving conjures up stressful images of hurriedly cashing in favors from disgruntled friends who you can pay with nothing more than a cheap pizza and a six-pack.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here’s how to move in and out like a pro:
Five Top Tips for Moving In
- Communicate with your landlord before and on your scheduled move-in day. Great communication will ensure you get to your new apartment at the right time and that someone will be able to give you a set of keys and show you around. The landlord may also need time to clean up the rental after the last tenant moved out in order to get it ready for you. This will also help avoid any snafus with movers or friends you bring along to help out.
- Pack efficiently to minimize trips back and forth. Maximizing the efficiency of the moving in process by planning ahead will make the experience better for everyone. Take the time to think about where everything should go and then clearly labeling boxes with the items inside or the room they belong in will make moving and unpacking a breeze.
- Take pictures of the apartment when you get there or schedule a move-in walk-through with the landlord. By documenting your new apartment, you protect yourself from being held responsible for damages not caused by you. In this vein, make sure to also try things out (e.g. faucets, toilets, showers, etc.) so you immediately know what issues need to be addressed and can communicate those to the landlord or building engineer.
- Introduce yourself to your neighbors. One of the foundations of a shared living space like an apartment building is a sense of community, and that community isn’t built without an honest, concerted effort to create neighborly relationships. Get that ball rolling as soon as you move in, knocking on doors of the people around you or striking up conversation in communal spaces like the lounge or laundry room.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the landlord or building engineer. Above all else, landlords and building engineers want you to have the best possible experience in their building. Let them help you navigate your new space by asking about the things you’re unsure of, like the procedure for trash removal or the building laundry room hours. They’re happy you’re here and want to help!
Five Top Tips for Moving Out
- Clean up your place before you move out. As the old saying goes, leave it better than you found it — your landlord and the person moving in after you will appreciate a tidy space. If you don’t plan on taking some items with you, be sure to dispose of them properly instead of leaving them behind.
- Report any issues to the landlord. Sometimes things break, or could use a repair (like a creaky door). By reporting any issues, you extend an honest and direct line of communication between yourself and your landlord. And, you give the building engineer the chance to get the apartment back into great shape before the next renter moves in.
- Transfer your utilities. While most apartments now include utilities such as water and trash, you’ll likely still have to take care of utilities like internet, electric, and gas. Four weeks before moving day, contact your current utility providers to find out if you can transfer your account to the new address. If you can, provide them with the new address and moving date. If not, inform them when you’ll be moving out and make arrangements with your new utility company to ensure the lights are on and the WiFi is running!
- Pack your stuff well in advance so the move out process is quick. Similarly to moving in, moving out requires the same attention to detail and careful preparation so that you’re not wasting time on the big day. Instead of packing up the last of your clothing and dishes on the day of the move, prepare a duffel bag a few days before with clothing essentials and keep out just enough utensils and dishes to get you through the last few days that you can later pack into an extra box.
- Change the postal address on your bills/recurring subscriptions to your new place. As many of your bills are likely electronic these days, this tip might be a little dated. Still, it’s important that you double check where your important communications are going and to update them accordingly. You should also take the extra step and submit a change of address form to the US Postal Service. You can easily do this online for $1 or fill out a form at your local post office. You wouldn’t want to miss out on your monthly issues of National Geographic, would you?