We recently had the pleasure (depending on your personal definition of the word) of helping our recently graduated daughter move into her first grownup apartment. While she’d been living in a college apartment for a few years with room mates and all that entails, this was a whole new experience…for us all.
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Here are some moving day tips to help when it’s your turn to move your child into their first “adult” apartment. Hopefully, our experience will prove beneficial when it’s time to help your own child move into that first grownup apartment.
When your child starts looking for that first apartment
- Help her set up a realistic budget before looking at any apartments. She may forget that now that she’s in the adult world expenses like health insurance will be coming out of her check. Our daughter worked two part-time jobs all the way through college so she was familiar with the taxes that would be withheld, but the insurance premiums hadn’t crossed her mind.
- Check last year’s tax table to determine if she’ll be in a different tax bracket to help plan the budget.
- List the criteria for choosing an apartment. What amenities are the most important considerations? Proximity to work? Number of bedrooms? Availability of parking? Pet friendly? Making a list of what you’d like to have will help your child focus in on the absolute must haves…and separate those from the wants. Remember that proximity to work cuts down on gas expenses. Amenities offered at the new apartment complex can help cut down on expenses like gym memberships (if they offer a workout facility) and internet expenses (if this is provided).
- Let your fingers do the walking…from the internet.
- Narrow the choices and then make appointments to tour the facility and apartments you’re interested in. Online photos are great but nothing beats seeing something in the flesh. Sometimes the photos make things look better but sometimes an actual tour points out things that the listing and photos left out.
- Get all the details in writing. You’ll want to have time to read the fine print and make sure that your young adult child is thoroughly familiar with everything.
- Get a firm contract or job offer (on paper) before signing anything! The last thing you need is for your child to get locked into paying rent on an apartment should a job offer fall through at the last minute and a relocation be necessary.
- Don’t forget to ask about deposits, pet rent (I didn’t even know this was a thing), what utilities are included and estimates for those that aren’t included. Put these in the budget before you sign on the dotted line.
- Sign the lease and determine a move-in date.
- Take note of things that are – and aren’t provided. Are there blinds on windows? Do the rooms have ceiling fans? What appliances are furnished? This will help you make your shopping list (or a list of future gift ideas).
- Get (or draw) a scale drawing of the apartment and determine where you want to place furniture before it’s brought inside.
- Get the lowdown on things like trash disposal (our daughter was shocked to learn that it would cost her $150 to leave a ratty couch by the dumpster. Her old college apartment had no such prohibitions. In fact, most items left by dumpsters were snatched up by other apartment dwellers looking for free items…not so in more adult apartment facilities).
Before moving day
- Line up muscle to help do the heavy lifting.
- If doing a self-move, be sure to bring supplies: moving dolly, straps, tape, boxes and box cutters, rope, plastic tarp, quilted coverings to protect furniture, step-ladder or stool, basic tools to assemble furniture and bedding.
- Arrange a time for utilities to be turned on (wi-fi connections, cable or satellite TV, etc.)
- Arrange for appliance and furniture deliveries when someone will be at the apartment to receive them.
- If this is taking place outside your home area, be sure to let your credit card company and/or bank know about additional or higher than usual purchases that may come through while the move is taking place. A washer and dryer almost didn’t get delivered because my credit card company thought something was amiss since I’d ordered a set to be delivered to a city that was obviously not where we lived. While I was glad the company was on the lookout for fraud, this could have been a major fiasco had we not learned about the problem in time to make arrangements and talk to their customer service department and get the purchase cleared.
- Get room and window measurements. In fact, it’s helpful to make scale drawings that include door and window placement. This will help as you plan for items to purchase or hand-me-down items that you’re bringing from home.
- Purchase things like night lights, light bulbs, extension cords, surge protectors, etc. before you start moving and placing furniture. It’s easier to have these things already plugged in and ready to go.
- If you can, go ahead and hang things like curtain rods and/or window blinds. It’s so much easier to do this before the apartment gets filled up with furniture and boxes. You’ll also want these things done before the first night is spent in the apartment. It’s safer to have all the windows covered and no one wants to accidentally share “too much” with new neighbors!
- Know where you can part extra vehicles or moving trucks or trailers.
Items you’ll need for the move
- Moving dolly
- Moving truck, trailer, or pickup truck
- moving pads to protect furniture from scratching
- boxes and packing material
- lots of tape!
Moving day tips
- Start early…and know that things will take longer than you plan for.
- Don’t dominate! Remember this is your child’s apartment so let them take the lead as much as possible.
Things that will make the move easier on everyone
Remember that moving is tiring…for everyone. These moving day tips helped make the day a little bit less exhausting than it could have been.
Having some snacks or drinks available in the fridge will help provide an energy boost when folks are getting tired. Even just having some water bottles chilled will help make people feel better when they’re beginning to wear down.
You’ll need a few places for people to sit while you’re waiting for all the furniture to be delivered. While the young ones may be fine to sit on the floor, a couple of stools or folding chairs give tired parents a place to rest their bones for a minute while they also give their sore feet a break.
If there is a patio or balcony attached to the apartment then it’s nice to go ahead and get these to use inside while you’re waiting for the “real” furniture to arrive or to be assembled.
Good items to give your daughter
A cute welcome mat – this will not only reflect her style and welcome guests, but it will help keep carpets and floors clean – which is always a good thing when you’ve plunked down money on that security deposit.
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