First apartment? Here’s what you need to know

  |     |   Helpful Tips

If you are moving to an apartment for the first time—whether leaving a college dorm, downsizing from a home, or moving out from your family place—your mind is probably filled with moving logistics, packing lists, and best commutes to and from work or school. But there’s more to apartment living than making sure all your furniture fits perfectly! These five tips will help set you up for a fantastic apartment living experience.

1. Inspect your apartment unit thoroughly upon move-in

While some apartment communities allow you to see a model apartment—or your actual unit—many won’t give you access to your new space until move-in day. No matter how pressed you are for time, take an extra 30 minutes to an hour to go through your unit carefully, making note of anything that needs fixing or any condition that is present upon move-in that you did not create (such as a small stain on the carpet, scuffed walls, etc.) Document your review with photographs and send an email to your management company within the first week—and keep that email for your own review, later.

If you’re happy with the condition of your apartment, fantastic! Thank your apartment management for a job well done (they’ll appreciate it!) If, however, there’s anything that needs immediate (or eventual) repair, politely make that request at the point of move-in. Everyone is busy, and schedules are tight for both you and your apartment management group. It’s best to get anything addressed right away, both for your own comfort and to make sure you’re not held responsible for the damage down the line.

Another note: if something breaks/is damaged or you need maintenance several weeks or months into your lease…don’t delay, call management right away! It’s always best to deal with such issues quickly and completely.

2. Unpack right away

When you first move into your apartment, it can be overwhelming to figure out what should go where, but do yourself a favor and unpack immediately upon move-in. Decide what truly fits…and what doesn’t. Whatever doesn’t work for your space, either put it in storage, give it away or discard it. Also, go ahead and hang your photos and artwork, and set about decorating your space. It will make it feel like home much more quickly!

3. Keep things tidy with regular cleaning

As a follow-on to No. 2, start with a regular cleaning schedule when you first move in, and stick to it, month after month. From day-to-day tidying to keep everything in its place, to weekly or monthly deep cleaning routines, you will love your apartment even more if you keep it fresh and clean. The moment you feel overwhelmed with too much “stuff” in your place that keeps it from feeling light and open…it’s time to get rid of clutter. It sounds almost too simple to be true, but a clean apartment can do wonders for managing your stress and helping you feel good about your day. Keep yours looking great!

4. Be the best kind of neighbor

Unless you live in a standalone condo or townhome, you’re sharing walls with other residents. Be the neighbor you wish you would always have. Keep music/TV/gaming noise down during the quieter times of the night (or use headphones if you know it will be loud), don’t throw parties every weekend that go to the wee hours of the morning, and offer a smile and a wave to your neighbors when you see them. These simple steps can go a long way toward shared bliss in your apartment community.

What if the problem is the opposite, that you have a neighbor who is keeping you up late with too much noise and commotion on their side of the wall? The simplest (though not always easiest) solution is to knock on their door and ask them to keep down any noise that they can control (electronics, a barking dog, etc.). You can explain you need your sleep, that you’re working from home, etc. Another option is to contact your management company and ask them to issue a general email to all residents about noise. This keeps you (or your neighbor) from being singled out, but ideally will get the message across. If that fails, you can have your management company contact your neighbor directly, without implicating you. You deserve to enjoy a peaceful home experience!

5. Personalize your space

You may not own your new home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own. If you can change the paint color or put hooks in the wall (double check with your apartment management group first!), then you have lots of options, but even if you can’t, there are hundreds of fantastic decorating choices you can explore, from easy-stick temporary wallpaper to bright throw pillows, curtains and blankets to fun and funky furniture you pick up at second-hand stores or thrift markets. If cool and elegant is more your style, shop antique and estate sales or save up your money for items you really love. It’s your apartment, so make the choices that feel right for you!

Moving into your apartment can unleash a whirlwind of emotions—but with these easy steps, you’ll help make it an enjoyable and uplifting new start. Congratulations on your new apartment home!

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