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Old 03-16-2014, 07:56 PM   #1
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How should I prepare to move into an apartment?

So apartment hunting is over and I just signed the lease yesterday! I was so excited with the idea of moving into an apartment that it didn't even hit me until now that I have no idea if I am prepared!

I officially have exactly 1 month to get my things in order for the big day but I don't know what exactly I need. None of my friends or siblings have lived in apartments and my parents haven't done any apartment shopping since the 90's so I have no one to ask. I currently rent out the basement of my friends parents house so they've supplied me with a lot of things here.

Furniture wise all I own is a bedroom set and I don't believe they supply anything so I have no idea how that is supposed to work... I really should have prepared myself a bit more for this moment. So any advice? What should I expect and what should I make sure I have before moving in? I think I may be in over my head right now unless I am over thinking things.
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:59 PM   #2
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I have a bathroom vanity to hold most of my bathroom supplies. I also have a comfort chair to relax in, and a printer. Shower curtains too. A drying rack to dry my dishes.
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:42 PM   #3
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Hmmm, I myself haven't moved to an apartment yet (I wish I could though, darn rent prices >.<) but one thing that comes to mind that I would think a lot of people forget to have when moving in their first apartment/home is a nice, big first-aid kit, along with typical pain-killers, disinfectant alcohol, cream for injuries, medication for cold, etc. If the apartment's gonna be your home, you have to be safe like a home should be! ^^

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Old 03-16-2014, 09:00 PM   #4
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The four utilities you'll have to prepare to pay for are:
  • water
  • electric
  • telephone
  • cable Internet
If you already pay for a cell phone where you live right now, then that's one of three down. Many apartments will offer to pay the water bill for you (it will be in the lease) as an incentive to get you to sign, the understanding being that you don't abuse water usage. So that will leave you with just electric and Internet to pay for each month as far as new monthly expenses are concerned. Depending on where you live, how well-insulted your apartment is, etc, you can expect to pay roughly $50 to $150/mo on electric and $40 to $80/mo on cable Internet.

As far as furnishings for the apartment are concerned, the main things you will want are:
  • a bed for the bedroom
  • a couch for the living room for guests
  • a table for the living room for guests
Anything else is gravy. And you could even go without a bed, push come to shove: I did this from 2004 to 2006, sleeping on a 3" mattress for a roll-away bed.

You will want a minimum of one large plate, one bowl, one spoon, one fork, and one sharp knife for your kitchen. If you have the money, go ahead and get a complete dining set for four. This will not only be nice for you living on your own but will also be prudent for when you have company over. If you don't have the money, just save up for it until you do.

You'll want to get a laundry basket if you do not have one already.

If you plan to cook (I'd recommend it), you will want at least one frying pan and one medium-sized pot. A large pot is a nice bonus that will allow you to cook stews and other meals that require the volume of a large pot to properly prepare, but you will only need a medium-sized pot for making things like pasta, rice, or boiled potatoes. A small pot can also be a nice bonus for stovetop heating of canned vegetables, making hardboiled eggs, etc, but again is a bonus item. Pressure cookers and crockpots are minor luxury items to be invested in only if you anticipate using them frequently, I would say. Baking equipment is another luxury but one you'll probably want to get soon: good ceramics for roasting meat, cheap aluminum pans and trays for baking brownies, cakes, and cookies.

If you own many books and DVDs or soon plan to, you can go to Menards, Wal-Mart, or similar and get some self-assembly bookshelves.

Most office supply stores will sell self-assembly office desks. If you're a part-time or full-time student and will be using a desktop computer, an office desk is a sound investment.

If you are not a student and if your workplace does not permit you to print, you will likely want to invest in a printer at some point. I didn't own a printer of my own until several years after I first lived in an apartment, and when I did get one I was actually still in school. But I would definitely have had to get one even sooner had I not been a student. Printers are one of those things where you won't use them that often but every once in a while you find that you have to use one and not owning your own printer can be a huge inconvenience. I would recommend a basic black-and-white laserjet printer. Inkjet printers run out of ink so very quickly. If you don't think you need color, you can get a reliable laserjet printer for an affordable price and its cartridge should last you for a long time. I've only had to replace my cartridge twice in ~six years of ownership. Your mileage may vary, but I can promise you that it will last longer than an inkjet printer would.

