How to choose your first apartment, prepare for moving into your first apartment and move into your first apartment- or your second, third or fourth.

I have successfully made it through my first apartment lease and am anxiously awaiting my next. Living in my first apartment proved to be one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I loved the feeling of finding a home, taking care of a place and feeling like it was my own.

Last year around this same time, I wrote Moving into Your First College Apartment for the OCM Blog. Since then I have only gained more helpful hints and tricks, so I’m editing and adding onto my first apartment guide here today!

Choosing Your Apartment

Lease lengths are not always 12 months, so it’s important to know when each apartment lease would hypothetically end. If you’re in school, sometimes campus apartments offer 10 month leases, and that would be the ideal situation if you’re not planning on staying the summer. Maybe you have a temporary job and would like to find a month-to-month lease. Maybe you know you will be in the area for exactly a year and need the traditional 12 month lease to avoid having to find other temporary housing. Either way, your lease length could prevent you from having to struggle to find and coordinate a sublease later on.

Utilities and fees – ask about them. Ask what is included in the rent and if there are any other monthly charges. Sometimes utilities are included. Sometimes utilities aren’t included. Parking also varies. Sometimes it is free; other times it isn’t. If you have a tight budget, it is important to know the “real” price of choosing a particular apartment over the other. If there are a lot of hidden fees, it probably isn’t your best bet- unless your budget allows for it.

Bring a camera to photograph the apartments you really like and are considering as your own. When I was shopping for my first apartment, I realized too late that I couldn’t remember what came with the apartment and what didn’t. Did the shower have a sliding glass door or do I need to buy a shower curtain? I couldn’t remember. Bringing a camera to shoot some photos of the apartment can save you trouble later when you begin shopping.

Prepping to Move

Pack lightly and remember you have to carry the boxes you pack. It can be tempting to pick up one large cardboard box from Walmart and stuff it full, but when moving day comes around the corner and you’re trying to haul this awkwardly large, heavy box, you (and your generous, kind friends helping you) will be wishing you had just packed multiple averagely-sized boxes and made several trips.

Pack wisely by grouping your belongings into boxes based on room. Packing for an apartment is definitely different than packing for a dorm. When you’re in a dorm, things go in one room. My freshman year, I had socks shoved in my trash can to cushion my desk lamp and not take up space. It looked like a hot mess, but all I had to worry about was getting everything there- so it was fine. With an apartment, you’re going to have kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room items. Organizing and labeling by room will help you keep your things in order as you move in, and it will help your family and friends help you.

Moving Day

Leave time to clean your new space. By the time you get into your first apartment, you’ll probably be so excited you’ll just want to start unloading your boxes and setting up your new space. The trouble is that although your apartment has already been “cleaned” before you get there, it’s often necessary to do an extra round yourself (if you’re particular like me, anyway).

When I got to my first apartment, we had to clean the bathroom, the trim that was lined in dust, the window shades that hadn’t been cleaned due to the cost (which we had been warned about) and the floor. Needless to say, we went through a lot of disinfectant wipes.

How to choose your first apartment, prepare for moving into your first apartment and move into your first apartment- or your second, third or fourth.

PRO TIP: For a deep clean on the floors, try a steam mop. Unfortunately, when I moved into my first apartment, I didn’t have a steam mop. I recently received an O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop (curtsey of O-Cedar), though, that will be put to good use when I move into my next place- no matter what flooring I have. The O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop works on tile, wood and laminate floor- and even comes with an attachment for carpet. It’s super light weight and kills 99.9% of bacteria without any chemicals. It’s highly functional and safe to use.

When I tried it out at home on the carpet, my pad was dirtyyyy. You never really realize how dirty the floor is even when it looks perfectly clean. If you’re interested in the microfiber steam mop, be sure to make it to the end of the post for a giveaway!!

Space out your move in to avoid a traffic jam. This tip especially applies if you have more than one roommate. Having your friends and families piling your belongings through small doorways and into a shared space can be hectic and feel overwhelming. If you stagger when you all arrive, you will have less chaos and more time to truly get organized- and then help your roommates if they need it too!

Inform your helpers on your packing system and what you need from them. Ensuring your helpers know what to do ahead of time prevents them from standing around, confused, when moving day comes and they don’t know what you want from them.

Now for the exciting part; as I mentioned before, O-Cedar has been kind enough to offer the chance for one of my readers to receive their own O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop for free!! The giveaway will last for two weeks, ending on Wednesday, July 20, and the contest winner will be contacted by email. You must be 18 years of age or older and live in the US to enter. Without further ado, best of luck!

O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop

How was your first apartment experience? What is your best advice for apartment living? I want to know! Let me know in the comments below.

Author

  • Daniella

    Making plans to move into my first apartment and I didn’t think of bringing a camera!
    Thanks for the lovely tips!

