You’ve finally signed your lease, paid your deposit, and received the keys to your new place. It’s an exciting time. It might be tempting to dive into the process of unpacking and getting settled, but before you unpack your first box there are a few things you should do beforehand. These shouldn’t take too long, but by taking the time to follow this checklist you can make your first few months much easier.
As tempting as it might be to kick back and relax, take the time to follow these new apartment tips to know what to do after moving:
If you’re renting an apartment, chances are you had to put down a security deposit. If this is your first place, a security deposit essentially is money your landlord/building owner can use to fix your apartment if there is excessive damage. Unfortunately, many landlords do their best not to pay back security deposits after a tenant moves out. If you don’t take pictures of how the apartment looked before you moved in, you could be on the hook for damages made by the previous tenant.
It might seem silly, but take the time to take pictures of absolutely everything no matter how small. Note every knick or scratch you find and create a folder on your phone and compute for later reference. You should also email these to your landlord/building manager so that you can have a paper trail in case they say that you changed the timestamp on your photos. Many bad landlords and building managers will pull every trick in the book to keep you from paying back your security deposit. Be vigilant!
While you’re documenting everything, also make a note of items that need to be fixed such as:
- Leaky faucets
- Clogged drains
- Windows that won’t shut properly
- Doors that don’t lock
- Bug infestation
- Broken heating system
And so on. Immediately report these to your landlord to get them fixed. If you let these issues fester until you move out, the landlord can withhold your security deposit! A more serious problem like the last two are very important to document to your landlord immediately. Should they not fix it ASAP, you can take your landlord to small claims court.
Get Friendly With Your Neighbors
You don’t have to bring over homemade cookies to your neighbors, but it’s a good idea to say hello to them if you happen to come across any when you first move in. Simply say hello and let them know what apartment you’re in. You don’t have to chit-chat too long, but don’t just ignore them. Your neighbors can be your biggest allies and can help you out in times of need, but that’s only if they know you. You don’t need to become their best friend, but make the connection and maintain it for as long as you are living in your new apartment. You never know when you might need help.
Better yet, people are less likely to be jerks to neighbors when they know them. If your neighbors are loud, they are more likely to turn down the volume if they know the person complaining. After all, no one wants to be considered a jerk by people they know! This goes both ways, of course. You must be also a good neighbor. Even if you’re a night owl, avoid doing loud things like hanging paintings or vacuuming late at night. Your neighbors are just trying to enjoy their lives as they normally do so save the extra noisy stuff for earlier in the day.
Organize Your Belongings
You don’t need to unpack everything yet, but if you went the DIY moving route then you should at least move all the boxes into the appropriate rooms. You can even organize the boxes by order of importance in the rooms so you can focus on unpacking essential items first. So whether you unpack all at once or over the course of a few weeks, it’s much easier to do so room by room than darting between the different rooms. If you hire professional movers you should direct them where to put the boxes so you don’t have to do the work afterwards.
Speaking of unpacking, make sure to take out and arrange your daily items. This includes items such as:
- Coffee-making supplies
- Cooking utensils
- Clothes for the next few days
And so on. Even if it’s only a handful of things, organizing and placing these items can really make your apartment feel more like a home and encourage you to keep unpacking. Plus, you won’t have to worry about digging through boxes to find your toothpaste or hairbrush before going to bed the first night in your new apartment. Speaking of, you should also take some time to pick up some essentials you might have tossed for the move such as body wash, soap, hair care products, and so on.
Update Your Information
The best time to your address for various bills, insurance, etc. was before you moved. The next best time is right when you move. It’s easy to let your address change fall through the gaps especially for things like your regular mail. After all, who gets paper mail anymore? While you can set up mail forwarding with USPS, it will only continue this service for 60 days. After that, they will stop the service so it will be up to you to update your address directly with these companies.
Beyond the obvious ones such as banking institutions, insurance companies, etc. don’t forget to notify your place of employment and update your tax documents. You should also update your favorite shopping sites and medical providers. If you have kids, make sure to notify their school of the address change if you are still going to the same school.
Speaking of updating information, if you have rental insurance, you might need to adjust it. If you don’t have one, now is a great time to get it as it can protect you against fires, floods, theft, natural disasters, and more. Rental insurance costs vary based on location and amenities, but the average cost is around $180 a year.
Try to Finish One Room
Yes, you might be exhausted after the move, but try to set up at least one room the day of the move. Choose an important space like the living room or bedroom to tidy up. Unpack the boxes and place the items in the appropriate areas while also noting any storage solutions you might need for that space. You don’t have to hang up all the decorations at this stage, but you do at least want to get the majority of the boxes out of the way.
Don’t get too carried away! The goal is to complete a single room as much as possible. That way in the coming weeks of unpacking, you at least have one spot in your home where you can relax. As you continue to unpack, follow this same method where you unpack to completion. That way you’ll see the progress you’ve made as each room comes together in the coming weeks.
Moving apartments can be a daunting and tiring task. If you want to make it easier one yourself, why not let professional NJ movers take the load off your shoulders and do the moving part for you. Heck, many also offer packing and unpacking services so all you need to focus on is making sure you document everything in your new apartment and updating your information. Whatever option you choose when moving, following these tips can make your life in your new place go a lot smoother.
Should I call the utilities company before I move or the day I move?
If you’re moving into a new apartment, you should call your local utilities company and let them know when you plan on moving out of your old apartment and the address and move-in date of your new apartment. There might be some overlap between your old and new billing cycle, so make sure to account for that when you move.
What should I do if I can’t move in immediately?
If you can’t move into your new apartment immediately, make sure you have a plan in place to store your belongings. NJ Great movers offers secure storage solutions for both short and long term rentals.
Can I make renovations to my new apartment?
Take a look at your lease to see what you can and cannot update. If it’s not mentioned, ask your landlord or building manager if you can make these updates and what you need to do on move out.