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Moving Tips: Preparing for Shared Space or Apartment Living

Updated on November 16, 2016
Advance planning helps make the task of changing residences much easier.
Advance planning helps make the task of changing residences much easier. | Source

Living in a too-big house or living anywhere solo can become expensive in the long run. Moving into an apartment or a shared living situation is a great way to help shave monthly expenses to reduce financial burdens. Simple preparation and carefully considered planning can help ensure a smooth transition to a new residence.

Time for a Change of Scenery

The excitement of moving into a new residence can be tempered with the prospect of having to pack and transport all your belongings. But, transitioning into a new home needn't be a stressful undertaking. Careful preparation can help pave the way for a smooth transition from the old home to the new digs. Thorough planning is particularly important when moving into smaller living spaces or when entering into a shared living environment with roommates. Organizing in advance where you'll place your belongings and making moving day arrangements with roomies will go a long way toward making the experience easier to manage.

Get Ready

You’ll need your snail mail forwarded to your new address, which you can set up in advance of your move. Change of address cards are available at the post office; or, save time and effort by using the United States Postal Service’s online form to update your mailing address. This only impacts your U.S. mail, and the forwarding service only lasts for about six months. So, it's important to also update your address information with agencies and businesses that need your current address on file, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, banks, credit card companies, insurance carriers, clubs, magazine subscriptions, and of course, friends and family and other contacts. Remember to update your online contacts, too.

Clarify Terms

When entering into a roommate situation, be sure that all parties clearly understand which are private or shared areas prior to your move date. Secure permission from roommates to place your belongings in common rooms before plunking your things down. Clarify in writing all terms and conditions of sharing the home, including agreements regarding shared expenses, such as utilities.

Ask your new roommates when the best time of day would be for your move, so as not to overly disrupt the schedules of those already living in the residence. They’ll surely appreciate your thoughtfulness, and such consideration will help get the shared living experience started off on the right foot.

Get Set

Clearly label boxes on the sides, not the tops, so contents can be easily identified even when boxes are stacked.
Clearly label boxes on the sides, not the tops, so contents can be easily identified even when boxes are stacked. | Source

Prepare for living in a smaller space. Determine which of your items are "must-haves" and pack only that which you need or truly enjoy having with you. Sell or donate unused or unwanted items, and store the rest in a storage facility near your new residence.

As you pack, take a moment to identify each box by its intended room or purpose. The ability to quickly glance at a box's label saves a great deal of time and trouble during the move. The unpacking process unfolds much easier when marked boxes are placed directly into the rooms where they’ll be opened.

6 Easy Moving Hacks


If your new unit is upstairs, use a dolly with straps to get more boxes up with each trip. This also reduces the chance of dropping boxes, damaging items, or hurting yourself. Use caution when maneuvering your boxes around items already in the home. Corners of carried boxes have a way of catching and knocking things over without close monitoring. Also, mind wall corners so as not to scrape any wallpaper, and carefully guide furniture in to avoid denting the drywall.

Flatten each box as it is unpacked to instantly create more room. Flatten and stack packing paper and bubble wrap to condense their bulk. Remove your packing materials promptly, particularly when unpacking in shared common areas. Ask roommates or neighbors if they’re interested in your moving materials prior to disposing of the items. Used boxes can be recycled or even sold in local classified ads for a bit of quick cash.

All Done!

Planning and preparing for a move to a smaller living space does require an investment of time and effort. The payoff is an easier transition and peace of mind right when you want it most: just as you’ve unpacked that final box.

© M.S. Ross - All Rights Reserved


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