Moving after college? Just as one chapter of your life comes to a close, a new, equally exciting and potentially intimidating chapter begins. You’ve successfully completed your college education and now you’re off to immerse yourself into the “real world”. Whether you’ve secured the job of your dreams, or you’ve snatched that perfect apartment in your favorite city, the transition from college life to apartment living can be overwhelming. To ease your troubles, here are some tips and advice to help make your move as smooth as possible.
Moving On Up
Chances are you don’t have a ton of things to take with you. Even if you’ve somehow managed to collect some larger furniture, it may be in your best interest to sell these to incoming freshman or list them on Craigslist. Begin by packing the things you know you will not need immediately, leave your toiletries and clothes last. Be sure to write clear and legible descriptions on the boxes to avoid confusion upon arrival.
Relocating to a new city is considerably less stressful when you’re carrying less baggage. If you can fit your clothing, personal items and any technology into your car, that is your best bet. Otherwise, check out prices with your local U-Haul to see about renting a truck for the trek. U-Haul offers 10 and 14 ft. long trucks that should fit all the furniture from an apartment. Ensure you’ve taken the time to thoughtfully plan your route and map out any places to spend the night if necessary.
Once you’ve made it to your new destination, take the time to unload your vehicle and immediately start unpacking. You’ll be happy you chose not to prolong the process. Get familiar with your unit, creating a place for every item to help keep your space organized and clean. Locate the nearest grocery store and 24-hour pharmacy. MovinGal can help you find what services are near you. Invest in a water filtration system to ensure you’ve always got good drinking water on hand. Stock up on some food essentials to get you through the rest of the move, and be sure to purchase a basic first aid kit.
*Tip – Make arrangements to have your utilities set up in advance. Don’t procrastinate. Gas and electric and cable companies are generally booked out at least a week, if not longer. Give yourself enough time to schedule the appointments and ensure you’ll be free on those particular days. Otherwise you’re looking at days worth of cold showers and bumming internet off a neighbor. Keep in mind that if you are still working to establish credit, they may require a deposit. Most utilities will run a credit report on you prior to setting up your account.
Depending on what items you’ve brought with you versus what items the unit is supplying, a bed, a place to sit like a couch or love seat and a place to eat or do work should be your first furniture priority. Check out the local mattress warehouses to get the best deals on new beds, some even include free delivery with your purchase. If your city has a local Ikea location, make a trip and browse the different living room and office furniture available. While it may be a pain to assemble, the items are trendy, durable and incredibly cost conscious. Target, Costco and Sam’s Club have furniture that may fit your needs. Warehouse clubs do not have delivery so you may want to keep that U-Haul an extra day if you are planning on purchasing furnishings.
*Tip – Ikea occasionally offers free delivery on certain purchases and items. Check your local retailer for more information. If your city doesn’t have a conveniently located store, opt for second-hand boutiques or flea markets. You can often times find great furniture finds at a discount. Just be careful because bed bugs have made a come back.
Home Sweet Home
The first step to finding home sweet home is answering the most agonizing questions facing a graduate. Do I move back home? In 2012, 26 percent of millennials (ages 18 to 31) were living in their parents’ home, according to the Pew Research Center. The option certainly makes sense with the expected savings on rent, food and furnishings and the abundance of student loans. However, if you jump at a job opportunity, it’ll be time to decorate your new abode. Introduce any mementos you may have, from pictures to posters to sentimental wall art. Give the apartment touches of you through accent furniture or some patterned window dressings, also great for added privacy. Pending your landlords permission, paint an accent wall or stencil an inspirational quote.
Maria Garcia is freelance writer, grad student, and aspiring financial planner.