The Ultimate Moving Guide For Renters

While moving may leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, the process doesn’t have to be chaotic. If you prepare ahead of time and keep yourself organized, moving can be relatively effortless.

That’s why we created this guide for you. From finding simple solutions for utility setup to streamlining the packing process, we have every tip you need to become a moving pro.

3 Tips to Make Your Next Move Easy

  1. Remember that you don’t have to go through this process alone! TurboTenant partners with the best local moversutility updater, and renters insurance provider to help you every step of the way.
  2. If you prefer to sweat it out yourself, try to start the packing process as early as possible. Don’t procrastinate, or your move-out day will be hectic.
  3. Communicate with your landlord before and after move-in as needed to ensure you’re on the same page about your new rental unit.

Now, let’s jump into everything you need to know to streamline your next move.

Organizing, Packing, & Prepping

Packing up your life is no small feat, but that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful.

Use this move to get organized by donating or throwing away things you don’t need anymore.

Don’t put off packing until the week before you move. Begin far before your move date ever arrives.

Oh, and don’t break the bank on boxes. You can find free moving boxes in a variety of places. From liquor stores to Craigslist to bookstores, you can find free boxes around town.

Be sure to opt for small boxes rather than big ones; packing dozens of small boxes is far easier on your back than packing everything into massive boxes. Put your lightest items in large boxes, such as puffy comforters, and pack your heaviest items, such as books, in a suitcase on wheels.

While you are packing and organizing your belongings, put everything into one of the following pilesRemember to tackle one room at a time to stay organized. Start with rooms you use the least, such as guest rooms, and work your way to the areas you use most, like your kitchen.

While you tackle each space, create a list of the items in the room and number your boxes as you pack. Use your master sheet of belongings to correlate box numbers with belongings. This system will help you stay organized as you unpack, allowing you to find the most important items first. If you make your list on the computer, you can create a searchable spreadsheet, which will make locating important items after you move simple and quick.

If you wind up with a large array of items you can sell, consider holding a garage sale before you leave.

Don’t forget to create yourself an overnight bag when you get down to packing some of your last belongings. Depending on how far you’re moving, you might need a full week’s worth of clothes and toiletries. Be sure you keep medicine in your overnight bag as well.

Have Pets?

If you are moving and you own pets, don’t forget to pack them an overnight bag too! Create a small bag of items they will need, such as food, snacks, and toys.

Cleaning & Getting Your Deposit Back

As a renter, you likely had to put a security deposit down when you moved into your apartment or home. When you are moving out, you undoubtedly hope to get every penny of your deposit back. However, in order to successfully receive your deposit back, you need to leave the property in as good of condition as it was when you moved in.

To get your deposit back:

  1. Deep clean every part of the home. It’s crucial that you take the time to truly clean every component of the property before you leave. Wipe down the baseboards, clean the blinds, and scrub down your fridge. As you pack up each room, clean every surface from shelves to drawers to everything in between.
    Bonus Tip: To make baseboards, walls, and every white surface in your house look new again without hours of painting, opt for magic erasers. Be sure to test the eraser on a small surface area first.
  2. Take note of any damages and have them repaired. Did you leave nail holes in the walls? Is there a stain on the carpet? Make sure you take care of every one of these details before you leave the property. Fill in holes with spackle and cover them with a matching paint color. Hire a professional carpet cleaner if needed or rent a unit from your local grocery store.
  3. Take photos before you leave. It is ideal to do a walkthrough with your landlord before you leave to ensure you are on the same page about the condition of the property. However, if you cannot do an in-person walkthrough with your landlord to have them sign off on the condition, be sure to take clear photos of every room and every appliance. The more photos you have to prove the condition of the property, the better. It is hard to fight the word of your landlord without solid proof.

The best way to get your deposit back is to be a responsible renter and to communicate clearly with your landlord. If you have taken good care of the property, there’s no reason to not get your deposit back in full. However, if you know you have damaged the property, be realistic about how much of the deposit you can recover.

Pro Tip:

Do a mock inspection with a friend. Have them look for any damages or areas that have not been thoroughly cleaned. A second set of eyes can help you notice things you otherwise may have missed.

Moving Services

When it comes to actually moving your belongings, there are a few different approaches you can take:

  • You can hire a team of movers to pack up the moving truck, drive to your new place, and unpack it.
  • You can hire a team to pack your entire house and move it.
  • You can do it yourself and rent a moving truck that you pack, drive, and unload on your own.

