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The Best Of: Moving Tips for Renters

Over the course of our blogging time, we’ve come up with a myriad of helpful tips and tricks for renting, apartment living and moving. So, we decided to do a “best of” piece that highlights all of our favorite tips and tricks and puts them into one big blog post for you to easily access whenever you have to move.

Before Moving:

Find an Apartment You Can Afford

Most experts suggest that you should not spend more than 30 percent of your income after taxes on rent. So before you start looking for apartment complexes, determine your budget. Use a budgeting app like Mint or use a good, old-fashioned spreadsheet. Do your research on the cost of living in your area (this includes utilities, internet, gas, food, and entertainment), and then see what you can afford in rent. Once you have a set budget, stick to it! Only visit communities that fall within your budget range so you’re not tempted to splurge on a home you can’t afford.

Research Your Location

There are many factors to consider when choosing your location. How far is it from work? What will traffic be like during your commute? Are you near family and friends? Are you in a safe neighborhood? Are there good schools nearby for your kids to attend? All of these factors are important, but you need to decide which ones are most important to your lifestyle.

  • Go through your daily routine and see how your neighborhood affects it.
  • Do you exercise before work? Then maybe you want to be near a running trail or your gym.
  • Do your kids walk home from school? This means you need to be under a mile away.
  • Do you go out on the weekends to try trendy restaurants or the latest brewery? You might want to live downtown.
  • Do your research and then visit your top choices multiple times. Go during the day and night as well as on different days of the week so you can gauge the noise and activity level, if you feel safe, and what the community atmosphere is like. This will help you determine if you’ll be comfortable in the area long term.

Pre-Move Tips

  • You’re about to make a bit of a mess with the move so do a deep clean of the empty house before moving in. If you don’t have time for every room, at least get the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Take photos of all rooms before moving anything in especially if you hire movers. Any unwanted dings, scratches or damages can be taken care of if you have proof.
  • Be sure to change your address at least two weeks before you move. Set up mail forwarding with the local post office.
  • Sell items that you think are too valuable to donate and give away anything that isn’t. Use eBay or Craigslist to help lighten the load.

Time to Move! 

Packing Up Your Apartment:

  • Pack essentials in different boxes than everything else.
  • Use clear, plastic boxes, for essentials that way you can easily access them when you are ready to unpack. 
  • Use clothing or linens to protect dishes and fragile items. This will help you save money on bubble wrap.
  • Use socks for glasses and stemware for extra protection. Just make sure they’re clean; the socks, and the stemware.
  • When labeling boxes, don’t just write what’s inside them, but where they go as well. This will help if you have movers or friends helping you move.
    • Use Colorful and Descriptive Labels!

Some More Creative Hacks

  • Fill your boxes with contents from only one room. Don’t mix and match, unless you want to spend a lot of time sorting out where everything is.
  • Use suitcases, baskets, hampers, drawers, and other containers as boxes. This will save space in the moving truck and money on boxes.
  • Pack plates and dishes vertically, so they look like records. This helps prevent them from breaking because they can better absorb any impact.
  • Put masking tape in a large X across any mirrors to help them absorb any shock and prevent them from falling out of the frame.
  • Store screws, bolts, nails, and other small tools in plastic bags and label what furniture they belong to. If you can, it’s also a good idea to tape the bags to the table, chair, or other item they belong to.
  • Take a picture of the back of your electronics to remember how they were set up. This could save you a headache if you lost the manual or are not tech-savvy.
  • Store jewelry in egg cartons to prevent them from getting tangled or lost. Just be sure to tape the carton shut so nothing comes loose.
  • Hire professional movers to transport any valuables. While it may cost more upfront, it is better than having to replace an expensive item that could get damaged.

Once You’ve Moved In:

Items to Buy First:

  • Mattress – While you might think an air mattress will work for a little while, you’ll miss a real bed after about a week. When preparing for a move, budget for a mattress, if you don’t already have one to move. A good mattress is worth the investment.
  • Bed frame – while you’re investing in the mattress, pony up and spend the extra $50 on a bed frame. Sleeping on a mattress on the floor is fine, but you will come to appreciate the bed frame once you have it.
  • Cooking supplies – You’ll need some of the basic kitchen supplies to start. Get a few easy items like a frying pan, baking sheet, pasta pot, and appropriate cooking utensils like tongs, spatula, and mixing spoons. Depending on how much of an at home chef you are, you won’t need too much advanced kitchen equipment. But you’ll want to have the right supplies to make a simple box of mac n cheese.
  • Glasses, plates and silver wear – even if you’re doing a simple meal on the couch (or the ground) you’ll need kitchen basics. So get a few plates, glasses and silver wear.

There you have it — the best of moving tips! Have any you’d like to share? Let us know!

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