How to Set Up Your First Apartment

You’re striking out on your own, and that’s exciting! But it’s also overwhelming. Setting up your first apartment is its own unique brand of stressful because you don’t have experience or stuff. Here’s what you need to know before you start.

Before you move anything in…

While the apartment is still empty, clean it! This is the best time to get in a real deep clean because there’s no furniture to reckon with. Exercise healthy skepticism if the landlord says the place will be cleaned before you move in.

Set up utilities. Your landlord can tell you what companies provide electricity, water, and internet. Set up accounts before your move-in date. Try to call the companies at least a week or two ahead of time so you don’t go without.

Finally, be sure to change your address on your subscription services, credit cards, bank accounts, and with the post office. Bonus perk? Changing your address with the post office will probably treat you to some sweet home goods coupons to set up your new digs.

Assembling the move-in list…

It’s easy to get carried away and overspend when setting up a new place. Don’t fall into this trap. Remember, you have all the time in the world to flesh out and spruce up your new pad. To start, think through your most basic needs: a place to sleep, a place to sit, a functional kitchen, and a functional bathroom. From there, you can assess your space and decide what else you want to set up. More storage? A reading nook? A dedicated work/study space? A dining table? It all depends on your lifestyle and priorities.

There’s no shame in getting your needs met in the short-term free or cheap, then investing in nicer pieces over time. Take to Facebook, the family group chat, and Goodwill. Use milk crates for storage and call it a hipster aesthetic. Get creative.

And, don’t forget the personal touch.

Bare walls can be maddeningly dull, but you don’t have thousands to spend on décor. Opt for one big statement piece – peel-able wallpaper, a patterned tapestry, or an accent rug – to give a room some color and style. Or, print out some cherished photos of friends and family and throw them in dollar store frames.


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