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Seven Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving into an Apartment

by Ananya Panchal

Moving into an apartment is arguably one of the most stressful things you will ever do. But, moving into an unfurnished apartment—in the middle of a pandemic—comes with its own set of unique challenges.

After a cross-country flight from the high-risk state of California, a mice infestation and several coronavirus tests later, I think I know a thing or two about moving into an apartment.

Here are seven things I wish I knew before my lease began on September 1.

1. Before you move in, find and order a mattress. Most other things like a dresser, bookshelf, hangers and even a bed frame you can order once you get to the apartment. It might even be beneficial to wait until you arrive to order items that are not immediately necessary, in order to accurately measure and match colors.

2. Have a place to stay the night you move in, and maybe even the next. Our lease began on Sept. 1. It is now Sept. 22, and still only two thirds of us have a mattress. Have a backup plan, because you most likely will not be sleeping in your apartment the first night of your lease.

3. Get in touch with past residents. This is the only way to get the hot gossip and deep, dark secrets of the apartment building. This is how we found out about our unfortunate mice problem.

4. Know your landlord or property manager and have them on speed dial. Broken lightbulbs, floor cracks and peeling walls are not your responsibility. Be patient with your landlord, as I am sure they are dealing with several complaints during move-in month; but, be assertive.

5. Have a conversation about who is allowed in the apartment. This is a pandemic-specific tip, but have a chat with your roomies before moving in about who can—and cannot—come into the apartment depending on each tenant’s risk and comfort levels. Are parents allowed? Significant others? Mutual friends? People who are regularly tested? Be communicative and understanding. This one (slightly awkward) conversation will save you from even more uncomfortable confrontations down the road.

6. Figure out if you are grocery shopping together and splitting the cost, each shopping for yourselves or a combination of the two. My roomies and I are currently on the latter plan. We split common items like eggs, olive oil, salt, pepper…etc. But, we buy our own milks (shout out Oatly), fruits, veggies and meat.

7. Get a toolbox. This is self-explanatory. You will be building. A lot. Measuring tape, a level and a screwdriver will be your new best friends for the first month.

Our oven still does not work, my blinds broke again yesterday and my roommate gets splinters every time she opens her door. September 1st was probably the most overwhelming day of college so far, but now I live with my two best friends. We are all healthy, we have an adorable house cat named Leo and we finally eat meals at a dining table instead of the floor. It all works out in the end.


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