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The Thrilling but Terrifying Test of Adulthood: Moving into Your First Apartment

Excited, scared, nervous… all of the above? It’s a whirlwind of emotions that usually comes with the decision to kick off this adventure called “living on your own”. We know it’s not easy but don’t let yourself be carried away by scary thoughts and negative scenarios. There are so many good reasons to move away in your 20s. Let’s go over some practical tips on moving into your first apartment.

Signing the Lease and Getting Your First Apartment

Once you settle on the right fit for you, the next step to moving into your first apartment is going over the paperwork and signing the lease. Although this might seem like the easiest part, be aware that it’s actually one of the most important things you’ll do before moving in your first apartment. Start by carefully reading the lease and don’t shy away from asking all the questions you can think of. Take your time, put them on a piece of paper and bring them up with your landlord.

Speaking of your landlord, it would be wise to also do a walk-through together if possible, take photos and fill out a condition report during the first days. Check everything, from faucets to lights and if you spot something that’s not quite right, give the landlord a call and let them know.

Moving into your first apartment

Once the paperwork is done, get to know the place and start planning. Now let’s get to the most important thing: how to go about moving into your first apartment? Well, if it’s unfurnished, you’ll need to do some measuring and see how you’d fit the furniture, what length the curtains should be or where you’d like to place your favorite plants. Don’t do this alone, grab a friend or more and start brainstorming together, they will be able to help with decorating suggestions as well. Take into consideration the fact that if you’re moving from another state, you’ll also need plenty of boxes to pack all your stuff (there are several find free moving boxes). Furthermore, get in touch with a nationwide car shipping service for moving your car and belongings – all these will require planning ahead.

Want it or not, you’ll also have to think about the financial part. Aside from the monthly rent that can get as high as $4,000 in places like San FranciscoNew York or Boston, you’ll also have to spend money on utilities and of course, groceries. Create a budget, see what your spending habits are, learn to manage your money and you’re all set! It would also be a good idea to try and cut unnecessary costs that might not have been very noticeable in the past but could really break the bank now.

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What to Do When Moving into Your First Apartment?

Make a list, check it… multiple times! To be on the safe side and make sure you don’t forget anything, grab lots of paper, some pens and start writing. Thinking about what to pack first when moving? On the checklist should first go cleaning supplies as the place will probably need some cleaning before you even start moving into your first apartment. You should also add kitchen utensils since apparently even making a sandwich or tea requires planning ahead – who knew?

After that part is done and assuming the furniture is put into place, start unpacking asap! Don’t give in to procrastination and get your stuff sorted out. If you’re excited to settle in during the first days, you can go ahead and do that but avoid making any loud noises during the night or early morning. You wouldn’t want your neighbors complaining the first time they get to meet you.

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Make It Your Own, Have Fun & Enjoy the New Place

Last but not least, add a touch of personality to the apartment. Grab some plants, buy a wallpaper, add colorful curtains and get creative. You should, however, keep in mind that since the place is rented, you won’t be allowed to make any drastic changes like painting the walls or altering the furniture. Choose only the basic things you need for your first apartment and try not to spend too much money during the move-in process.

Decorating your first apartment

The apartment now looks exactly how you’ve always pictured so the next step is getting to know your neighbors and the area. No need for the old-fashioned baked goodies, just try to establish some friendly terms, explore the surrounding places and find your favorite spots. You’ll be spending a good chunk of your time in that neighborhood, therefore you should get to know its good and not so good parts as well.

Florentina Sarac
Florentina Sarac is a creative writer, editor, and researcher for RENTCafé. She covers a variety of topics, from real estate trends, demographic shifts, housing industry news and multifamily construction to homeownership, smart-home technology, personal finance and business. With a 9-year background in the real estate industry, Florentina has also penned articles for publications such as Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive and the National Apartment Association Magazine. You can connect with Florentina via email. Florentina’s work and expertise have been featured in several major U.S. and international publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bisnow, The Mercury News, Curbed, The NY Post, CBS News, Business Insider and She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish, as well as an M.A. in Multilingual and Multicultural Communication, which serve as a testament to her love of literature and language.

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