33 Expert Apartment Moving Tips for an Easy Relocation

Moving is never easy, but there are some things you can do to make it as painless as possible and avoid making rookie moving mistakes. Take a look at this list of apartment moving tips and give some a try. What do you have to lose?

1. Purge, purge, purge

You have to go through all of your stuff anyway to pack up, so why not get rid of things you don’t really need? That way, you don’t have to bother with relocating it. If you can’t remember the last time you wore something or you simply don’t need it, stick it in a “donate” pile and arrange for a donation pick-up service. Anything that’s broken or stained beyond repair should get trashed. If you’re feeling really industrious, ask management if you can hold a “garage sale” of sorts and make some money off of your junk. Or, sell it online and put the profits toward your moving budget.

2. Scrounge around for boxes

Unless this is a last-minute move, you have time to find moving boxes for free. Ask friends to hold onto their Amazon or other delivery boxes, then go pick them up. Inquire with the manager while shopping for groceries, too! The local liquor store probably has oodles of partitioned boxes that are perfect for moving glassware or even shoes. This will save you a bundle of cash.

Pro tip: If they aren’t moving boxes, they likely won’t have handles on the side. Before filling them up, make your own triangular handles using a box cutter (flat side up).

Making a moving list

3. Make a list

Start a list of anything that needs fixing or touching-up before you vacate the premises. These should only be things for which you’re responsible, like holes in the wall from hanging pictures. Leaky faucets and wonky garbage disposals are management’s responsibility. While you’re at it, make a separate list of the stuff the manager needs to fix before new tenants move in. That’s just nice.

4. Soap it up

Speaking of holes in the wall, an easy way to plug them is to rub a bar of soap on the wall until the hole fills in. That’s one easy and cheap moving hack!

5. Keep documents handy

Make a file of important documents and don’t pack it up with everything else. This can include recent bills, the lease you’re ending, the lease you’re starting, identification documents and so on. If someone offers you a last-minute, free trip to Paris you’re gonna want to go, not lament the fact that your passport is in a box somewhere.

6. Itemize moving expenses

This apartment moving tip affects your bottom line directly. Many moving-related costs are tax-deductible, so keep a detailed list, along with receipts for tax season. Examples of tax-deductible expenses include moving company services, DIY storage pods or moving trucks, gas/moving mileage rate, move insurance, packing supplies and storage for up to 30 days after moving items out, but before going into the new place.

7. Make it a no-brainer where boxes will go

A little extra effort on the front end will make unpacking that much easier. Color-code boxes by room, so you and any helpers can easily know where to put them.

Take care of your pets while moving

8. Provide for pets

Moving with pets is a stressful situation for furry friends. Make a plan well ahead of time as to where they’ll spend the day. If a friend or family member isn’t able to take them in, reserve a boarding spot at a local vet. Be sure the pet is up to date on vetting, however, or else they can refuse to keep Fido or Fluffy.

9. Label everything

A little effort on the front end will save a ton of time come unpacking day. On the outside of the box, jot down the basics of what’s in each one. This way, you won’t unpack your Christmas décor before much more important items.

10. Pack a personal items box

Put everything you need to stay safe and functioning at peak potential in a “moving day” box. This includes things like prescription medications, eyeglasses, phone chargers, laptop computers and toothbrushes. Be sure to include bedding, so you have somewhere to sleep on the first night. And don’t forget the coffee maker!

11. Be space smart

You can efficiently pack smaller things, like spices and miscellaneous kitchen items inside of pots, tupperware and other items. Think of them as smaller moving boxes! Doing this drastically cuts down on the number of boxes necessary. The same concept goes for things like suitcases, too, which you can load with heavier items, like books, for painless transport.

12. Pack dishes vertically

Resist the instinct to lay dishes down flat inside the boxes. Instead, invest in dish separators and pack them vertically. Don’t forget to prominently label boxes with dishes and glasses as “fragile!”

13. Don’t dump the dresser drawers

Think of drawers as really sturdy boxes. Take drawers out of the dresser, leave everything and wrap them up with plastic wrap. Uncover at the new place, then pop ’em back in where they go. Easy-peasy.


14. Put the toaster in a bag

Here’s an apartment moving tip that prevents unnecessary mess. Unless it’s brand-new, even the cleanest toaster has crumbs hidden in every crevice. Pack your toaster in a bag to avoid sharing the crumbs with everything else in the box.

