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The ultimate moving checklist: 50 crucial to-dos for a new apartment

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Moving is never easy. In fact, it can be a huge pain that ends up consuming months of your life – especially if you’re disorganized. The good news is that getting organized (and making life a whole lot easier for yourself) isn’t rocket science. You just need a trustworthy checklist and a little patience.

We can help! At Common, we’re experts in helping you find your dream apartment and get settled – whether you’re moving around the block or to a brand new city. Here is our ultimate moving checklist, with 50 things to do before, during, and after the big day.

Organize and declutter


The tidier your stuff is – and the more unnecessary junk you get rid of – the simpler moving day will be!

1. Lighten your wardrobe by donating clothes you never wear.
2. Sell extra books, records, or any other media that you’re no longer using.
3. Return any borrowed items to your friends or the library.
4. Organize your cooking and eating utensils and ditch the excess.
5. Sort through junk drawers and cabinets. File papers and important documents, collect stray tools, batteries, and cords, and other miscellaneous things and find them a home.
6. Unload any valuable items you don’t need on eBay, Craigslist, or via old-fashioned garage sale. If you’re moving into a furnished home, this might be a big, profitable step!
7. Make a simple inventory list. If you know what you have, you’re less likely to lose anything or buy a duplicate.

Budget


Moving can wipe out your savings if you try to solve problems on the spot instead of planning ahead. Take advantage of any freebies you can, and don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family members for help with some of the lighter work. Here are the key steps to reducing moving expenses and creating a moving budget:

8. Avoid moving during the summer or early fall, if possible. Demand for moving services will be higher, and everything will cost you more.
9. Give your landlord proper notice so you don’t have to pay any extra rent or fees.
10. For shorter moves, try to negotiate an extra day or two on your lease. Having extra time may mean you don’t need to hire any help.
11. If you haven’t found a new place to stay yet, look for affordable accommodations, and book them in advance.
12. Avoid take-out as moving day approaches. Instead, eat the food that’s been sitting in your pantry. You’ll save money and have less to pack.
13. Ask around town for used boxes, and utilize all the tote bags you have so you’re not paying the premium for brand new boxes and packing supplies.
14. Collect quotes for moving trucks or services you’ll need to find the best deal. Ask for printed quotes, and don’t be afraid to share them with other services.
15. If you’re moving to a new state, you will need a new car insurance policy. But even if you’re moving to a new city in the same state, your rates may change significantly. Make sure you compare rates from several companies to find the best deal.
16. If you’re moving for a new job, hammer out the details with them. Many companies offer assistance with relocation.

Pack


You can begin packing up to a month before your move-out day – just be strategic about what you’re boxing up. The more organized you are, the easier it will be to unpack in your new apartment. If you can afford it, consider renting a short term storage unit so you have more space to tidy up your apartment.

17. Clearly label your each moving box, and use your inventory list to track any additional details about how your items are stored. Good notes will save you a huge amount of time and energy!
18. Begin packing storage areas first, but don’t pack your toolbox just yet.
19. Pack up any off-season clothing and formal wear you won’t need. Pack shoes and clothes separately to avoid damaging fragile apparel.
20. Remove artwork, photos, and other decor from the walls and pack them carefully. You can also pack any collectibles or other display items.
21. Next, pack craft and hobby supplies, books, and other media. It’s okay to save yourself a couple of things to keep you entertained, but keep it minimal.
22. Box up any excess kitchen tools or utensils you won’t need until after moving day.
23. Pack any valuables or special items separately, so you can transport them yourself on your actual moving day.
24. In the three or four days leading up to the actual moving day, begin packing your pantry. Consider donating excess food to a food bank.
25. Pack a suitcase for your essentials, and finish boxing up any remaining clothing and shoes.
26. Pack your toiletries and other bathroom supplies on the morning of the move.
27. Save your cleaning products and first aid supplies for the last day in your old place.

Assess + clean


Throughout the packing process, make note of anything that’s damaged, and either repair it or let your landlord know. The best way to get your deposit back is to be open and honest, and ask how you can help. As you pack up each room, take the time to clean it thoroughly. Don’t save cleaning for the last day!

28. Fill in any holes from your walls with spackle or wood filler.
29. Look for scratches on floors and buff them out.
30. Replace any damaged blinds or window screens.
31. Contact your utility, cable, and internet services to disconnect them. You can’t always control what time they’ll be shut off, so schedule it for the day after your move.
32. If you’re moving to a new city, make sure you cancel your gym membership and any other local services you use.
33. Update your address with your insurance carrier, bank, and phone company. File for mail forwarding at the post office. This will only work for 12 months, but it should give you plenty of time to update your address with anyone you forgot.
34. Start scrubbing as you pack. Dust all your furniture, and clean the legs of all your tables, couches, and chairs before the movers arrive. (There’s no reason to track dirt into your new home!)
35. Check your lease and ask your landlord if you’ll be expected to pay for carpet cleaning or other professional services. In some cases, it will be cheaper to rent a carpet cleaner and do it yourself.

Move!


Block off as much time as possible to keep stress low during the moving process. Consider the layout of your new place when you’re loading your truck – the first things you want to carry in should be the last things you put on the truck.

36. If you hired professional movers, let them do the work. Their insurance won’t cover anything you damage or any injury you maintain. Don’t be afraid to talk to them and supervise the operation.
37. Load the largest and heaviest items first.
38. Use moving blankets and pads and work slowly to avoid damage.
39. Plan for eating breaks throughout the day, and drink plenty of water.
40. Once all the boxes and furniture is cleared out, clean all the areas you haven’t been able to reach yet.
41. If you have a yard, make sure you haven’t left any tools, furniture, or grilling equipment outside.
42. Take one last look through every drawer, closet, and cabinet before you say goodbye to your old place.

Get settled


43. If you’re using a moving company, make sure the truck is completely empty before they leave. Check fragile items and furniture for damage.
44. Document any pre-existing damage to your new home and take pictures for your records.
45. Ask for repairs on anything that needs to be fixed ASAP.
46. Make sure your new home is clean before you start unpacking, and vacuum or dust as needed.
47. Unpack the necessities, and organize as much as you’re able to on the first day in your new home. You’ll probably sleep better if you’re not surrounded by clutter!
48. Make a timeline for finishing the job over the next few days. Your house won’t feel like home until you’ve unpacked your things and finished decorating.
49. Get to know the nearest grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants.
50. Delete your old address from online retailers so you don’t accidentally order anything to your old place.

Moving day made easier with Common

At Common, your apartment comes fully furnished, and our keyless entry makes move-in the moving process possible in under an hour. Our beautiful homes offer city living at unbelievable prices, all in the neighborhoods you want to live in. 

Once you’re all settled, meeting your neighbors is as simple as downloading our app to your smartphone, and you can host a meet-and-greet in any of our warm community spaces. Learn more about how Common makes city living better.

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