A checklist for getting your apartment ready before you move in

By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
May 4, 2021 - 9:30AM

Plan on calling your internet, cable, and utility providers to switch your service to your new address.


If you’re a first-time New York City renter, or just haven’t moved in a while, you may be feeling a bit panicky about all the things you need to do to get your apartment ready so you can move in and be comfortable. Fear not—making a list is always helpful when you have a lot to do—and Brick has done it for you. Consider this a checklist of steps to take so your apartment is livable right away.

You might be tempted to save some of these tasks for later, but trust us, the more you do in advance the easier your move will be—and you'll have more time for unpacking—and decorating. 

Take note: Want to ditch your old Internet or cable company and get a new plan? Moving is a good time to do this since you have to transfer your service anyway—and it can pay off because many providers offer deals and discounts to new customers. 

Keep reading for how you can get your apartment ready before move-in day.

Find movers in advance

The first step to having a livable apartment is getting all of your stuff to the new place on time. If you have the ability to access your new apartment before your lease starts, you can bring over some items in advance. (One colleague does this with a fragile antique floor lamp that's awkward to pack up. Another likes to bring her treasured coffeemaker over to her new place herself. She's already replaced it twice after it was broken on previous moves.)

If you’re going to hire movers, schedule your moving day at least a month in advance (if you can) so you secure the day you need. It's especially important to plan ahead in the warmer months, when movers are the busiest (lots of families time their moves for after school ends for the year). Most New Yorkers tip movers and it's a nice gesture to buy them water and lunch—especially if it's big move.

One note: On our last move the movers told us they were sick of pizza. A lot of them are into fitness and health, so we got them made-to-order sandwiches at an Italian specialty store. Sure, it was a little pricey, but it was worth it to make a tricky move (lots of stairs!) go perfectly smooth.

Get connected 

These days, you need an internet connection for everything, so sorting this out before your move-in day should be one of your first steps. If you’re using the same provider, and your new apartment already is wired for a modem, then you can just call your provider to transfer service.

However, if you’re going to switch internet providers, you have to schedule a tech to come out to the new apartment. If you’re uneasy about Covid, some providers like RCN will come to your door and instruct a self installation. And, if your apartment doesn’t have a hook-up for a modem, you will also have to schedule a tech to come out. Either way, this should be done at least a couple of weeks in advance so you’re not stuck without internet. 

The same goes for cable and landline phones: Depending on your provider, you might also have to schedule a tech to come out. And, if you have any sort of security system, make sure to update your address with that service too.

Transfer utilities 

The electricity will probably be connected at your new apartment, but it might be in the previous tenant’s name, so make sure you call the provider to start or transfer service. If you have Con Edison, you can easily start, move, or stop your service online. You can also choose a renewable energy service as an alternative. Most apartments require you to pay for your own gas so if the provider is different from your electric company, then you will need to schedule an appointment to connect your gas line.

And, don’t forget to have the utilities in your current apartment turned off by the time you move out. 

Change your address

If you rely on getting paychecks, bank statements, or other important documents through the mail, make sure that you submit a mail-forwarding request through the USPS website. It allows you to change your address so your mail is rerouted until you change your address. According to the USPS, the process can take up to two weeks, so you might want to do this in advance. You can pick a date you want it to start and you only have to pay a $1 identification fee. 

And if you have any subscription services that you rely on (Think: meal kits, pet subscriptions, or cleaning supply subscriptions) you should change your address to avoid lost or delayed packages. The same goes for any recurring shipments you have set up. 

Get apartment insurance

Hopefully you don’t have any accidents when you move into your new apartment, but it’s better to be safe than to be sorry. That’s why you should set up a new apartment insurance policy for your  apartment. It’s especially important if you’re spending more time at home, because that means there’s more chance of something going awry.

Usually you can just update your address with your current insurance company so everything is covered. But, if you’re buying new furniture or decor for your space because you’re upgrading to a larger apartment, consider changing your policy to make sure you have enough coverage for your new purchases.



Austin Havens-Bowen

Staff Writer

Staff writer Austin Havens-Bowen covers the rental market and answers renters' questions in a column called Realty Bites. He previously reported on local news for the Queens Ledger and The Hunts Point Express in the Bronx. He graduated from Hunter College with a BA in media studies. He rents a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria with his boyfriend and their two cats.

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