7 Things to Consider When Moving Into Your First Apartment

7 Things to Consider When Moving Into Your First Apartment

Kitchen and dining room in an apartment

Moving into your first apartment can be both exciting and a little nerve-wracking. You may be deciding where to put things and how to arrange your space for the first time. To make sure you easily settle in, consider the tips below.

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1. Study the Map

Check out the neighborhood around your first apartment. How far will you have to travel for work or school? What amenities do you see along the way? You’ll need to know where your closest grocery store is. A local park could be a nice spot to walk, jog, or have a picnic.

As you learn more about your new neighborhood, be ready to do a bit more exploring. If there’s mass transit near you, download the app to have access to it. Find out where the museums, theaters, and other cultural options are. Check out restaurant reviews. You may not have the budget to stop and get a large, fancy meal but you can treat yourself to the best cheesecake in town to celebrate your move!

If you love to thrift or craft, plan a day to discover the best shops near you. You should also spend some time riding the bus so you can study your new city while someone else drives.

2. Carefully Inspect Your New Apartment

Go through the new apartment carefully before you bring in any boxes or furniture. Note any dings or scuffs on the walls. Also, mark any chips on things like the bathtub or worn spots on the carpet.

You should document these items on your check-in sheet. Take photos of them and share them with your rental agent or building manager. If you don’t note these features when you move in, they may be charged back to you when you move out.

3. Use the Furniture and Decor You Have

When you move into your first apartment, you may be tempted to buy all new furniture and wall decorations. However, what works in this first apartment may not function effectively in your next one.

If all you own is a bed, a desk, and a chair, move them. Take your time to get accustomed to the space before you start looking for other items to buy for your apartment.

Look for furniture that can serve many purposes. You may have a foyer in your new space. A foyer table is nice, but a short bookcase can give you space for displaying items and serve as effective storage in your next apartment.

Don’t be in a rush to cover your blank walls. Take your chair to different spots in your living room and study the light over the course of the day. If you work remotely, find the best spot for your desk and computer, then create the rest of your new home around it.

4. Move Using Your Luggage

Pack an overnight bag with a change of clothing and toiletries. In a larger suitcase, pack your pillow, sheets, pajamas, and a towel. If you have a sleeping bag, keep it with your luggage as well.

Packing is a learned art. On your moving day, you’ll have a lot of decisions to make. If you have these items packed in your luggage, you can bathe, change into your pajamas, and make your bed.

If you label your boxes with the room they belong in you will be able to organize your belongings quickly on moving day. As you empty boxes, break them down.

Then, take a stretch break and find out where your recycling bins and trash bins are. A new apartment full of empty boxes will still feel like a cluttered mess. The sooner you start breaking boxes down, the more in control of the space you’ll feel.

5. Get Renters Insurance

As soon as you have an address for your apartment, make sure you contact an insurance professional and get renters insurance. This is one of those first apartment essentials that people don’t think about until it’s too late.

If you have vehicle insurance for your car, you can probably get renters insurance added for very little money. As you begin to add large items to your apartment, such as furniture, keep a list of the cost of these items to make sure your policy will cover them if you ever need a replacement.

6. Stick to Your Budget

Moving is expensive. Create a budget for known items and leave plenty of room for unknowns. Fees will crop up in odd places and you may need to cover a surprise expense quickly.

If you know that you’ll have to make a large payment up-front for any feature of your new apartment, it may make sense to get a new credit card with a decent welcome bonus. As long as you have the budget for the expense, you can put it on the new card and use the bonus for a special item for your new home.

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7. Dig Into Your New City

Look for activities that inspire you in your new city. If there’s an animal shelter nearby, go volunteer! You may walk through a local park and note a tai chi class or a group doing yoga. Find out what it will take to join them. As you expand your experiences, you’ll have the chance to expand your circle of friends.

The key to successfully moving into your first apartment is to celebrate both your personal space and the community at large. If you moved from a community of house-dwellers, becoming an apartment-dweller may feel a bit odd. However, your new city likely has many options you’ve never considered.


Now you should feel more prepared to move into your first apartment!

Remember to spend some time investigating the area you’re planning to move to, especially if you’re moving to a new city altogether. There are also plenty of moving hacks you can employ even for a smaller apartment move.

You should take time to properly adjust to your new apartment and make note of any damages that occurred before you moved in. And if you take nothing else away from this article, get renters insurance! It’s affordable and easy to tack on to existing vehicular insurance. It can save you a lot of money down the line!

Headshot of Ashlyn Cook, UniMovers' Community Outreach Manager

Ashlyn is a homegrown Iowan (go Cyclones!). She graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2023 with a degree in Business Administration, Marketing, Public Relations, and Communications. Now, she serves as UniMovers' Community Outreach Manager. In her free time, she loves to try new restaurants, travel, watch baseball, and spend time with her dog!

To get in contact with her regarding blog partnerships at UniMovers please email blog@unimovers.com.