Are you moving into your first apartment? That’s an exciting time! Whether this is your first apartment after college or from your parents’ house or you’re downsizing from a home to an apartment, this is what you need to know to have a stress-free experience.

If It’s Your First Apartment of Your Own…

If you’re moving out on your own for the first time, an apartment is a great place to start. Apartment leases are generally short-term, so you don’t have to make a major commitment. Plus, they’re equipped with large appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, washers and dryers that you probably aren’t ready to buy for yourself yet. For the ultimate convenience, some apartments even come furnished already.

Here are some tips for making the most of your first apartment:

  • Pay rent that is under 50% (but ideally closer to 30%) of your monthly income. Some landlords may even be willing to negotiate.
  • Read your lease agreement CAREFULLY. Don’t just sign it without reading. Ask your landlord questions about deposits or providing notice when your lease expires, and do your best to create a good relationship with him or her.
  • Before moving in, inspect your apartment and document any damage or appliances that are not working properly. Keep a copy for yourself and provide one for the manager. Ask the manager to sign both copies.
  • Save money on utilities by adopting energy-efficient habits. Turn off lights when you’re not in the room and don’t leave electronics plugged in and running when you’re not using them.
  • Make your place feel like home, but don’t spend a fortune trying to decorate your place all at once. Do it gradually, and start with a few of your favorite things you already own. Check Pinterest for inexpensive decorating tips. On top of that, the Craigslist “free stuff” page is a great way to find some hidden gems or pallets for those Pinterest projects.

Read on to find out what you shouldn’t forget when stocking your new place.

Apartment Essentials Checklist

You’ll need to make a shopping list of apartment essentials to buy, too. Here are some ideas of where to start:

  • Dishes, glasses, and silverware
  • Pots and pans
  • Cooking utensils
  • Trash can and bags
  • Bedding and mattress
  • Nightstand
  • Hangers
  • Sofa
  • Kitchen table
  • Chairs
  • Toolkit
  • Shower curtain
  • Bath mat
  • Toiletries
  • Towels and linens
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Coffee table

If you want to start with the bare minimum, consider this: you’ll need a place to eat, to sleep, and to sit. Revise your list with that in mind.

If You’re Downsizing…

Moving from a house to an apartment can be an overwhelming experience, but it doesn’t have to be if you play it smart and plan ahead. Make sure you actually see the apartment you’ll be moving into — not just the model unit — beforehand. This way, you’re aware of the exact layout and can anticipate how much of your stuff will fit.

The first thing you’ll likely have to do is a purge of your belongings. To do this, check out our guide to getting rid of stuff. Good places to start purging are your kitchen utensils, unused appliances, clothes, junk drawers, and toiletries. More downsizing tips include:

  • Measure your furniture to make sure it will fit in your apartment.
  • Stock up on storage options — storage units, ottomans with storage, storage cubes, wall shelves, under-the-bed storage bags, and boxes… these are all your friends!
  • Move your large items into the apartment first.
  • Digitize your family photos and videos.
  • Embrace a minimalist lifestyle: think less is more.
  • Have a positive attitude.

Ameritex’s roots are in apartment moving, and we want to help you enjoy living in your first apartment. Fill out the form above for a free apartment moving quote, or call us today at 713-484-6683.