How to adjust to a new neighborhood and apartment

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Shutterstock/Samantha Shin/Thrillist

So you’ve picked a place and it’s you finally make the move. Congratulations! Nothing opens up as many possibilities as a new apartment (especially in a new neighborhood). Once you’ve got your boxes and mattress on the floor, it’s time to open a bottle of wine and start thinking about the next steps. These can feel overwhelming, but they’re also some of the funnest parts of the move. It’s also an important time to establish yourself in the neighborhood, so make those first impressions while you can (aka: on your own terms). Here are the best ways to get comfortable and love your new apartment:

Talk to locals

Falling in love with your new apartment begins even before you move. While doing your research on Apartments.com, try supplementing your search with IRL connections. Stop people in the hallways or lobby and ask them about the ups and downs of living in the area so you know what to expect before the moving trucks show up. (Especially on move-in day, you should also get advice from a local on traffic and parking issues on your street, which may save you a headache later.) And who knows, if you’re good enough at making friends, you might be Recruit a volunteer to help carry some furniture up the stairs.

Understand your schedule

Chances are you’ve planned your future commute before you even signed the lease. However, when setting your schedule, keep in mind how the neighborhood changes throughout the day and week. Before heading to the local coffee shop to get some work done, it’s helpful to know if it’s packed at the same time every day. Finding out bus routes, subway timetables, rush hours and the most important details of transport in the area will save you a lot of time in the long run and save you from being late next time you go to the airport.

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Moving in can be a saga, but Apartments.com makes everything else easy. You helped get over it 40 million Leases signed by happy tenants across the country so they can help you find your right spot. Their user-friendly interface helps simplify the process, with features like virtual tours and filters to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Whether you’re traveling cross-country or just looking for more space in your own city, visit Apartments.com to simplify the process.

Meet your neighbors

If you couldn’t meet neighbors before, now is the opportunity. Tip: Old-fashioned manners go a long way. You don’t have to bake a cake for anyone (unless that’s your thing), but it will help you introduce yourself to the people in your building, the neighbors (if it’s a street of houses), and anyone who works in local businesses , to introduce you get to know each other. Hyperlocal social media sites can also give you a taste of local gossip. There’s also the tried-and-true technique of asking for a simple favor, like borrowing a tool or some batteries for the fire alarm that just won’t stop beeping. It’s a small way to show that you’re part of a community and not just live nearby.

Find your jobs

Once you get a feel for your community, ask them for recommendations like the best grocery stores, coffee shops, laundromats, bars, and other essential information. Don’t be afraid to expand your reach: a short walk to an exceptional shop is always better than settling for a mediocre place right on your block. If you’re looking for more hobby-oriented places like yoga studios, check Facebook and Instagram for community groups and local influencers who can point you in the right direction.

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Throw away the old before you buy new

Packing and unpacking offer two excellent opportunities to downsize your stuff and find out what’s really important. There are several “pitfalls” that cleaning up influencers would warn you about. The first is, “Well, I sent it all the way here, so it must be important.” If your old lamp doesn’t fit in the new space, donate it. The second is having more space and wanting to automatically fill it with more stuff. Upgrading apartments is great, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should start buying them (or save on things that don’t need saving). Embrace the minimalism in your new place for a while, and then think carefully about what you actually want.

Map before setup

The last thing you want is to buy furniture that doesn’t fit your new space. As literally, doesn’t fit. Do yourself a favour: Before you rent a van and load it with home-made furniture, measure the dimensions of all rooms and the particularly important doors and stairwells. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck and yell “Pivot!” to your friends who will help you move. If you feel particularly Type A, create a map (tip: use the floor plan from your listing) and sketch where furniture can go. Then you can switch to your heart’s content without getting a hernia.

Get your tasks right the first time

Neighborhood suggestions are helpful for bars and restaurants, but they are central for utilities. Finding the right ISP in your building can mean the difference between speeding through video calls at work or constantly rebooting your router in frustration. When setting up automatic payments for rent, utilities, and insurance, make sure you get your homework right the first time. If you use a card to pay, use one that doesn’t expire for a while so you don’t have to get angry emails if that happens. Keep track of your sign-ups and maintain your records (actual paper receipts are helpful for the first few months) so that if there are future issues, you have a paper trail to get things sorted out.

Choose a mood

Don’t fall into the “all at once” trap when decorating. Instead, think carefully about what function each room should serve. Sharing a bachelor pad with friends or hoping for more grown-up dinner party energy? Be realistic: If you’ve never cooked before, buying a ton of kitchen appliances probably won’t make you want to start. Just like unpacking, pick up the pace. There is no rush to cover all the walls and fill every corner with bells and whistles before you get a feel for the vibe of your apartment. Once you’ve lived in the room for a few weeks (or months), it’s easier to determine what’s missing.

Celebrate!

Housewarming parties are a necessity, in our opinion. Preparing for a party is a good way to figure out exactly what’s missing (bathroom essentials? A doormat?), plus you don’t have to do too much cleaning since you’ve only just moved in. Offer house tours to your friends and enjoy the oohs and ahhs. This is where all your hard work pays off: the combination of freshly finished decor, new neighbors to meet, and food from your favorite spot around the corner can finally make you feel like you own the condo (even if you’re renting).

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