If your apartment does not have overhead lighting in the bedroom, you'll want at least one lamp in your bedroom, possibly more. (I have two, but only use one at a time.) Likewise, if your living room does not have overhead lighting, you will want at least one lamp.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:45 PM   #5
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Having almost always lived in apartments, I can confirm that Talon is pretty much spot on in what he's saying. However, he is missing a few things.

1. You may have to also pay for gas if your apartment has anything that runs on it. Most of the time this is covered in the lease in the same way as water, but occasionally it's not.

2. If you're going to cook yourself (I also recommend it), get a cutting board. It'll greatly increase the variety of food you can make.

3. Until you get things properly furnished with shelves, drawers, whatever, boxes are your friend. Keep things organized and labeled so your new home doesn't get easily trashed.

4. For god's sake make sure to buy a plunger you never know when you'll need it.

5. You'll probably also have to bury a kitchen trashcan. Most places don't come with one and if your place does you're incredibly lucky.

That's about all I can think of at the moment. I'm sure I'm missing something but I'm not sure as to what.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:21 PM   #6
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I just moved this weekend! The previous owner left an extra roll of toilet paper in the bathroom. Very kind of her, especially since I forgot to bring some. You probably want toilet paper, trash bags, and paper towels as soon as you move in. Possibly also a microwave oven. You might not do a lot of cooking the first few days.

I find it strange that you would come back to UPN of all places to ask this, though. =3=

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Old 03-17-2014, 04:53 AM   #7
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For the first day or two:

In addition to most of the above, it would be wise to locate the nearest 24 hour grocery store and/or eatery. Assuming possibility with time frame you'll likely want to eat there when moving in because locating cooking stuff you've packed plus using an unfamiliar kitchen plus the stress of moving often makes cooking n unnecessary extra worry. But you'll be hungry so you'll want to eat. If there's nothing available, take food that doesn't require cooking with you or call for take out.

Make sure to take a sleeping bag, this prevents the need to sort out bedding or a bed but allows you to sleep. It may be that you move in and then it is too late to sort out such things until the morning. Make sure to have toiletries in an easy to find bag for the same reason. Also have a phone charger out.

In the slightly longer term, all of the above. Locate nearby cash machines, locate neighbours who are unlikely to steal from you, establish short cuts to public transport and amenities.
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:26 AM   #8
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I am really glad I asked, everyone has given me things I would not have thought about otherwise! It's all of these little things that don't seem to come to mind very easily. I would have never thought of a shower curtain and probably would have forgot about toilet paper because I was too distracted by the big things. I seem to have a nice list going now, it doesn't seem too bad.

Originally Posted by The Morg View Post
I find it strange that you would come back to UPN of all places to ask this, though. =3=
I am always lingering. I have been here for the past 11 years, I rarely have anything to say but I don't go away. I knew several of you live in apartments so I figured this would be my best bet.
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:19 PM   #9
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One thing I think no one else has touched on is to make sure you know what kind of heating you have, whether its electric, gas, or oil, as that's also an extra cost. Granted, you could be living in the Bahamas but its always nice to know.
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:56 PM   #10
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The only thing I can think of that I'm not sure anyone else has said is that you need a dresser for your clothes unless your closet is really big, in which case just get a bunch of hangars.

Make sure you know where the laundry machine is, and if you have to pay for it, and keep an eye on how many quarters you have, and how much detergent you have left.

I'm seconding the boxes thing: I'm currently using a packing box (well, it's one of those plastic tub things) as a bedside table with no complaints.

Things I really wish I had: more bookshelves. During the semester I accrue an awful lot of books, and so there are about 5 precariously stacked piles of books around my apartment right now. A good desk chair is a necessity, even more so than a couch, I'd say. At least for an extremely busy person...
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Old 03-17-2014, 03:01 PM   #11
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Yeah I had an option to include oil heat in my rent and I opted not to. I don't know if that was a mistake or not. It was going to be $63 more per month and that would be all year around even when I won't be using heat and I felt like that might be a lot in the long run. I don't know how much it will be though so I may regret that decision.
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