Those moving out of homes have a somewhat different experience from those moving out of apartments. While many of the planning aspects of the move are the same, it’s important to consider some other particulars exclusive to moving out of an apartment. Forgetting to do any of these things can cause issues and avoidable headaches down the road.

This checklist has been put together in an effort to help those moving out of an apartment to have a smoother experience in preparation for their move and on moving day.

Inform Landlord Or Apartment Association Of Your Intent To Move

Unlike moving out of a home, if you are renting or leasing an apartment, there is an additional step required. That step involves informing the landlord or the apartment association of your intent to move. It is your responsibility as the current tenant to inform the property manager/owner when you are ready to depart from the apartment. This gives them ample time to arrange for the apartment to be available after that date and to arrange any necessary maintenance and repairs.

The period of notification can vary, but most property managers need about 90 days (3 months) notice about a tenant’s intended departure. The exact time requirements are listed in the lease. If the property manager has office hours at the property of residence, it’s best to hand-deliver the intent to move paperwork to assure that it’s filed accordingly, as well as to ask for a receipt. If the landlord resides elsewhere, the paperwork should be sent to them by mail well in advance of the departure time period, with a request of receipt to be mailed back.

Secure Mode Of Relocation

The most important aspect of any move is to secure the means of moving well in advance. If you wait too long you will have a hard time finding movers that are not already booked for the time that you need to vacate your apartment. If they are available, they are likely to charge very high prices for a late booking. Since most leases expire during the summer if that is the time you are moving out, keep in mind that they will book up quickly for college students moving out of their apartments for the summer. Once you secure your moving company ahead of time you will be relieved that this is taken care of.

If you are taking on the move on your own, it also helps to secure a rental moving truck far ahead of time. Don’t assume your local rental truck center will always have one on hand, nor should you expect them to have the size you need if you do not reserve one well ahead of time.

Secure Lag Time Accommodations And Storage (If Necessary)

If you are moving between apartments or into a home, but there is a time period before your new residence is available, you will need to make sure that you figure out a place to stay once your lease ends. This may be for a week or two, or in some cases for a couple of months. Also, keep in mind that you will need to secure means of storage, so it’s good to preemptively contact some storage centers to gauge availability. If you will be storing your things, remember that you will likely need assistance moving them out again when you are ready to head to your new place. Make all of those plans ahead of time so that you are not scrambling at the last second.

Submit A Change Of Address

When you start looking into changing your address, you will find that there are a ton of places that need it updated. The earlier you update the address to your new one, the fewer chances there will be of a lag in service, and you can expect to receive your important mailings on time.

You will want to make sure that your bank, credit cards, subscription services, online retailers, and everything else that currently relies on knowing your address is updated before you begin the moving process. You can set everything up online, over the phone, or by visiting your local post office to submit a change of address form. This way, any mailings that arrive your way, will be forwarded to your new residence.


Do not wait to start packing. Remember, the less you bring the lower your moving costs will be, so declutter before you start packing. If it’s something you do not need to bring, and it has no intangible value, it’s probably best thrown away, donated, or sold.

You should start packing non-essential items 4 to 5 weeks ahead of the move. You will be thankful you did when the pressure to get everything else packed really turns up within the last two weeks before the move. Just make sure you do not pack your cleaning supplies before you leave, as you will need to use them once you are all packed up to go.

Clean And Repair

The final thing you will need to consider is getting back your security deposit when you are ready to vacate. While no one wants to think about cleaning their old place as they are moving to a new one, if you do not, the property managers will not fully refund your security deposit. You will probably need a full day or two for this, so make it a comfortable environment. Make a list of things to do, put on some music, and crank out as much cleaning and repair work as you are able to in the time you have.

Here are a few particular things you will need to pay attention to during this process:

  • Any nails, screws, or hooks that you added while renting the apartment should be removed. The holes they leave behind should be filled with putty. Once it dries, use light sandpaper to make them smooth and flush with the wall.
  • Break out the wipes for this next point. You will want to first wipe down plugs and light switches, especially those that get a lot of action on a regular basis and may have been smudged. You will also want to wipe down the faucets and knobs in the kitchen and bathroom sinks, as well as in the shower.
  • All of the rooms should be dusted and vacuumed. Tile floors in the kitchen and bathrooms should be mopped, and the floors bleached in order to get the soap scum and mildew out of the grout.
  • Empty the cabinets in the kitchen, brush out the crumbs from them, as well as counters.
  • Remove refrigerator shelves and wipe them down to get rid of any stains, spills, or stuck crumbs.
  • Remove the grates off the burners on the stove, and thoroughly scrub any sticky, greasy, or otherwise messy areas to leave the stove in near pristine condition.
  • Clean out any hair from drains and run the water for a bit to make sure it drains without issue.
  • Scrub the toilet and sink in the bathrooms to assure they stay in presentable condition.

Think of it this way: The less the property manager has to invest in cleaning and repairs of your place, the less likely they are to take any money off of your security deposit. That is usually a month’s rent right back in your pocket for a few hours of work.

Return Keys

As you say goodbye to your old residence, you will need to return any keys (including those for amenity centers at the properties and gyms) to the property managers’ offices. Before you do, walk through the apartment one last time to conduct a final inspection on the day you are moving out once all of your stuff has been removed. If you missed anything, take it with you. Find out from the property manager when you should expect your security deposit returned and set a reminder for yourself to confirm that it has been deposited in your bank account.