Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you moved out of an apartment in the US?

Did you find this to be a stressful process?

Perhaps it’s a cultural thing, but moving out of or even into an apartment in the US can be a bit overwhelming.

You want to know what to be aware of and how to talk about this sometimes involved process.

We’re going to talk about this sometimes stressful process, and how it can be a lot easier if you know how to stay ahead of it.

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We have a question from a listener about this whole process.

Hi Lindsay, Michelle and Jessica,

You recently answered a question I had about books, and I greatly appreciated your insight. Today I have another question for you.

I have been living in the US for almost two years now, but I will have to go back to Japan next April. Since I need to notify my realtor that I will be leaving, I opened the app I use to pay for my rent to contact him. I was looking for the function that I can give him notification and then found that a button saying “Request Notice to Vacate.”

I did not understand the meaning of the word “vacate” at first, but I looked it up and then realized that it means “to leave.” As I had tons of trouble when I moved in, I am expecting that leaving will be just as difficult.

Can you share some words that are often used when you move out? I would be happy if you share some cultural aspects related to moving in or out as well.

Thank you very much!


Things To Keep In Mind When Moving

This is a great question because moving is an involved process that you will likely go through at some point in time.

In the example above, the listener is correct in saying that “the notice to vacate” is when you will leave the apartment.

You are letting them know when you will leave the apartment.

Today we will focus more on moving out, but there is so much to touch on that we will do some followups on it.

As we get started, there are a few things to keep in mind about this.

Moving has a lot of elements to it, ,and here we look at some things to keep in mind about this sometimes stressful process.

  • Moving can be stressful. With moving out, you want to do everything to get your security deposit back. You should talk to your landlord and be sure to review your lease and try to find out more information as to what may be expected.
  • You want to do a deep clean on your home, or get a cleaning service if possible. You may need to spackle any holes in the walls. Normal wear and tear is generally understandable, but that is something that should even be checked before moving in so you know. You want your place in the best shape possible as you move out so that you can keep from paying any fees.
  • You want to leave the space in the same way in which you moved in- would you want to move into this apartment now? There is generally a final walk-through before you leave. Find out if there are specific moving days or times. It’s important that the place is in good shape so that it’s move in ready for the next tenant.
  • Consider getting mail redirection so the post office knows where to find you. This is one of those loose ends to tie up so that you don’t miss any mail. Think through anything important like this so that you have minimal disruption to your life as you move into a new place.

There is a lot of vocabulary around moving, which we will touch on next.

Be sure that you take the time to look at your space and get it to a good point before you move out.

The more effort that you put in upfront, the less stressful the process will be in the end.

Looking At Phrases About Moving

There are some phrases that pertain to moving that can be quite useful to you in conversation.

Since this is such an involved process, there is a lot to talk about when it comes to moving out.

If you understand these phrases then you can use them in your conversations.

  • When will I( find out if I will) receive my security deposit? You pay a security deposit up front in order to get your apartment. If the apartment is in good shape when you move out, then you should get that security deposit back.
  • Is normal wear and tear okay? This means that on a daily basis, you are living in the apartment and general things happen. You may find that wear and tear is things like a simple scratch here and there, or even worn in carpeting. Wear and tear happens but you want to be sure that the apartment looking “lived in” isn’t going to keep you from getting your security deposit back.
  • When is the final walk-through? This is when the landlord or somebody associated with the apartment takes one last look at the apartment. This happens just before you are ready to move out and hopefully the apartment is in good shape. This is them taking a look to ensure that things look good and you can get your security deposit back.
  • Lease: This is what you sign to obtain an apartment. It has stipulations and rules in there that you must adhere to as a tenant. This hands the apartment over to you and gets your stay here started. This lease will be in effect from the day you move in until the day that you move out.
  • Deep clean: This is another level of cleaning that you do before you move out of an apartment. You want to get rid of any dirt, grime, germs or any mess that you may have accumulated over the time you lived there. The more effort that you put into a deep clean, the more likely it is that you will get your security deposit back.
  • Spackle: This is what you need to do to the walls if there are any dents or marks to get it back to its initial shape. If there is anything wrong with the walls, then you spackle them to get rid of the imperfections. This is a part of getting the apartment back to its original state and how you want to leave things.
  • Mail redirection: When you move you need to provide the address that you are moving to. This will ensure that you still get your mail without any interruption. It will also ensure that they know where to send things if they accidentally still go to your old address.

Knowing these terms and phrases can be important in the conversation about moving.

Though it’s a process that nobody really likes, it’s a part of life that you need to get used to.

The more effort that you put in up front, the easier it will make things in the end.


Moving can be stressful and a very involved process.

There is so much to discuss around moving that we will do some followups on other related topics.

We covered some of the basics today, but some of these things may vary by location and culture.

What is moving like in your home country?

Is it always a stressful process?

Though it can take a lot out of you, try to stay calm when moving and be sure to stand up for yourself when something isn’t right.

You will find that moving doesn’t have to be such a stressful process if you just know how to deal with it and what to say in these situations.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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