Ultimate Guide to Apartment Moving

The possibilities of apartment moving

A new apartment comes with endless potential — new areas to explore, new neighbors to meet, maybe a new job or educational opportunities waiting. However, before beginning life in a new apartment, you have to tackle the moving process: apartment hunting, packing and actually moving in. Learn what to expect depending on your circumstances, and how to manage all of the details of apartment moving.

Stacks of boxes, furniture and other furnishings as person moves from an apartment.


Moving to an apartment?

If you’re moving into your first apartment — whether you’re a student graduating, leaving a roommate or downsizing — there are a few initial steps to take. It starts with finding the perfect place to live.

Apartment hunting is a process, so allow plenty of time before the target move-in date. You’ll need to locate potential rentals, which can be done on your own using online listings or by working with a realtor. After narrowing down the list based on needs and budget, it’s time to visit properties. Check out the amenities, the condition of the apartment, and the neighborhood. When deciding on a place to rent, look over the lease carefully. If everything seems good, put in an application. There may be fees for a background check or deposits to pay, but then your apartment will be ready to go! 

The next step is to consider renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance covers personal property (while the landlord is typically responsible for the structure). Look over what your lease covers and then talk with an insurance agent to determine whether or not it’s a good choice to cover your personal property.  

Once you know where you’re moving (and have talked with any roommates), it’s time to gather the stuff needed to make it feel like home. Use this list of things you need in a new apartment to collect housewares, décor items and belongings for daily life. It includes a printable list, so you can check off items as you gather them. 

Moving from one apartment to another?

If you’re moving out of one apartment and into another, you’ll still have to follow the steps outlined above to move in, but equally important is the move-out process. Start by going over the current lease and comply with any move-out terms (ample notice, procedures, etc.). Breaking your agreement could result in penalties or even legal action, so it’s vital to do it by the book. 

After talking with your landlord, it’s time to complete the things you need to do to get your deposit back. That may mean completing repairs, having the carpets cleaned or just doing a deep clean on the entire apartment.

Need help getting everything looking sparkling again? Find out how to clean your apartment like a pro!

Going from a renter to a homeowner?

If you’ve weighed options between renting vs. owning a home, in some cases, it may make sense to move out of an apartment and into a more permanent dwelling. For this type of relocation, the timing is everything. Consider the lease end date, and begin looking for homes months in advance. Closing times can average 30-60 days, so you’ll typically want to have a deal in the works before putting in your notice to move, so you aren’t paying both rent and house payments concurrently. If you’re planning on purchasing new items and furniture for the home, wait and have them delivered after the move to avoid having to pay for both delivery and moving services.

How to pack an apartment

Packing an apartment isn’t much different from packing a house. It might include fewer belongings, and more limited space to stack boxes up as you go. Because of this, many people wait to pack until closer to the move date. How much time will you need to pack up an apartment?

If you can devote entire days to packing, here’s what to expect:

  • A studio to a one-bedroom apartment: 1-2 days
  • A two-bedroom apartment: 2-3 days
  • A three-bedroom apartment: 3-5 days

If you’re trying to move even more quickly, it’s possible to expedite that process by having friends pitch in on the packing process or by hiring help. 

Make sure you have two things ready before starting: supplies and a plan.  An apartment moving kit includes the boxes and supplies needed to pack a studio apartment (and other kits are available for bigger places). For the plan, read through these packing tips to make sure you know how best to protect everything.  

Apartment moving tips

Because apartment moves mean dealing with conditions like shared parking areas, landlords and leases, there are important tips to keep in mind.

Secure parking

For both moves in and out of apartments, parking is something to arrange beforehand. Extra parking can be hard to find at a busy complex, so it’s essential to arrange for it in advance. Find out if you can leave equipment overnight and if it can be dropped off any time (or if specific times are preferred). Ask about where to park as well. To avoid issues, get permission before parking trailers, trucks or containers, and reserve the spots if possible. Learn more about parking moving equipment at apartment complexes.

If you can’t park at your apartment complex, U-Pack® may still be able to help. We have solutions for situations where parking is an issue. Speak with a moving consultant to explore your options. 

Make a plan for the elevator

If you plan on using the elevator to move, make sure you aren’t disrupting the entire building. Check if there’s a freight elevator available to use or if you can reserve one of the main ones for a certain block of time. If there’s no way to reserve the elevator, try to use it when there aren’t a ton of neighbors coming and going, and use the stairs for lighter items.

Record any damage

When moving apartments, it’s important to thoroughly inspect the unit for damage. Check the walls, floors, doors, windows and appliances, and note any damages on the rental agreement. Be very specific and take pictures, so there’s proof if conflicts arise.

If possible, have your landlord or manager walk through each room with you when it’s empty — either after you’ve moved out or before moving in. If there are issues, handle them together. This process also ensures everything is recorded on the inspection accurately.   

Apartment moving services

While getting your items to the new place is just one step of the process, it may be the biggest to coordinate. It’s critical to find a moving service that can work with restrictions in your complex, and hopefully, also give you an affordable rate. 

For local moves, it may be most economical to move by yourself, but long-distance moves require a little extra work. U-Pack handles apartment moves of all sizes — from a small studio to a large condo. We’re a “you pack, we drive” service with rates comparable to truck rental. We can work around unique parking situations, guide you and help you plan the services you need. 

U-Pack is easy, convenient and flexible (you only pay for the space you use). Get a free quote online or by calling 844-362-5303844-594-3077

If you have any questions about apartment moving, leave a comment below or call one of our helpful moving consultants. We’re happy to help!