  • Kristina Potter

    I remember moving out of my parents home, god, I’m so glad those days are over, lol!! This awesome steam mop just does it all, and the fact that it kills germs is great!! Especially for those of us with kids. Thank you for sharing this post, and the tips!!

  • Holy cow… I have yet to move into my own apartment, but it sounds kind of scary!! I am for sure going to bookmark this for the future!

  • Chocolata Majora

    If you’ve got roommates, be crystal clear about who pays for what, when, who cleans what, when, and how household disputes can be settled. Take the emotion out of it up front and if you both/all commit to it, it can make living together easier and can save friendships.

  • Richard Hicks

    Would be nice to have around

  • nickie burke

    This would be really useful in my home.

  • dglitter

    This steam mop would be great for my home-I have a lot of floor space to clean!

  • susitravl

    Live by yourself for a year before taking on any roommates. Learn to take care of yourself – you might need to do that at some point later in life.

  • dglitter

    I really like the concept of a steam mop.

  • Deb Ford

    Choose your roomates very carefully

  • nickie burke

    I like the usefulness of this mop

  • Deb Ford

    I absolutely loved the first time I got to live on my own in my own place.

  • rtrexel64

    I loved my first apartment, it allowed me to show how independent I was.

  • dglitter

    My first apartment was pretty tiny, but I loved it!

  • nickie burke

    This would be great on my floors

  • Debra Ford

    Best advice – get an apartment where you can control your own heat!

  • dglitter

    The steam mop will be great in my bathrooms.

  • nickie burke

    My bathroom floors could use this.

  • Debra Ford

    A top floor apartment has less noise – no footsteps over head!

  • msrodeobrat

    These are great tips for moving into an apartment! Something else to consider is choose wisely! The top floor has less noise, but it also has the most exposure to the elements so your heating/cooling bills might be more costly depending on the environment. Also you have to think about the logistics of moving your furniture.. in my case I lived on the top floor and it was super tough getting my very large furniture up all those flights of stairs.
    addictedtorodeo at gmail dot com
    Ashley C

  • dglitter

    Great apartment advice! I wish I had known this stuff when I went hunting for my first apartment.

  • nickie burke

    I like the idea of the steam mop

  • Debra Ford

    Try to get an apartment that has laundry facilities or hook ups….nothing worse than having to lug laundry

  • nickie burke

    Thank you for the apartment tips

  • Debra Ford

    Always get everything from your landlord in writing!! Protect yourself financially.

  • nickie burke

    I really like the “Space out your move in” thank you for the tips

  • nickie burke

    I defintly always need time to clean my new place. Great reminder

  • Debra Ford

    Check the water pressure before you sign a lease

  • nickie burke

    I always rush before moving not a good idea, labeling things is a great tip.

  • Debra Ford

    Make sure you know in advance anything that would prohibit you from getting your security deposit back after you move out.

  • Taking pictures of the different units you see is so important. At one point, I saw 5 different units in one apartment complex. It got confusing for all my roommmates and I to remember which unit had the balcony and which one had the kitchen island. Taking pictures beforehand will make life so much easier!
    -Kim :)
    http://www.simplybeingkim.wordpress.com

  • nickie burke

    Taking pictures of your apartment before and after is really an important tip.

  • Deb Ford

    Scope out the neighborhood before you sign a lease

  • Sonya Allstun

    Taking pictures of your apartment before and after

  • dglitter

    I need a new steam mop!

  • nickie burke

    I haven’t used a steam mop before, but I’d like to try it :)

  • Deb Ford

    Understand all the costs for the apartment before you sign the lease – security deposit, utilities, maintenance, window treatments, etc.

  • dglitter

    This is great apartment advice.

  • nickie burke

    Great moving advice

  • Betty Curran

    Make notes of any damage you see and have your future landlord sign an acknowledgement. Photos help too.

  • dglitter

    I could really use this steam mop.

  • Deb Ford

    Always put your tenant repair requests in writing and then they are legally responsible to respond in a timely manner

  • I love moving, it is seriously one of my favorite things to do. Some really good tips here.

  • msrodeobrat

    Great tips on moving! Something I always did when moving to a new place was drive around and look at the people, doorways and cars. If it looked like people were taking care of things, it was probably someplace I wanted to live.
    Ashley C
    addictedtorodeo at gmail dot com

  • wins4me

    i have never lived in an apartment, I have been married 52 years and we have moved twice

  • Barbara Fox

    This steam mop will definitely help out a person moving into a new apartment!

  • Richard Hicks

    Steam mops are very effective when cleaning!

  • Betty Curran

    I had a steam mop and it was awesome. I used it for my home as well as rental properties and I used it so much it finally died. I’d love to have another.

  • nickie burke

    Would be nice to have around

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