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This post is about my top 5 tips when moving to your first apartment. (Included is a free apartment moving checklist and budgeting spreadsheet).
OMG! Are you moving to your first apartment? Exciting, right? I know this is the moment you have been waiting for all your life. Let me take a minute to first tell you CONGRATULATIONS!
I know that everything is becoming real as the moving day approaches. But Hold up! Wait a minute! Breathe in, Breathe out. WE ARE NOT PREPARED. This feeling of uncertainty can be extremely overwhelming and stressful. What’s my theme? Where do I buy the furniture from? How much do I spend?
Girl, I totally get it. These are valid questions we all have when we are moving out on our own. But HOLD UP, WAIT A MINUTE, BREATHE IN – BREATHE OUT, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. That is why I am here to provide you with a step-by-step guide and checklist that you will need when moving to your first apartment.
Let’s Budget, Shop, and Move-in!
The 5 essential tips for moving into your first apartment:
- Salvage & Shop
1. Planning For Your First Apartment
This is the initial step to take after you’ve decided that you want to move to your first apartment. At first, you should plan on how much you are willing to spend on rent/mortgage. It is totally a personal choice, but Dave Ramsey wisely recommends that “Your monthly rent or mortgage payment should be no more than 25% OF YOUR TAKE HOME PAY.” That way, you can still live comfortable life outside of your home. You can save, go out, travel, and do whatever floats your boat.
After you have budgeted your monthly rent, you should start looking for comparable units. Location is key. You should also pay close attention to other factors like pet policy, parking spots, and noise restrictions.
The process of finding what you love may take a long time. That is why I recommend starting your search for an apartment to live in 6 months in advance.
Next, you will sign a lease after you have found your dream apartment. A lease is usually a 12-month contract. In addition, the landlord usually requires a deposit fee that is equivalent to 1 month’s rent. Before you sign a lease, make sure you’re aware of the contract terms and conditions. And finally, make sure you have a copy of the lease contract agreement.
2. Budgeting For Your First Apartment
Ladies, ladies, ladies! I cannot emphasize enough how IMPORTANT it is to budget our hard-earned coins. Moving to a new apartment can be quite expensive. That is why we need to plan at least 3-6 months in advance.
In this way, you can save up ahead of time, shop, and have a smooth transition. The one costly thing you want to avoid is impulse buying. Let me tell you the truth! The last thing you want is to make rushed decisions and end up with buyer’s remorse.
When you’re moving to your first apartment you have to consider budgeting for these three things:
- First Month’s rent/ mortgage and deposit fee
- Utilities set up fees
- Furnishing cost (furniture, home décor)
Now that you have the budget down, let’s think about our next tip, the apartment theme.
3. Figure Out Your Theme
Yay, it’s theme time! We cannot proceed to shop without having an interior design theme. HOW DARE WE? We have to dig deep in our souls and ask ourselves, WHAT IS MY AESTHETIC?
Google, Pinterest, the Liketoknowit app, and Instagram are amazing platforms to find out what styles appeal to you.
For example, my aesthetic is a splash of minimalist, bohemian, mid-century modern, and a sprinkle of Kenyan artifacts. This may honestly seem all over the place, but you have to think about what makes your apartment feel like home. Don’t be scared to glam it up.
4. Free Apartment Checklist
Now that you know your desired aesthetics, the fourth step is to create a detailed apartment moving checklist.
Well, aren’t you lucky enough today? You don’t have to go through the struggle of lifting a pen. I’ve already created a FREE downloadable comprehensive apartment checklist just for you!
Guess what! On top of that, because I am a proud excel spreadsheet lover (Pause let take a sip of water), I’ve also created a comprehensive apartment budgeting spreadsheet. THIS IS A BONUS and a gift from me to you. Gosh! I know, you’re very much welcome. (wink wink).
Please note that you also don’t have to buy everything from this list. Honestly, I don’t have everything from this checklist list either. Try to get what you need, and only what you can afford. This checklist list is just meant to guide you when you’re shopping for your apartment.
5. Salvage & Shop
Whew! The checklist process was a breeze. Finally, this is the ultimate fun step. Now that we know our budget, our theme, and what items we need, IT’S TIME TO SHOP!
Hold up, hold your horses. Do not run to the store yet or purchase a single item without looking at what you currently have.
I know that most of us love everything new, but we have to be realistic. Most of the items that already own are in good condition, therefore, can be kept. On the contrary, I clearly understand that everybody’s aesthetics changes as they grow in life. I understand that you might not like to keep the pink dresser you own since high school. Just take a moment to see what you can salvage by doing a simple DIY paint.
Lastly, for any furniture items you don’t need, try selling them on the Facebook marketplace, consignment stores, or Let Go. Nevertheless, you can also donate to a restoration center or a church.
After you have sorted out your old items, then it’s time to go on a shopping spree. Just kidding! It’s time to go on a well-budgeted and organized shopping spree.
You can definitely get most apartment items from online stores or physical shops. If you decide to shop online, MAKE MAKE SURE you read the reviews. I usually purchase items with multiple reviews. Also, I suggest that you start window-shopping a couple of months in advance so that it’s not overwhelming.
If you’d like to shop furniture and decor online, I suggest Amazon and Wayfair for affordable items and West Elm for a more expensive taste.
Here are some of the cute things I got from Amazon:
Now that your apartment moving date is finally here, you can easily move in, settle, and relax.
On day 1, REMEMBER to take pictures of the apartment condition for constructive evidence. Make sure to let the landlord know of any existing damages immediately. You have to do this simple check so that you can get your deposit back when you’re moving out. Most landlords are great, but a few bad seeds might charge you on preexisting damages when moving out.
After you are all settled, you can lastly invite some pals over for a nice housewarming toast.
Lastly, I hope these 5 tips for moving to your first apartment are really helpful.
Once again, keep looking chic & classy just like a million bucks.