Woman with keys standing outside new home

Moving into your first apartment

Is it time? Are you moving into your first apartment?  We’re here to help.  Here’s our checklist, to get you off on the right foot!

Before you move

Finding your new home

  • Check out the neighbourhoods you’ve got in the running.
    • Where do you want to be?
    • Is it safe?
    • Can you commute to work?
    • Will you have everything you need nearby?
  • Research prices in the neighbourhood before committing – you don’t want to find out you’re paying too much once you’ve already agreed!
  • If it’s a popular neighbourhood, make sure you set out to impress the landlords, as you might be competing with other folks. (Tip: Landlords want people who will help take care of the place and be quiet, considerate neighbours. So, don’t turn up with a huge pack of dogs, boasting about all the wild parties you’re going to be having.  Just don’t.)
  • When viewing places, take a tape measure and make notes about the layout and any crucial dimensions. There’s no point bringing over furniture and belongings that won’t fit.
  • Ask questions about whether fixtures and fittings will remain. If you’ll need curtains right away, you’d better take some measurements of the windows and note any colour schemes that you want to work with.
  • Make sure you read the fine print in anything you sign. This is always good advice, but when moving into a new place, you might find that they have detailed rules, such as: hours you’re allowed to move in at; or whether you’re allowed to use the elevator during the move; etc.

Ready to pack

  • Begin planning and packing right away. Don’t leave it till the last minute and then get overwhelmed.  Need somewhere to start?  Try our Moving Checklist here:
  • Hiring packers or a mover? Get it booked as soon as you know your dates, to make sure they’re available when you need them.
  • If you’re moving yourself, start collecting boxes for the move. You might find them on community sites, such as Craigslist, or maybe your local grocery store can hook you up.

Newfound independence

  • Call to set up utilities a few weeks before you move in, to make sure they have time to switch the account over to your new address.
  • If you’ve never lived alone before you’ll be better prepared if you have these items with you:
    • Basic tool kit, including a toilet plunger
    • Garbage bags
    • Cleaning equipment
      • Detergents and rags
      • Toilet cleaner
      • Vacuum
      • Dustpan and brush
      • Broom
      • Mop
    • First aid kit
    • Flashlight
    • Sheets and comforter – no one wants a rough sleep after a move, so make sure you’ll be comfy
    • Laundry detergent (and maybe some coins, if you need them for the machines)
    • Basic kitchen items:
      • Kettle
      • Toaster
      • Dish soap and sponges
      • Tea towels
      • Crockery
      • Cutlery
      • Pots, pans and utensils
      • Cups and glasses
      • Sieve
      • Colander
      • Grater
    • Basic bathroom items
      • Towels
      • Toilet paper
      • Toiletries
      • Shower curtain and bath mat
    • Make sure you keep essentials like the ones above in a Moving Day Kit, so that you can get access to it immediately. Read here for more details:

Planning for your destination

    • Research the area you’re moving to. Make notes on where to find nearby amenities, like the local pharmacy, take-out restaurants, grocery stores, etc.  You never know what you might need right away… milk, band aids, pizza?
    • If you have access to the new pad before you move in, why not give it a paint job? It’ll brighten things up and is much easier to do before the furniture arrives than after.

Once you’re in

On moving day

  • Make sure your utilities are connected. Don’t wait until the call centres are closed to find out that you need to speak to someone!
  • If there are any issues that you need to report to your landlord, do it immediately – you never know how long they might take to get dealt with.

First couple of days

  • Find out how your mail gets delivered. Maybe it comes to your door, or you might have to find a mailbox somewhere in the building, or at the post office.
  • Find out when your garbage collection happens, and your options for recycling and composting.
  • Get some basic groceries in right away. If you haven’t lived alone before, you might find it useful to take advantage of grocery-delivery or meal-planning services, if they’re offered locally.  If you’ve never cooked for yourself before, head over to this site for some basics for beginners: https://www.thekitchn.com/the-beginners-guide-to-meal-planning-what-to-know-how-to-succeed-and-what-to-skip-242413
  • When it comes to getting your home straight, start with your entryway. It will be nicer to come home to than a stack of boxes.  (And it will make visitors think you’re an unpacking dynamo!)
  • Get an extra set of keys cut, in case you get locked out. Make sure you keep them somewhere secure or with a trusted friend or relative.
  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functional and change batteries or replace detectors, if not.
  • Go for a walk and familiarise yourself with your new neighbourhood.
  • Introduce yourself to the neighbours. Introducing yourself will start things off in a friendly manner and it will give you a chance to ask questions about mail / garbage / local issues.  (However, try to avoid inconvenient times, such as first thing in the morning or at dinner time.)
  • Make sure you’ve changed your address with everyone: friends; family; banks and credit cards; work; etc.

As you start to feel settled

  • Don’t underestimate the finer details: get your pictures hung; add an eye-pleasing lamp, a rug and some houseplants. Your new place will feel like home in no time!
  • If you didn’t rent moving boxes, you’ll need to find a way to get your boxes reused, so that you’re not left with a lot of cardboard to recycle.
  • Have a house-warming party! It doesn’t have to be a big deal – even a small celebration will be a new memory for your new home!