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What to do before moving to a new apartment

Find your next Apartment
September 22, 2020

The housing process is... LONG, period.

If you want to prove yourself you are multitasking, the best proof is your housing experience. Either because you have moved a few times, or even if it's your first time, handling the whole moving process yourself is tiring and time-consuming.

There are too many aspects to take care of during the housing journey, starting from defining your budget, your desired move-in date or lease start date, and search criteria. This followed by gathering all the documents and requirements for the application process.

Then, digging into tons of listings websites, setting up your account there, avoiding rental scams, finding reliable properties, contacting landlords, real estate agents, or property managers. Until you finally sign the lease!

Sounds like the hardest part of the adventure is already gone, and you can relax a little bit. However, there is still a lot of work to do: preparing everything for move-in.

To help you finalize your housing process, we have compiled an awesome moving checklist with all the things you need to do to smoothly move to your next home.



Create a budget for moving expenses
Think about packing and cleaning supplies, labor, truck hire, storage, and any household essentials you’ll need when you arrive in your new home. With a budget, you can make an informed decision about whether to buy that fancy new couch.

Take inventory
Since moving to a new place is a fresh start, it is also a great opportunity to check your belongings and do a deep cleaning instead of just packing everything. You will get surprised by the number of things you don’t use or need anymore.

A good trick is to empty one storage space at a time (e.g. one chest of drawers), instead of trying to pack stuff here and there. Have trash bags and moving boxes handy, and take a few minutes to think consciously if you should keep that item for some reason. If after thinking about it, the answer is no, then put it in the trash bag. In many cases, we end up keeping things we don’t need “just in case” (happens very often with clothes).

Then, make a list of which items you want to bring to your new home, place in storage, donate or sell. Keep this list to mark item location when you start packing.

Acquire packing materials
Using your inventory list, estimate how much moving supplies (boxes, fillers, bubble wrap, duct tape) you’ll need, then head to a moving store, order them online, or ask (to your family, friends, social media groups) if someone has moving boxes they don’t need anymore, that you can recycle or buy.

Contact your new building
If you’re moving into an apartment, call the property management of the building to ask if there are any move-in day requirements, such as booking the service elevator or obtaining a certificate of insurance.

Measure doorways, stairwells, and elevators
If you can, measure them both in your current building and your new one to ensure your furniture will fit. Avoid surprises on move-in day.

Request quotes and book your moving company
If you don’t have a vehicle, you’ll likely want to hire a mover. Get a few quotes (and read them carefully) before choosing the best option for you. Inform yourself about your responsibilities, rights, and if you should consider extra insurance coverage for your move.

For the ones moving in or to New York City, it is likely that the property management of your new building will ask you to have a Certificate Of Insurance (COI), issued by the moving company. This document certifies that the moving company is insured and that it will be responsible for any damage caused to the building during the move. That Certificate should cover liability insurance, automotive liability, workers' compensation, cargo insurance, and umbrella coverage, up to $2M (some buildings require coverage of up to $5M).


Change your mailing address
Don’t forget to set up mail forwarding with your local Post office. Update your address with Amazon, any mailed subscriptions, on your driver's license, and with your employer.

Organize a garage sale
If you have too many items you don’t need anymore but are in good condition, or if you are moving to a new city and can’t take everything with you, a good alternative is to organize a garage sale if you have time. It has practical, financial, and environmental benefits.

The practical benefit is that you won’t have to pack all those stuff or carry them somewhere else to be sold (e.g. to a second-hand store). On the financial side, you will make some extra money, which is very useful during the moving process. And last but not least, with a garage sale you encourage reusing and recycling old materials, and other people can give a second life to those items you don’t need anymore.

Donate items you didn’t sell
Either because you didn't want or didn't have time to sell the things you no longer need, an excellent initiative is to donate those items to organizations like the salvation army or goodwill.

Start packing
Start with the items you don’t need regularly. Label boxes with a number, then record that number on your inventory list as you pack things away. This will help you find things when you’re moved in and ensures nothing was lost!

Pack your valuables and fragile items separately
Valuables like documents, IDs, jewelry, and electronics are things you should box and label separately - as with anything super fragile. If you’re hiring movers, consider moving these items yourself to ensure their safety.


Update your billing address
It’s important to update your billing address wherever it appears, such as on fire, auto, and renters insurance, phone contracts, credit cards, etc.

Start cleaning
You can either arrange a cleaning service or save money and do it yourself!

Transfer utilities
Transfer your cable and internet plan to your new home and schedule your installation appointment.


Contact movers
Let your movers know where they can park and review the paperwork with the foreman before you start loading things into the truck. Don't forget to check the Certificate Of Insurance (COI), mentioned above, if you are moving in or to New York City!

Communication is key
If the movers should pack the items for you, tell them exactly what to pack and ask them to label the boxes. Also, count your boxes!

Last check
Make sure that your air conditioning, heat, or lights are turned off, windows closed, and no items left while the movers load the truck. Clean the floor after the movers are done.

Unload your belongings
Meet your movers at your new place. Direct them where to put each box or furniture so you don’t have to relocate anything later. Don’t forget to count your boxes, to double-check if there is nothing left inside the truck, and to tip your movers!

Keep this checklist handy during your moving process and avoid last-minute complications!


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