How to move out without stressing out

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Ah, the month of May. School is out, birds are chirping, and, well, students are moving. For some, it is the dreaded moving season. For others, it is an opportunity to start a new beginning and recreate your space. Whatever your situation, The Signal has you covered with a step by step guide to answer all your moving out questions. Whether you are moving out of a dorm and want to declutter, or need to figure out splitting bills with a new apartment roommate, referring to this guide will make the process a whole lot easier.

I want/need to move out of my dorm or apartment: where do I start looking?
Depending on your situation, there are a few apps and websites you can utilize to help you find the place of your dreams- and your budget’s. For instance, if you are searching for a new roommate, there are several Facebook groups that are specific to helping Georgia State students find other roommates. You will also find people posting looking for roommates for apartments as well. The groups are managed to only accept Georgia State students but play it safe and bring a friend with you if you are meeting a person from the group for the first time. However, if you would rather live alone, try searching Apartments.com. It is a well-constructed website (and app) that allows you to customize what you are looking for in an apartment (price range, amenities, location, etc.).

I am planning to move in with a roommate, how do we handle expenses?
If you are moving into a dorm room, you do not have to worry as much about splitting bills—at most, you might be splitting groceries and toiletries. However, moving into an apartment has many expenses that you may not realize prior to moving in. For example, the major costs are rent, heat, electricity, air conditioning, internet, renter’s insurance, and depending on your neighborhood, possibly parking.

The best and safest way to share these expenses is to first ensure your names are both on the lease under equal obligations. This strategy opposes the idea of having one primary tenant who is in charge of collecting all of the money for the bills. Ensuring you both have equal obligations dismisses the danger of your roommate (or you) not paying your half of the bills. For instance, if you were the primary tenant, and your roommate did not pay their half of the bills one month, it is on you to make up for that money because you are the primary. However, under equal obligation, the lost money will be on your roommate and they will be required to pay the money. So, take the safe route, even if they are your long time best friend—and just sign under equal obligations.

The tedious things you hate to do, but must do:
There are some tasks you must complete before moving. They may seem harmless to ignore now but will cause a heap of trouble when you move to your new place later.

First, go online to USPS and change your mailing address. It costs $1 to change it online, but it saves you the time and effort of going to your local post office to do it for free. You want to make sure that Georgia State refund check is going to the right place.

Next, if you are moving into an apartment, schedule the power company to come out and activate your power the day prior to your move in. This way, you will not be sitting in the dark with a dead cell phone and a warm refrigerator. Along with other expenses, if you are sharing a place with someone else, decide how you will split the bill.

I have a ton of things I don’t need, what should I do with it?
Before packing your bags, take a day to do an overall clean out of your things. If your drawers can barely close from the amount of clothes in them, donate some of your clothes to people in need, such as The Salvation Army. This way, you are downsizing and supporting a great cause. Additionally, if you are low on cash and need to save up for future bills, selling your unwanted clothes on Facebook Marketplace or to a store like Uptown Cheapskate or Plato’s Closet will put some extra cash in your pocket. If neither of these ideas appeal to you, just drop them off at your local Goodwill or list them on Depop.

After tackling your closet, head over to your fridge or pantry to throw away expired food. Don’t go grocery shopping for two weeks prior to moving out and try to eat what you already have. It will make less of a hassle to move it later. Similarly, if your mom stocked you up with canned food when you moved in a year ago and you have not touched it, donate it to your local food bank.

What do I need to do to my dorm/apartment before I move out?
If moving out of an apartment or dorm, ask your landlord or RA for a list of things you need to do before moving out. If you punched holes in the walls to hang up your favorite Lana Del Rey poster, you might want to head over to your local hardware store and purchase some patching paint. Additionally, if you payed a security deposit when your first moved in, schedule an appointment with your landlord to do a walk through of your apartment to see if you qualify to retain your deposit.

Where do I find boxes?
Believe it or not, there are free boxes at various places. Places like Costco that sell items in bulk have an area in the front of their store dedicated to free boxes. However, if you or your parents don’t have a Costco card, you can always find unwanted boxes behind stores. If that is a little too sketchy for you, you can always ask your local supermarket like Publix or Kroger if they have extra produce boxes because they usually do!

Who will help me move?
Recruit your friends and family or hire a moving company. If you have lots of heavy furniture and less boxes, a moving company is your best bet. However, if your heaviest furniture is your bed frame and a side table, asking a few friends or your family members is a more cost-effective choice. Make sure to ask them a few months before your move out date to make sure their schedule is free. You can even offer to help them move out when their lease is up too!

What do I do with my pet?
If you have a pet, have them stay with someone else on move in day. Moving into a new space can be just as hard on your pet as it is on you. While you’re walking in and out of the door with boxes, they may feel the need to follow you. Not to mention, stepping on your pets tail with two boxes in hand is the worst. To avoid the extra stress of keeping an eye on your pet, have a friend or family member take them for the day. That way, later, they can comfortably adapt to the space without the confusion and stress of people in and out of their new home.

I moved in: what’s next?
Familiarize yourself with the new area you live in. Go for a walk or drive around to find new restaurants or shops to go to once you are settled in. Additionally, now that you are moved in, it is never too early to start tackling those boxes. Unpack your knick-knacks, make your bed, and hang up your clothes to make yourself comfortable in your new home. Finally, sit back and relax. Take it all in, you are about to endeavor on a new journey in life at your apartment or dorm. Enjoy yourself!

A few extra tips:
1. Wrap your delicate items like glass in your towels, washcloths, socks, and underwear. You are saving space while keeping your things safe!
2. Pack your toiletries in Ziploc bags to avoid messes throughout the move. Try to keep the same items together such as shower stuff, sink stuff, closet stuff etc. to make unpacking that much easier
3. Make sure to write on the box what is inside the box. Labeling everything is essential during a move out. You will seriously thank yourself later when you can easily find your contact solution at the end of the day.

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