The ULTIMATE First Apartment Checklist (+ Cleaning Supplies You NEED!)

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I get it, moving into your first flat can be DAUNTING. Don’t panic—I got you! I’ve compiled a first apartment checklist that has everything you need to do and buy for your first flat. In fact, I’m moving soon myself, and STILL use this same checklist.

This article contains the ultimate first apartment checklist, with information on how to find a flat, make moving arrangements, set up utilities and accounts, change addresses, cleaning essentials for your apartment, and what to buy for your first flat.

PDF Version of my First Apartment Checklist (including cleaning essentials for your apartment)

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Okay, so let’s get into my first apartment checklist!

1. Find and secure a flat

What do you need to do first? Well, actually get a flat! Check out my full guide to finding a flat to rent in London for more details, but I’ll recap the basics here.

There are a few steps you need to take:

  • Choose a neighbourhood. Check out my article on the best neighbourhoods to live in London for more advice.
  • Contact an estate agent in that area or search on SpareRoom, OpenRent, etc. You can also look on Zoopla and Rightmove and contact estate agents for particular properties through there (who will no doubt vie to be your primary agent for your search).
  • Ask LOTS of questions when you go view a property.
  • Make an offer and negotiate the terms of your contract.
  • Pay your deposit and sign the contract.

2. Make moving and travel arrangements.

Once you’ve secured your flat, you’ll need to actually get organised for the move. This includes:

  • Organising picking up keys from the estate agent or landlord;
  • Finding and booking a removals company;
  • Buying boxes and packing tape;
  • Shipping any items if required; and
  • Booking transportation for yourself to your new flat or checking public transport.

3. Clean your new flat.

Now, your flat will have been professionally cleaned, but I always like to clean it myself when I move in as well while it’s still empty.

I’ve got a flat cleaning checklist that is PERFECT for this.

I’d also recommend getting some heavy-duty cleaning products for the job. Here's my list of cleaning essentials for your apartment:

4. Set up bills and utilities.

One of the first things you’ll need to do is set up your bills and utilities. In particular, if you’re in the UK, you’ll need to set up your internet installation WELL in advance as it can take up to a month for them to book you in!

Once you move, you’ll also need to set up:

  • Council tax;
  • Electricity and gas;
  • Water; and
  • Voter registration.

5. Change addresses.

You’ll also need to add your new address to, well, just about everything! This may include:

  • Redirecting your post with Royal Mail;
  • Your bank;
  • Mobile phone provider;
  • University;
  • Job;
  • HMRC;
  • Pension provider;
  • Gym;
  • Subscriptions;
  • TV license;
  • GP;
  • Cleaner; and
  • Professional services (accountant, solicitors, etc.).

6. Buy everything you need.

Now, on to the fun part! Shopping!

Most places in London come furnished (thank goodness!), but there’s still quite a few things you’ll need to buy for your new flat.

Click here to check out a list with all of my recommendations for what to buy for your first rental, including the most affordable options I could find for each.

Make sure, for your first day, in addition to the cleaning supplies above, you at least have the following:

And there you have it, my best first apartment checklist, compiled from over 10 years of experience of living on my own! Let me know in the comments below if you found it useful or if you have any other tips to share for moving into your first flat!

Check out my other house moving resources:

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