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Ultimate Guide to Apartment Moving

September 12th, 2016 - 3:07 PM

Apartment moving tips

Apartment living is ideal for all kinds of people – singles, newlyweds, students and anyone looking to downsize from a larger home. Apartments offer convenient floor plans and great amenities; but moving in to one can be intimidating if you’re unfamiliar with the process. It’s not just about finding the perfect place, packing up your stuff and settling in (though that can be hard enough). You’ll probably also encounter situations like parking the moving equipment, reserving the elevator and connecting your utilities that you may not know how to handle. The good news is apartment moves are nothing to worry about – all you need is a little information.

apartment movers

Understanding your apartment move

It’s important to understand all aspects of living in an apartment. After all, it’s your right as a tenant to be informed of legal issues, housing regulations and property rules. Before signing an agreement, make sure you ask these questions:

  • What are the terms of the lease? (ask about security deposits, too)
  • Are there any fees for having moving equipment on the property?
  • What’s included in the rent? What isn’t?
  • How are emergency repairs taken care of?
  • What’s the parking like?

Familiarizing yourself with the process of apartment moving and creating a rapport with the landlord can make your living situation more pleasant.

Tips for moving in

Moving into a new apartment is an exciting and busy time. Below are some tips to help guide you through the move-in process:

Packing and loading

You’ll need to pack up all the items you’ll be taking with you, so make sure you get sturdy, reliable packing materials.  U-Pack® offers a wide-selection of moving supplies on our online box store. And you’ll get FREE shipping on all orders, too!

Once you have the boxes and moving blankets you need, start packing. For some best practices and advice, check out these helpful packing tips. When everything is boxed up, you’re ready to load. Make sure all boxes are labeled with their contents and that all furniture is covered with moving pads or paper padding before loading the equipment.

Parking moving equipment

Parking at an apartment complex can be tricky. Some landlords may have no problem with moving equipment being on the property, some may have specific times they allow it and others may not allow it at all. Be sure to get permission before parking any big trailers, trucks or containers. If possible, you may want to reserve parking spaces.

Reserving an elevator

Living ten stories up will give you a beautiful view of the city, but carrying boxes and furniture up that many stairs would be a nightmare. Check to see if your apartment has a freight elevator. If it does, ask your landlord about reserving it. If it doesn’t, ask about setting aside a time to use the residential elevator – just try and choose a time that won’t inconvenience your new neighbors!

Recording damage

You probably won’t stay in this apartment forever, and eventually you’ll want to move out and get your deposit back. No one wants to pay for damages they didn’t cause. So, before you move everything in, walk through and record the wear and tear of the following:

  • Walls
  • Floors
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Appliances

Write these damages on your security deposit and be as specific as possible. It’s also a good idea to take pictures with digital dating as additional proof and even ask the landlord or property manager to be present as well. This way you can avoid conflicts when the time comes for you to move out.  

Furnishing/decorating an apartment  

Furnishing and decorating your apartment is the fun part! Just be sure anything you plan to do is allowed. Some properties may permit painting and hanging pictures with nails, while others don’t. Once you’ve figured out what you can do, start planning a design scheme with everything you need for a new apartment.  

Connecting utilities

While some apartments have utilities (gas, water, electricity) factored into the rent costs, others will require you to switch them into your name. Your landlord should be able to tell you which companies service the apartment complex, and you’ll need to visit their offices to have the billing set up and the utilities turned on before you move in so you aren't left in the dark or without running water.

Pro tip: Are you living with a roommate? Make arrangements for whose name will be on the bill and how you’ll split the cost. If possible, you may want to put both of your names on the bills to avoid conflicts.

Tips for moving out

Moving out of your apartment can be bittersweet. You’ve probably made a lot of great memories there, but are feeling ready to move on to something bigger and better – like maybe buying your first home. Whatever the reasoning is, you want to leave on a good note. The following tips can help you make a smooth transition: 

Inform your landlord

Check your lease for the proper instructions on how to give your landlord notice and how much notice is required (it could be a minimum of 30 days). Sometimes the best way to notify them is by writing a letter or calling, but you should stick to the process stated in your lease.

Packing and parking

This step can be completed the same way as when moving in. Remember to do the following:

  • Gather packing supplies
  • Reserve parking area for your moving equipment
  • Reserve freight or residential elevator

And always be careful when carrying furniture out – you don’t want to scrape up any walls or doors and risk losing your deposit to pay for repairs.  


After the apartment is empty, it’s time for some housework. Take the time to get everything looking as good as (or better than) it did when you moved in – getting your security deposit back in full could depend on how clean it is when you leave. Don’t forget to clean the:

  • Kitchen (including appliances – don’t forget inside the oven!)
  • Bathroom(s)
  • Bedroom(s)
  • Floors (sweeping, mopping, vacuuming)
  • Doors and windows (use glass cleaner where necessary)
  • Outside living space (balconies, patios, decks, etc.)

Get more information on how to clean your apartment like a pro.

Record damages

Once the apartment is empty of your items and fully cleaned, go ahead and record any damages again (old and new). We recommend recording the old damages again so you have proof of their existence and can even compare them to the photos you took when you moved in. For any new damages you may have caused, ask the owner about the best way to get those repaired. If they offer to take care of them, go ahead and give the landlord your new address so they can mail you any charges.

Schedule a final walkthrough 

If possible, have the landlord or manager do the final walkthrough with you. This way you can handle any major issues together, come to an agreement on what damages (if any) you should pay for and make sure everything is accurately recorded.  

Get the deposit back

Getting your deposit back can be a big deal. After all, it could be hundreds of dollars. If you don’t receive yours, make sure you know the tenant’s rights in your state so you can be sure your rights are being upheld. It’s OK to question your landlord about why you’re not getting your money back. If the property-owner can’t prove there have been damages that will cost the same amount or more than your security deposit, they may be legally required to write you a check.  On the other hand, be aware of the fact that if you leave the place trashed, you’re probably not getting your security deposit back.

Affordable apartment movers

Now that you know what to be aware of when moving apartments, the next thing to do is find a reliable moving company to help you out. If your new apartment is located within the current town or state you live, it may be easier and cheaper to load up your car and transfer your things over slowly. For state to state moves, a little extra work is required. But, using a long distance moving company like U-Pack makes it easier!

As a "you pack, we drive" service, U-Pack was designed with small moves in mind.  And our prices are comparable to truck rental. Here’s how it works:

  • We deliver a trailer or container to your location
  • You pack and load your items
  • We pick it up and deliver it to your new place (estimated transit time of 2-5 business days)
  • You unload your things
  • We pick up the empty equipment

It’s easy, convenient and you only pay for the space you use in the trailer (down to a 5 ft. minimum) or the number of containers you fill. Get a free online quote or call a U-Pack consultant at 800-413-4799 to see how much your move will cost.

Do you have questions about apartment moving? Leave us a comment below, we’re happy to help!

Resources for finding an apartment





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