A College Girl’s Guide: 10 Things to Do Before Move-in: Apartment Style!


So, this year’s move in process is a little bit {a lot} more stressful than years past because I only have 1 week to pack after coming back from Houston & Florida! Luckily, I can make a lot of preparations from my various locations across the country. Stressed about moving into an apartment after dorm life? Keep reading to see how I plan to skip the mental breakdowns!

1. Talk to your roommates.

I’m super excited to be living with some of my best friends this year in our very own apartment! The first things I wanted to think about were my bedroom decorations which I wrote very detailed descriptions about in this post. But, a lot of your big ticket appliances that won’t be furnished by the apartment complex will have to be agreed upon by all of you– together! Also, I think this is a good opportunity to lay out guidelines for the year like cleaning, guests, and social gatherings. Here are some things you might need to buy as a team:

  • Microwave
  • Toaster
  • Coffee brewer
  • Vacuum
  • Blender
  • Waffle Maker ~ #priorities
  • Handheld Mixer
  • Pots & Pans
  • Dinnerware & Silverware
  • Living Room TV
  • Living Room Decorations
  • Living Room Furniture
  • Cleaning Supplies

2. Set a budget for yourself.

This was a huge requirement for me because I go a little bit crazy in Anthropologie, Target, and any other store with gold foil decor. I’m working this summer, and I’m putting money aside for apartment shopping and into my savings. I highly recommend making a reasonable budget, hitting up discount stores like TJ Maxx and Homegoods, and skipping out on the 32 dollar candles. Okay? okay.

3. Contact your apartment complex and confirm everything.

Sooooo, sometimes apartment management can be a pain to deal with and slightly unorganized. Don’t be surprised if someone suddenly can’t find your file or your apartment assignment. Call the complex at least 2 weeks before move in and confirm your apartment number, instructions for move in day, and any additional questions you might have about wall decorations, laundry, and/or security.

4. Figure out what clothes you’re trying to stuff into your closet.

So, most of your closets are gonna be larger than the dorm wardrobe you were accustomed to. My closet is a lot larger which has positive and negative consequences. I’ve decided that I’ll be bringing a majority of my closet to Chapel Hill because I’ll be spending more than 80% of my year in Chapel Hill. I’m bringing clothing from all 4 seasons with me so that it I can always have access to it in case of travel or emergency.

5. Get rid of old clothes.

You’ve decided what clothes you want to bring to school with you and now it’s time to get rid of some stuff. Any clothes that don’t fit or that you’ll never wear again need to go. If you haven’t touched it in 6 months, toss it. You can also look into giving away clothes that are in good condition. While you’re doing all of this closet organization, you might want to look into buying new hangers. The felt ones are #life.

6. Make sure you have all your big girl, #adulting necessities.

No more living under your parent’s roof or the protection of your university. It’s time for all of us to step up and practice some of our adulting skills. Here are somethings that I think it’s time for you to take possession of:

  • Birth certificate {at least a copy}
  • Social Security Card
  • Insurance Card– health, car, rental, etc.
  • Checkbook
  • Student Loan and Other Financial Information

7. Separate all of your stuff by room and label EVERYTHING.

Hopefully, you’ll have plenty of help moving into your new place, and if not, it won’t matter because having everything labeled is a win in any situation. My brother isn’t gonna understand my color coding system, so I recommend that you physically write out wherever the boxes or bags go. My bathroom, my bedroom, living room, kitchen, and laundry are some basic categories that anyone can understand. I’m personally thinking that boxes might be the easiest way to pack for apartment life and I’ll have to leave my storage containers behind in the dorm years.

8. Research and DIY some organizational crafts.

This is basically your mini house now, which means you’ll be responsible for cleaning and organizing. Living with an OCD mother has prepared me for this extensively. Since I’m a broke college student though, I’ll need cheap organizational hacks to keep everything organized. I’d love to buy all of the Pampered Chef catalogue but that’s just not feasible {looking at you Mom.} You can find some super cute ones on my Pinterest Board: Apartment Life!

9. Pick out your decor, but don’t buy any random trinkets yet!

Big ticket items like lamps, full length mirrors, coffee carts, and TV stands are all perfectly fine to purchase especially if you already have an idea of what you want to decorate with and how the layout will look. But, all of the random coffee table books and wall art can wait until after you have everything else set up. That way you won’t a) buy stuff you won’t end up using and b) over clutter your space. Here are some things I’m definitely purchasing before I move in:

  • A Comforter
  • Table Lamp
  • Desk supplies
  • towels
  • Coffee Carts

10. Spend some time with your friends and family at home.

It’ll be a hectic few days when you start the move in process and your parents will be freaked out that you don’t have a “responsible” RA living down the hall from you. But, make sure you make some time for them before you leave for school again. Living in an apartment means you’ll probably be less likely to come home for long periods during breaks and you’ll officially have a place away from home that is always open to you. That can be scary for parents. It also means you might not see friends from home a lot either; so make time for them, too.


  • Courtney

    I’m moving into my first apartment next Friday and I’m so excited and nervous! My anxiety levels are through the roof and I keep having dreams of things going wrong, lol. Thank you for sharing, I didn’t even think to label things by room. This will be really helpful on where boxes need to go when bringing them all inside.

    • YES! Labeling boxes makes life so much easier, so that anyone can unpack it and put it where it needs to go in your new place aka less stress on me! Thanks for reading and good luck with moving into your new place! **also, my anxiety is so high i think it breaks the meter hahaha**
      xo, Gabby