What to know before moving into your first apartment

Making the transition from a dorm to an apartment is a bittersweet experience. Apartment living comes with a lot of freedom that you can’t find in the dorms. You’ll be able to ditch the shower shoes, enjoy more privacy and make meals that haven’t been nuked in a microwave. However, apartment living also comes with more upkeep and planning before move-in. Gone are the days of buying a mini fridge and a twin XL comforter and calling it a day. Here are a few things you’ll need to do before grabbing your keys and unlocking the next step to adult living.

Keep in touch with your roommate(s) during the summer.

Text your roommates and get to know them before move-in. Talk about interests, summer plans, favorite TV shows and who’s bringing what when it’s time to head back to Btown in August. This gives you some time to get to know the people you’ll be living with and plan what items you’ll still need for the apartment. 

If utilities aren’t included call to install them.

Apartments with utilities included are convenient, but often pricey. If your apartment doesn’t have utilities included, you’ll need to set them up before your move in day. The three you’ll most likely need to worry about will be electric/gas, water and internet/cable. Talk with your roommates to figure out who should be responsible for what. I know that for Duke energy (the only electric option in Bloomington) if you are a new customer without any credit history you’ll have to pay a $300 deposit (you get this back after 1 year) plus the price of the first month’s electric. Be prepared for beginning charges like this in August. Be sure to call these companies about a month before you move in and schedule a day for set up so that you won’t be without electricity or running water when you move in. Internet and cable is a more flexible utility.You’ll need internet connection for sure, but if you’d like to save on monthly bills you can opt to forgo cable and stick to a Netflix or a Hulu account.

Shop for furniture.

Have some fun making the apartment your own! Prepare to pick up some necessities before you move in, like bedroom/bathroom items. Then begin looking for living room furniture and kitchen essentials. If you’re on a budget I would recommend looking on IU Classifieds for furniture. There are a lot of great deals on used/new items that college students are looking to unload quick! Also check out Bloomington Craigslist, but be sure to follow their safety rules and don’t give out too much personal information. Be aware that if you’re picking up large furniture like couches, televisions or tables, you may need to seek out a friend who has a truck or ask your parents if they can bring their minivan to your rescue. 

Begin planning your commute.

If you’re living in an off-campus apartment, you should have a game plan for how you’ll be getting to campus every day. Look up times that the bus comes by your apartment and plan what bus you’ll be catching every day. If you've never ridden that bus before, I would recommend taking a trip to campus on your own before classes start just so you have a feel for what the trip is like and where the bus stops. The IU mobile bus tracking app will also be very helpful to you. If you plan to drive, look up parking permits and decide which is the best option for you. I have an article with lots of parking tips you can find here. If you’re sharing a bathroom with your roommates you should coordinate schedules to see what works best. If you both prefer showering in the morning, and you have 8AMs and they have 10AMs, you’ll be more aware of everyone’s schedule and preferences. 

Start packing.

Now that you have everything squared away, grab some boxes and start packing! It’s better to make this a gradual process than procrastinating, you’re less likely to forget something important. Since you’ve already lived in a dorm or another apartment before, you’re likely to already know what you need and what you’re better off without. There are many more articles on WeAreIU.com that can help you with all of your packing needs. If you are moving from out of state, you may need to rent a U-Haul or moving truck if you will be moving larger items. If you don't have family or friends who can help you on moving day you may also want to check out services like Guys and Dollies who will move boxes and large items. These resources can be expensive and you should call ahead of time to make sure they can help you at your preferred time. 

Moving into your first apartment is an exciting experience! These tips should help you transition smoothly into your new apartment so that you can focus on starting up yet another amazing year at IU. 

Check out these other guides to college apartments:

About The Author
Megan TackettClass of 2017, Public Relations Major,

Hi I'm Megan! I'm a junior studying Journalism with a focus on Public Relations. I am also a student in the Liberal Arts and Management Program. I love being a blogger for WeAreIU.com because visiting this site was really influential in my decision to come here. IU has so many opportunities for students to get involved on campus. I'm currently completing two media-related internships at Author Solutions and the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology. I'm also a Hudson and Holland Scholar as well as a Cox Legacy scholar. My hobbies include frequenting Kirkwood eateries, travelling, and blogging.