When I first started preparing to move into my “big girl” apartment after graduation, I thought I understood everything that I needed to do.

Turns out, I was very, very wrong.

When I was in college, I lived in an apartment complex that catered toward students — aka: We were extremely spoiled. They made everything so easy. Utilities were included in our rent, the apartment was completely furnished, we didn’t have to set up cable, Wi-Fi was already included and our water/power was controlled by the complex. All I basically had to do was move my clothes in.

When I moved into my apartment after graduation, I was in for a huge shock, as I’m sure most of you will be as you take this step in the next few months.

Very stupidly, I assumed my power would be on when I got there — wrong. I was stuck moving stuff in and sweating profusely, thanks to the fact there was no AC. If you live somewhere where you’re going to have to get the power turned on, make this your first priority. It will be worth paying for an extra day or two that you’re not using just to make sure that you’ll have it taken care of when you actually do move in.

I understood I’d need to get my cable set up, but I had no idea how time-consuming it would be. I had to schedule a time for the cable crew to come out and set everything up. And even after that, I had  to go to Best Buy and buy a router before I could even start setting my wireless Internet connection up. Here’s what I learned: When finding a home internet provider and/ or a cable provider, make sure you understand what is included. I assumed a router would be included — it wasn’t. Make sure you ask questions if you don’t understand what’s paid for with your fee.

The worst part of it all, though, was having to pay for a bunch of furniture at once. Since I had lived in campus housing for two years and in a furnished apartment the other two, I didn’t have anything to start with. If you aren’t aware, furnishing an apartment can be pretty expensive — especially when  you’re trying to do it at once with a non-existent budget. Try to start building up your furniture set as soon as you can — your wallet will thank you later.

Here’s a checklist of what you need to take care of before moving in:

  • Contact your local electric provider and make sure you’ll have the power turned on.
  • Buy an Internet/cable plan. Make sure your budget can handle it.
  • Get a moving quote early and save accordingly for your move-in fees.
  • Have your basic furniture needs met — a bed, dressers, a table, a couch, etc.
  • Add your local law enforcement’s non-emergency number to your cellphone. You never know when you’ll need it!
  • Find out the emergency maintenance number and add it to your phone.
  • Have flashlights and candles on hand in case the power goes out.

What advice do you have for moving in to a new apartment?

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