The decision will ultimately come down to your budget and how many belongings you have.  However, if you own large furniture, appliances, and other heavy objects, hiring movers is worth every penny.

If you do hire movers, be sure you document everything. Take photos of the condition of everything you own prior to the move and keep track of every valuable item.

Pro Tip:

When the day of your move arrives, be sure you do a walkthrough of your new rental before you begin unpacking the moving truck. Fill out a condition report and take photos of any damages you notice. Ideally, you should do a walkthrough with your new landlord the day you move-in, but when this isn’t possible, take detailed notes with corresponding photos to ensure you don’t lose your deposit down the road for existing damages.

Renters Insurance

When you are moving from one rental to another, be sure you don’t neglect to update your renters insurance. If you don’t currently have a renters insurance policy, now is a great time to purchase this helpful resource.

Renters insurance will protect your belongings from damage, theft, and most forms of destruction. In fact, renters insurance will cover:

  • Your belongings everywhere you go. With renters insurance, you will not only protect your belongings when they are at home, but you will also protect your belongings wherever you go.
  • Lawsuits. If you hurt someone or cause damage to another person’s property, your renters insurance can protect you against lawsuits and the correlated expenses.
  • Reasonable medical expenses. If someone gets hurt while they are visiting you at your rental, you can use your renters insurance to protect yourself from high medical costs.

As a renter, you can purchase insurance for extremely low costs. With plans starting as low as $8 a month, it is simple to protect yourself from financial loss. Learn more about the benefits of renters insurance.

Utility Setup & Address Change

Prior to your move, you will want to place an address change notification with USPS. This will help prevent your mail from getting lost while you transition to a new location. While it is important to update your bank account information with your new address, an address change will at least ensure any important bills and letters arrive at your new rental.

One of the most time-consuming and often frustrating tasks when you are moving is turning off your current utilities, transferring services, and setting up new utilities. Depending on where you are moving, different utilities will be handled by either private companies or city utilities.

If you have the option for private utilities, be sure to shop around for the best price.

Pro Tip:

To save time and make setting up your utilities extremely simple, opt for a service that easily locates every option you have. TurboTenant can help! Check out Updater for a simple way to set up all your utilities at once.

Storage Units

When you move from one rental to another, you may lose square footage or extra storage space. While you might be able to get rid of some belongings, there might be items you truly need or are valuable enough to store. In this case, look for a storage unit near your new rental.

To find the best storage unit deals:

  • Always look online. Looking online will provide you with better pricing. Ask for specials and current deals if you go in person to find a unit.
  • Depending on the market, shop early. If you are moving to an area with a limited supply of storage units, begin your search at least a month in advance.
  • See if you can get a moving truck included. Many storage facilities also have moving trucks available. Oftentimes, if you are renting a storage unit, you will be allowed to use a moving truck at no additional cost. So it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Pro Tip:

When choosing a storage unit size, use the following easy chart to determine which size is right for you:

A reference guide to storage sizes

Setting Up Your New Home

Once you have packed up your belongings, cleaned your old place, and endured the physical move, it is time to set up your new home. Take a deep breath and realize the worst is truly behind you. Now it’s time to unpack and create your new space.

While staring at piles of boxes and stacked up furniture can leave you feeling overwhelmed, take it one step at a time. Start by measuring your new space to determine the best layout for all your belongings. Determine where bookshelves, couches, chairs, desks, and beds will go. Once you have the furniture in place, you can begin unpacking your belongings.

If you followed our organization tips, open up your spreadsheet of belongings and determine which numbered boxes are a high priority. If any boxes are in the wrong room, move them to the appropriate place.

Start by unpacking your must-haves. Usually, items on this list include kitchen goods and clothing items. Books and decor can wait till later. Start with one room and unpack all high priority items. Be sure to organize as you go, breaking down boxes and keeping areas clean. This will prevent you from feeling buried in a mess while you unpack.

Pro Tip:

Part of moving into a new home is understanding what the expectations are for you in this new place. Read over your lease thoroughly and be sure you clearly understand what responsibilities you have to your landlord. When in doubt, contact your landlord for clarification. This will help your transition to a new property go smoothly without any misunderstandings between you and your new landlord.


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