New Home, Who Dis?
So… You’re moving. So are we, because apparently moving twice in one year, in two different states, and three different apartments is totally normal. Dylan & I have become “modern day nomads”. We’re good, until we’re not, and when we’re not- we go. I would like to call myself an “expert mover” at this point, but I know there’s many who are involved in government jobs, the military, etc who move more than we do (how is that possible?). Today, we’re talking tips & tricks to make your move, totally smooth.
Here’s the real deal…
Moving is hard, moving is expensive and moving takes forever. In our past three moves (MN >> NE >> Ankeny, IA >> Downtown Des Moines, IA), there’s a few things that I can confidently say, helped us save the most money, and move easiest.
First, let’s talk that lease break. Breaking a lease is going to be the most expensive thing about moving, almost positively. I can confidently say I’ve drained my savings account twice now, in order to move- but maybe you don’t have to. Take out your lease agreement, and read it very closely. When we moved from Ankeny to Des Moines, our Ankeny lease didn’t give us any insight or intel on what was expected of us if we wanted to break the lease. A sublet was mentioned, to be approved by the landlord, and that was it. So when I reached out to our leasing company about breaking a lease, they just said “no”.
If you get in that mindset, keep a couple things in mind: 1. There are laws that protect you. 2. They’re always going to just say no, and probably follow it up by trying to charge a ridiculous amount. 3. If you’ve complained, ever, to your landlord- it can be used as leverage.
Each state has renter’s laws. These are to protect both you and your leasing company. They state things like “rental agreement must be explicit in stating sub-leasing or lease termination”, and when your company doesn’t comply, you will benefit. These are just things to keep in mind. Unfortunately, in Iowa- the laws protected our leasing company from having to explicitly state those things to us. After they just throw a “no” your way, your leasing company will generally follow up with a ridiculous amount to get out of the lease. Don’t panic yet about paying it, because if you’ve complained, you may be covered. I complained, in writing (emails) to our landlord about parking, loud neighbors, and the lack of secured entrances to the building. All of which were not fixed in the one week time frame given on Iowa’s renter’s laws. Thus forcing the landlord to honor my written lease termination, and only resulting in us paying the sublet fee, rather than the crazy high amount they tried to charge. Before you turn in your lease termination, research your state’s laws, there is so much useful information you should know to protect yourself. Also, if you’ve ever complained to your landlord, get a copy in writing and keep track of dates. If I hadn’t done this, they wouldn’t have had to honor anything.
Second, change your address ASAP. You would think it would be the end of the list of things you need to do before you move, but move it up to the top of the list. Dylan and I have changed our address four times, and we’ve been missing out on mail for three years. When we moved from Ankeny to Des Moines, we changed our information right away, and unfortunately my mail was only changed for my married name. One day we went to our old apartment and the new resident gave me about 20 pieces of important mail that didn’t forward. Make sure you tell your bank, your loans, anything government related, and all friends and family. It is not enough to just forward your mail either, make sure to double back and change account settings on anything that you wouldn’t want to miss. *The post office requires 10 days prior to a forwarding change- so be sure to plan accordingly.
(now please enjoy a picture of me crying at our Lincoln apartment because we were so sad to leave it)
Third, These packing hacks will save you. We’ve all heard about putting the garbage bag over your clothes in the closet, to save from packing them in boxes. (If not, just read that again, and now you know) To save money on packing supplies, check with retailers for extra newspapers / boxes / storage containers that they’re not using. Newspapers and boxes are easy, because 1. The day after the paper comes out, it’s basically expired. and 2. Stores or restaurants that get boxes daily, were going to throw them away anyways! If these aren’t optional, U-haul is the best bang for your buck. They also offer a buy back guarantee, so if you buy more boxes than needed- you’re getting to return them and get your money back.
Other packing hacks include: remember to put screws and nails in bags, and label on the front what they correspond with (such as the TV mount or the nails used to hang the wall mirror). Utilize vests or coats inside the kitchen boxes, for extra padding with glasswares or plates. Put plastic wrap over ANYTHING you don’t want to spill. (smart!) When packing the truck, put a figure 8 rubber band around your apartment door- to prevent you from getting locked out. (Our apartment doors auto-lock, so if we don’t have a key, we’re screwed).
Now, it’s cleaning time.
Fourth, you’re gonna want that deposit back. Here’s the few things that we always get dinged for in our apartment deposits. 1. The holes in the wall… Did you know, you can fill those holes with tooth paste, Ivory soap, or even the wall putty that you get at Menards for like, $4.00? The worst that can happen, is it doesn’t work… 2. Scuff marks. Sometimes, the furniture moves around the room and leaves a scuff… Or we do it chasing Ellie. If you take a tennis ball, and rub it on scuff marks, they will go away. 3. The windows. You may not think about it, because you’re going to close the windows and cover them with blinds, but your apartmnent will find those finger prints. Be sure to Windex the windows before you leave!
Another piece to keep in mind: take pictures of the apartment before and after living there. You can show the leasing office that “certain” blemishes were not your fault, or argue that some things weren’t there at all- This can help to get your deposit back fully!
Fifth, breathe. While you’re basically putting your life into boxes, throwing them in a truck, uprooting your life and starting over, it’s all going to work out. Giving yourself enough time to pack, clean, move and upack is important, but it’s only a small part of your life. Trust me, moving is the best and worst thing ever, but you’re going to be okay.