Apartment Move-In Checklist [Everything You Need to Know]
| Published September 20, 2023
Moving into a new apartment can often feel both exciting and anxiety-inducing at the same time.
On the one hand, you experience a new milestone or chapter in life. On the other hand, you still have to buy and put things inside to achieve the comfort you desire from such a domicile.
That need to turn your apartment into a space that works for you is often a source of stress, as there are things you may not realize you desperately need when first gathering your apartment essentials.
That’s why we’ve made a comprehensive guide on how to prepare your move-in checklist, including pre-move preparations, to-dos, and other essentials you must consider.
The Ultimate Apartment Move-In Checklist
An apartment moving checklist is a handy tool for organizing your moving-in experience. It helps through the following aspects:
- Keeping your finances in check if you are on a tight moving budget; and
- Helping you identify your needs, what you currently have, and what you must buy immediately.
In this section, you’ll learn more about your pre-move preparations, on-the-day apartment essentials, first-day and week apartment essentials, setting up utilities, changing addresses, and how to make your first apartment feel like home.
Before moving out of your old place, it’s important to notify your landlord and organize, sort, and pack your things to prevent unnecessary drama.
Giving Notice and Getting Organized
Leaving your current space doesn’t happen in a snap. It takes careful planning, rereading your contract, and giving notice to your landlord.
Informing your landlord at least a month or two from moving out is just one of the ways to avoid penalties and ensure a smooth transition.
Sorting and Packing Essentials
A few weeks or months before moving in, ensure you spend at least 30 minutes to one hour a day sorting and packing the essentials in your current place. It can be a bathroom, self-care, kitchen, cleaning supplies, or other essentials.
- Pack the things you NEED. It doesn’t have to be everything, just be mindful of your needs and wants. Prioritize needs at all times.
- Sort the clothes, pots and pans, plates and bowls, kitchen gadgets (like a can opener), and other materials. Dispense with some by offering garage sales, sell some in thrift shops, and bring some to your new place.
Moving Day Essentials
You don’t want to continuously feel like something’s missing on your move-in day. Aside from it bothering you, it will also kill the excitement of moving to a new apartment.
So, here are the personal items and security measures you should observe on D-Day!
Personal Items You Need On Moving Day
Never move out without having these personal items ready to go with you:
- Cleaning supplies
- Toilet paper
- Basic toiletries (e.g., toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen)
- Cooking utensils
- Bath towels
- Basic first aid kit
- Electronic chargers and power strips
- Spare batteries
- Toolkit and flashlight
- Important documents
- Snacks and water
Security Measures For the Apartment
Your security should be a top priority when settling into a new home. You can secure your new apartment (and each room within) through these measures:
- Make sure your door locks are functioning.
- Install a security system (i.e., security cameras, sensors)
- Ensure that your windows are locked, and window coverings are in place whenever you are alone, sleeping, or away.
- Keep your valuables in a secure place inside the bedroom.
- Utilize a door security bar or a door jammer for added safety from intruders.
Apartment Essentials For Your First Day and Week
Settling in a new place comes with a price because you must invest money in your apartment needs, like kitchen supplies, living room, bathroom, bedroom, and daily essentials.
Preparing and cleaning your new home is also part of the moving process.
The Kitchen Essentials
You must secure your kitchen essentials to survive your first day and week in your new room. It doesn’t have to be completed in the first week. You can buy it one after the other, especially if you follow a budget.
Here is the kitchen utensil set you must assemble:
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cooking utensils
- Food storage containers
- Dish soap
- Serving dishes
- Cookware and bakeware (pots and pans)
- Can opener or knife
- Toaster oven
- Small trash
- Hand soap
- Oven mitts
- Dining room table and tableware
- Dish drying rack
- Water glasses
- Furniture (e.g., glass and wood)
- Smoke detectors
The Living Room Essentials
After a long day of trying to move things, you’d like to experience comfort in your living room. So, here are the essentials you must not miss to achieve a cozy living space:
- Coffee table or side tables
- First aid kit
- Decorative pillows
- Extension cords or power strips
- Light bulbs
- Window coverings
- Half-length or full-length mirror
The Bathroom Essentials
You will also spend plenty of time in the bathroom, especially when showering or (occasionally) doing laundry. With this, you must also include bathroom essentials in your apartment checklist.
Here are the things you’ll need for your first apartment:
- Laundry detergent
- Shower curtain and liner
- Toilet paper
- Toilet brush
- Bath towels
- Hand soap
- Body soap
- Towel rack
- Bathroom organizer
The Bedroom Essentials
Resting is always better when your bedroom is clean and has a relaxing ambiance. To level up life in your first apartment or new home, here are the supplies that you’ll need to spend some money on:
- Full-length mirror
- Bed frame
- Bedside table
- Headboard (optional)
- Dresser and vanity
- Storage containers or baskets
- An electric fan or air conditioning system
- Pillows, sheets, and rugs
- Overhead lighting and bedside lamps
REMEMBER: Sanitize and double-check the bed frame and mattress before use to prevent mold growth or eradicate bed bugs.
Other Daily Essentials
In completing your first apartment checklist, you must always include other daily essentials, such as the following:
- Cleaning supplies
- Broom and dustpan
- White vinegar for cleaning purposes
- Extra light bulbs, toilet paper, and laundry detergent
- Table and chairs
- Garbage bags
- More food storage containers
- Extra plates and bowls for visitors
PRO TIP: You don’t have to buy brand-new options to complete this first apartment checklist. It’s best to check out budget-friendly options in the hardware store, thrift shops, and even Facebook marketplace.
Setting Up Utilities and Address Changes
When moving into a new apartment or home, the best thing you can do to get settled after moving in is to set up your utilities and change your official address a week prior.
