The Rental Living Guide: How to Get Settled in Your New Rental Home

Getting settled into a new rental home takes some time and effort. Although you’ve signed a lease, there’s still plenty to do before you can relax and put your feet up. With the help of this handy guide, you’ll be unpacked and enjoying comfortable rental living before you know it.

Hook Up Your Utilities

If all utilities aren’t included in your rent, then you need to set them up yourself. Ask your landlord to suggest utility carriers if needed, and call to schedule hookup at least two weeks before you arrive in your new rental home. The types of utilities you might be responsible for include:

  • Electricity
  • Natural gas
  • Internet
  • Cable
  • Cell phone service
  • Garbage
  • Water
  • Sewer

Get Your Mail Forwarded

These days, forwarding mail is easier than ever. Instead of filling out a card and handing to your mail carrier, you can change your address online through the USPS website and update your voter registration at the same time. Make sure to do this at least a week in advance of your move to avoid interruption of mail service.

A white mailbox surrounded by greenery

Do a Walkthrough of Your New Home

Before you move anything into your new rental home, it’s important to do a thorough walkthrough to determine if there are any problems that need fixing. A printable rental inspection checklist offers an easy and efficient way to make sure that you’ve inspected all areas of your new living space, from windows and doors to faucets and light fixtures. After the inspection, both you and your landlord or rental agent should sign and date the checklist, and you should repeat the process upon moving out of your rental.

Clean Before You Unpack

Most rental homes are cleaned prior to going on the market, but many new tenants like to be extra-thorough. For a spick-and-span living space, make sure to vacuum all carpeted areas and mop bare flooring. Use antibacterial spray cleaner to wipe down walls, counters, cabinets, appliances, and bathroom surfaces. Don’t forget often-touched areas like light switches, stair rails, and doorknobs.

A carpet cleaning machine

Organize Your Home Right from the Start

When moving in to a new living space, a few home organization tips help make the process smoother. Labeling boxes according to contents and location in the home helps belongings end up in the right place quickly. Boxes containing items that you will need right away should be labeled “Day One.” These essentials might include:

  • Bedding
  • A change of clothing
  • Toiletries and bath tissue
  • Cell phone charger
  • Non-perishable food
  • A few pots and pans
  • Disposable dinnerware and napkins
  • A coffee maker, coffee, and a few mugs

Man's hands pouring a cup of coffee from a carafe

Rental homes sometimes lack adequate storage. To keep clutter to a minimum in your new home, consider a few of these home storage ideas:

  • Beds with built-in storage
  • Storage chests
  • Bench units with coat hooks and under-seat storage
  • Storage ottomans
  • Wall TV cabinets

Set Up Your Bedroom First

Moving is exhausting. That’s why it’s important to put your bedroom at the top of your priority list when setting up your new home. After a day full of unloading and getting organized, nothing feels better than the comfort of your own bed. If you can’t get the whole bedroom set up on move-in day, at least set up your bed, a night table, and a reading lamp, and clear a path to ensure you have easy access at the end of the day.

Get to Know Your Neighborhood

Meeting your neighbors is a great way to learn more about the area and make new friends. Sydney Bennet, a Senior Research Associate at Apartment List, suggests breaking the ice with new neighbors by inquiring about the best restaurants and coffee shops nearby. To become more familiar with your neighborhood, explore it by car, by bicycle, or on a walk with your dog, if you have one. On weekends, the local dog park is a great place to make new friends, for you and your canine companion.

Getting settled in your new rental home can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few easy-to-follow guidelines, you can experience comfortable rental living just days after walking through the door. If you prefer to leave big furniture pieces behind, simply rent furniture from CORT Furniture Rental and have beds, tables, chairs, sofas, and more delivered at your convenience and picked up when your lease ends.

See How CORT Can Help