15. Pack clothes in a moving wardrobe

This is another expense that’s totally worth it. Keep clothes on hangers, then pack them that way in a hanging wardrobe. Then, all you have to do is transfer the items into the new closet. It’s much faster, plus imagine all of the folding, unfolding and ironing you’ll save yourself!

Don’t have the budget for wardrobe boxes? Take a handful of hanging clothes at a time, then wrap them up in a garbage bag and tie up the end.

16. Pack knives in oven mitts

Keep your fingers safe from unintentional pokes and pack knives inside oven mitts, points facing inward. Put a rubber band around the open end to keep them from falling out. Label the box accordingly, though, for safety’s sake.

17. Sock it to stemware

If you have stemware you want to keep intact, add an extra layer of protection by putting each glass or goblet inside a clean sock.

18. Prevent spills

There’s no need to toss out that half-full bottle of shampoo. Simply cover it up with plastic wrap to avoid a hair product catastrophe! Do the same with other liquid products, like cooking oil or laundry detergent. This apartment moving tip is key to keeping everything from getting all sticky and icky.

Cutlery in the drawer

19. Wrap it up

Don’t even bother taking cutlery out of the drawer organizer. Instead, put plastic wrap on it and call it a day!

20. Buy some bubble wrap

Don’t chance it with your breakables. Wrap mirrors, picture frames and other fragile items with bubble wrap and place inside boxes or cardboard sleeves as needed. Cris-cross tape in an “X” on the glass to further reduce breakage potential. Once you start unpacking, pop that bubble wrap for a wonderfully stress-reducing activity!

21. Use TP rolls for cords

Avoid the need for mass-untangling. Wrap cords around empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls to keep them neat and easy to unroll. Label accordingly.

22. Be creative with packing materials

Fun as it is, use bubble wrap sparingly. Minimize the amount of Earth-unfriendly bubble wrap by packing breakable items with soft things like sheets, towels and blankets. You need them anyway, so you might as well make ’em pull double-duty!

Woman taking picture of her kitchen

23. Document everything in pictures

Take pictures of everything to keep an easy-to-reference photographic record. This goes for the aesthetic stuff (the way your framed prints are hung) to the technical (which cords go in which spot on the back of the TV).

24. Keep cleaning supplies separate and accessible

You’ll probably have to do a quick spray-down once the place you’re vacating is empty, and it’s always a good idea to spritz countertops in a new place (even if it’s been cleaned). Keep supplies like antibacterial spray, paper towels, window cleaner, etc. in a clearly labeled box. Throw in some laundry and dish detergent for good measure.

25. Keep hardware together

Label and box up any hardware that’s removed from the furniture. Or use painter’s tape to secure it to the inside of the piece. Don’t forget other removable bits, like couch feet!

26. Pack a cooler

On moving day, fill a cooler with bottled waters, sodas and snacks to keep everyone hydrated and fed. Watered, full-bellied helpers are happy helpers.

27. Have a first aid kit

Hopefully, everything goes off without a hitch on moving day. If, however, someone gets a paper cut or has a headache, be prepared with a fully-stocked first-aid kit.

28. Take control of valuables

Whether they’re worth a lot of money or just valuable for sentimental reasons, big-ticket items are best handled by you. Movers are great and all, but things get lost and broken all the time. Better to remove the middleman, in the case of those extra-important baubles and trinkets.

Man measuring the couch

29. Take some measurements

Just because you fit a big piece of furniture in your current abode with no problem doesn’t mean it’ll easily go through your new doorway. Measure any large pieces and entry points to make sure they match up. If not, a door may have to come off the hinges or the piece taken apart.

30. Take a toolbox

To that end, always have a basic toolbox available for moving day. No one wants to buy a hammer or screwdriver because they can’t find theirs in a box.

31. Unpack strategically

As tempting as it is to knock out the kitchen, you probably don’t need Grandma’s casserole dish anytime soon. Instead, order out for food and prioritize unpacking the bedroom and bathroom right away.

32. Take your time

Don’t unpack everything the first night. In fact, that’s just a recipe for chaos. Take your time and go room-by-room. Thoughtfully decide where everything should go, break down the boxes for that room to save space, then move to the next area.

33. Keep a knife around

Speaking of boxes, keep a utility knife in your pocket to easily break them down. Wear protective gloves to avoid scraping, cutting or damaging your skin.

Let the apartment moving games begin!

Don’t dread a move — it’s an exciting time! Instead, be as intentional as possible about the way you do things. Follow these apartment moving tips and anticipate the joys of setting up a cool, new home just the way you want it.


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