Learn some tips through the subsections below!
Arranging for Internet and Cable
Internet connection has become part and parcel of our home lives. So, you perform the following:
- If you rent an apartment, ask your landlord if internet and other cable connections are allowed or even provided.
- If yes, identify the available internet providers in your area (if the new apartment doesn’t have an existing connection)
- Choose the most reliable one, contact them, and arrange the date when your internet and other cable connections can be set up.
Other utilities you need to arrange include:
- Home security
Changing Your Official Address
You don’t have to wait until you move in to change your address. It’s best to do it once you know the exact address of your new apartment and when you’ll move in.
Changing your official address is actually quite easy; just contact the United States Postal Service online, by phone, or in person.
Making Your Apartment Feel Like Home
Moving in isn’t just about geographically transferring your belongings. It also includes making your room or apartment feel like home by decorating it, managing the available space, and organizing everything you have.
Apartment Decoration Ideas
Decorating your bedroom or first apartment is a dream most want to achieve as soon as they move out of their parent’s house.
However, as soon as we take this huge leap, we’re sometimes taken aback because we don’t know where to start.
To help you out, here are some first apartment checklist decoration ideas you can consider:
- Install floating shelves
- Use a minimalist coffee table
- Accent your sofa couches with pillows and throw blankets
- Choose eggshell or satin finishes to help create an illusion of a bigger space
- Area rugs are your best friends to separate the living room from the kitchen (and other areas)
- Hang some artwork, decor, and photo frames on your plain walls
Managing and Organizing Space
Managing and organizing space is the most important aspect of making your new apartment feel like home. In doing so, you must never forget functionality and aesthetics.
Take the following tips by heart to execute this efficiently:
- Less is more. Buy things you’ll use and discard materials that don’t spark joy.
- Add space-saving furniture like a day-bed frame in your living room and under-the-sofa storage
- Install hanging storage in your bathroom
- Clean as you go every day
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Moving
Moving out of your parent’s house or dorm and into your first apartment is challenging. Yet, your moving-in journey can be much easier if you avoid the common mistakes we laid down in this section.
Forgetting to Inspect the Apartment
The number one rule before moving out is inspecting an apartment. It’s common sense to look at what the apartment can offer and what aspects it lacks.
Based on our experience, forgetting to inspect it before moving in will cause you more problems as you will not be aware of previous damages and maintenance, health, and safety issues.
Neglecting to Update Official Documents
Official documents like a contract of lease and address changes are important things to take care of before moving in.
Being attentive to the lease contract will help you understand the do’s and don’ts agreed upon by both parties and neglecting it may affect how both of you will negotiate problems that may arise.
Moreover, changing your address is essential for precise utility billings, important mail delivery, and other subscriptions.
Overloading Yourself with Too Much Work
One of the misconceptions about moving is that you simply need to load up a moving truck, transfer everything to the new space, and you’re done.
The fact that most people leave out is that moving in is a process. It takes weeks and often months before completion. Sometimes, in our observations, some people take a year or two to settle in completely.
Take moving one day at a time, and consider professional cleaning costs and services if you need help.
Not Packing an Essentials Box
It’s an essentials box for a reason. An essentials box is where all of your needs for at least 24 hours should be stored for easier access.
Not packing one will leave you in a stressful state of trying to remember where things are, searching for them in different boxes, and ending up cluttering your new space.
Frequently Asked Questions
Moving into your first apartment is made easy by our comprehensive guide to an apartment checklist. But we’ll make things even more intuitive by answering some of your FAQs in this section!
What Are the Most Commonly Forgotten Items During Moving?
The most commonly forgotten items during moving are the following:
Measuring cups and spoons
Personal records and documents
Bathroom essentials like a shower curtain and liner
Broom and dustpan
How Can One Effectively Divide Tasks Over the Weeks Leading Up to Moving?
You can effectively divide tasks over the week leading up to moving by doing the most important tasks first and then working on the least. You can do this by putting all your essentials in your first apartment checklist and grouping them by relevance.
In our years of experience, here’s a timeline of tasks that’s worked for so many people:
Week 1: Inspect the apartment, take photos from all angles, settle the contract, and make your first apartment checklist
Weeks 2 to 3: Arrange your things in boxes starting from essentials box, living room essentials, bathroom needs, and kitchen staples. Then, contact the moving truck for a schedule.
Week 4: Settle your utilities and official address changes
Week 5: Run through your first apartment checklist for the last time and buy the things you need AND want
What Can One Do to Ensure the Safety and Security of Their Items During Moving?
To ensure the safety and security of your items during moving, remember the following tips:
Acquire the services of a reliable moving truck
Don’t forget your moving insurance
Personally carry your most valuables or the essentials box
Only tell family and close friends about your move
What Are Some Cost-Effective Decoration Ideas for a New Apartment?
Some cost-effective decoration ideas for a new apartment are the following:
Space-saving furniture from thrift stores
Put trays on the coffee table where you can store keys and remote controls
Full-length mirror to see yourself, direct light, and create the illusion of a bigger space
Photo frames as wall decorations
Hanging shelves for storage and aesthetics
Any Tips on Making the Moving Process Less Stressful?
The moving process is less stressful when you do these things:
Make an apartment checklist
Plan at least a month or two before moving
Know your new neighborhood
Only bring the things you need
An apartment moving checklist is important because it makes your moving more organized, reduces stress and anxiety, and prevents you from forgetting essential materials for your own home.
We hope this moving guide helps you achieve a smooth moving process that will give you a cozy home to stay in – from the living room to the bedroom.
Remember that at the end of a long moving day, nothing beats the feeling of safely and securely moving into your new home sweet home.