Closeup of early 30's couple making decisions about what color their walls should be. They are in empty bedroom brainstorming about the design and colors, many paint cans are on the floor next to them.
Guide to NYC

What to Do When You First Move In

December 11, 2019

Moving into a new place is a fairly significant endeavor entailing lots of little and not-so-little details. There are things to keep track of, things and people to organize and supervise, logistics to work out before move-in day even comes around. With all of this in mind, it’s helpful to have a checklist of sorts, a basic rundown of what really needs doing, and when. To help with your next move, we’ve rounded up seven things you should do when you first move in. Hopefully, this checklist in hand, your next move is a successful and a seamless one.

Transfer or set up utilities

If you haven’t already done this ahead of time, you need to set up your utilities. After a long day of moving, unpacking, and organizing, the last thing you want is to realize that you never had the water turned on or that you don’t have Wi-Fi. In some instances, you can just transfer over your utilities and accounts from your former residence. In others, you may have to open up accounts with new companies. Whichever situation you find yourself in, your landlord, HOA, or the utility companies themselves should be able to give you some guidance on how to get started if you need it. 

Change your address

This is another necessity that is typically taken care of weeks before a move. Changing your address with the U.S. Postal Service and all other important companies (your bank, schools, insurance companies, etc.) will save you a massive headache down the line. Don’t forget to let your place of employment know that you’ve moved so that they can change your address on all relevant paperwork. And make sure that websites like Amazon (which store your shipping address to make checkout easier) have your new address and that your old one is deleted. Waiting for that new rug to arrive only to realize it got sent it to your last apartment? Not if you changed your address!

Record apartment damage

If you’re renting, the first thing you should do upon entering your new abode is to check for any damage. Search high and low, in closets, behind doors, check the ceiling, check the floors. Be sure to record any damage that you find, taking pictures, writing notes, and sending them along to your landlord or management company. They will then either fix the damage (ideally) or, at the very least, have documentation that the damage was there before your arrival. Assuming you don’t incur any damage yourself, this will save you your security deposit when you decide to move again. 


Paint the walls before you move your things in, and you’ll marvel at your forethought and intellect. You’ll realize even as you’re doing it how much faster the process is going without having to shuffle things around. Whether it’s a single accent wall or a whole room, right before you move your belongings in is the ideal time to get any and all painting done.

Do a deep clean

Most apartments will have been professionally cleaned after the previous tenants have vacated, and before you move in. However, this isn’t always the case, especially when turnaround times are tight. Before unpacking and putting away all your stuff, make sure to do a deep clean of your new place. From the inside of your cabinets to the baseboards and doorknobs, sanitize it all. There will never be a better or easier time to make sure everything is sparkling clean. 

Prepare to get organized

Whether your new apartment has zero storage space or loads of walk-in closets, you’ll likely need to lay some organizational groundwork before you can get settled in. You might need to install shelves or purchase bins to hold your off-season clothes, or even locate and rent a storage unit. Whatever it is, you’ll find unpacking and organizing so much easier if you’ve prepared the groundwork first.

Update your rental insurance

Unfortunately, disasters could care less about personal timelines. Theft, natural disasters, mold, floods, and other unexpected situations could happen your first night in your new place. In order to ensure that you’re prepared for whatever life throws at you, make sure that you update your rental insurance as soon as you move in. Whether that’s opening your first policy, or just adjusting your existing coverage to your new address, you’ll experience peace of mind knowing that you, and all of your belongings, are covered. Looking for a new renter’s insurance? Our favorite is TheGuarantors.

Need ideas on how to organize your new space? Check out our list of storage hacks.

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