Moving Tips and Apartment Advice
As I’m packing up for the 10th move of my life I’ve realized that I definitely have a system in place and things that I do to help make the process a little easier. Here are some things that I have done over the years:
1. Ask your job, or local grocery/hardware stores if they have boxes you can have: For me and my anxiety levels it is much easier for me to ask my job to save shipment boxes for me to use for my move (be sure to take them home immediately or they may be thrown out the next morning), but I can remember driving around with my Dad to pick up shipment boxes from grocery stores. Usually they were happy to give them to us, because they were going to be thrown out anyway, but sometimes they’d turn is down- which is fine. Always remember to show your appreciation and thank them.
2. Use clothes to cushion fragile items: Bubblewrap is surprisingly expensive, so I use my clothes instead. If it’s summertime I will use my fall wardrobe for this, and vise-a-versa (obviously do not use clothes with zippers or other hardware). This way you’ve packed up the part of your wardrobe you’re not currently wearing and your valuables/fragiles are protected.
3. Garbage bag your clothes: Speaking of clothes, the best way to pack up your closet is by leaving the items on the hanger (trust me, it’s a pain to un-hang them, pack, and re-hang when you have an entire apartment to unpack), take a large garbage bag and slide it over your clothes while they’re still hanging on the rack. Make sure the hanger hooks are outside the top of the bag and tie it tightly- this way you can hold the bag by the hanger hooks and they won’t fall into the bag. Then when you get to your new place you just place the hanger hooks on your new closet rack, untie the bag -and wala!- your clothes are hung and you’re done (doing this also saves boxes for other things)
4. Save junk mail the month before your move: It will take over your coffee table/desk, but old newspaper and magazines come in handy when it comes to packing up your kitchenware.
1. Observe the surrounding area and make visits: This is something I should have done, but I was in such a rush to move in that I didn’t. Drive around the block and take note of your surroundings- what businesses are nearby? Are you near a school? A police station? Maybe a church? Are there stoplights nearby? This is important and could impact the noise level of your living space (For example: after I moved in I realized that there’s a fire station across the street from us on one side, a college campus on the other, and there isn’t a stoplight for a good mile- which means I hear loud sirens at all hours of the day and night, there are a lot of college kids here so there are obnoxious parties/fights every weekend and hardly any parking when school is in session, and people love to race down my street engines blaring). Visit the apartment complex in the middle of the afternoon or at night to see what the atmosphere is like- are people being crazy? Are there security guards patrolling? This is something you need to know and see for yourself- after all, you will be living there for the next 6 months-year.
2. Be SURE to read and understand your lease: This is an obvious one, but it’s so important. They can be tricky with how they word things, so be sure that you ask plenty of questions whenever you don’t understand something (the landlord/manager should go over the lease with you, and if they don’t then you should ask them to). Especially pay attention to anything involving deposits, break-lease fees, terminations, and maintenance. IMPORTANT: when it’s time for a lease renewal, revisit your lease paperwork a month or two in advance to see if you need to give 30 days notice of renewal or termination. Sometimes if you’re moving out and you fail to give 30 days notice you may be charged a half-month/months rent even though you won’t be living in the facility (i am currently going through this.. it’s not fun).
3. Document EVERYTHING: After moving in make a list of all of the things that are wrong with the apartment (burn on the counter, carpet stains, broken blinds, bent vents, crack in the wall, etc) and photograph them if you can (with a picture date). Make a copy of the list and give it to your landlord- make sure to date and sign it. This way, when you move out, they can’t take these things out of your deposit because you didn’t cause that damage- and if they try, show them the list and remind them of the copy in your file. In addition, save all paperwork that you receive, especially if it pertains to scheduled maintenance on your unit (very helpful if they never show up and try to use your deposit to repair things that would have been in working order if they kept up with maintenance).
I hope that you found this information helpful! Moving is so difficult as it is, so any tips and tricks help. I wish you the best on your move and that your new living space is all that you need it to be and more : )