Steve Harper

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you must have survived your big move.

So, what’s next?


Before you conquer your new town, you’ve got an apartment full of boxes to tame – and a new apartment and neighborhood to make your own.

Day One
You've finally arrived at your new apartment. Sprawled on the sofa with your tired feet plunked on a cardboard box, you feel relief knowing what you've accomplished. Everything you own is here with you, albeit in boxes, bags and suitcases.

At this point, resist the temptation to start unpacking the first thing you see. You’re tired and hungry. Enjoy some local takeout or, better yet, eat out somewhere comfy nearby before you tackle the next phase of settling in.

Hopefully, for your first night in your new apartment, your priority box has the items you need most urgently standing by. Locate any medications you use daily and keep them clear of the unpacking chaos that will no doubt ensue in the coming days. Find your bedding, pajamas and alarm clock. If you have to work tomorrow, unpack just those clothes you’ll need in the morning and then find your breakfast foods and coffee maker, as well as your bathroom essentials. If it’s late already, stop unpacking for the day and get a good night’s sleep.

You've Moved In... Now What?Week One
If your boxes found their way into the right rooms, your organization skills have served you well. Maybe you used good professional movers or had very organized friends helping you. If your belongings are nowhere near their target locations, sort them by room or area before unpacking anything. With everything in its target zone, you can prioritize what to unpack first.

Over the next week, you can gradually begin to unpack things according to their priority. This means that the kitchen and bathroom are higher priorities than your books, wall hangings and hobby supplies. Keep in mind that, before unpacking, it may be a good idea to wash surfaces or hire a professional cleaning company, if the apartment was delivered to you “broom clean" only.

You may be happy using your smartphone for now, but some time during the first few days, you’ll want to set up your apartment Wi-Fi. Also ensure that all utilities have been transferred and are working, and that you are beginning to receive your snail mail.

You've Moved In... Now What?Month One
During the first month, complete all necessary address change notifications. Gradually add decorative touches and find the best furniture arrangements that may not have been obvious, at first. You may have decided to do some painting, install a closet organizing system or take on other DIY projects. (Be sure that you have your landlord’s blessing before making alterations to your apartment, however.)

Now is also the time to settle into the neighborhood. Try out nearby services, like the gym, yoga studio, green grocer and restaurants. You may want to locate nearby parks for jogging or cycling routes, as well as checking out tourist attractions to share with friends and family when they visit. Most of all, enjoy the feeling of coming home to your own place as you settle in more and more each day.

Settling in and getting used to a new place to live may take some time. Give yourself the space and breathing room to unpack at your own pace and really enjoy your new world.

Photo credit: Shutterstock / alphaspirit, auremar, haveseen



About The Author

Steve Harper enjoys seeking out and writing about topics that matter to renters for the Apartment Guide Blog. He hails from Atlanta, Georgia. Find Steve on Google.