The Final 3: Change of Address, Cable/Internet/Phone, and keeping the lights on

On the eve of moving, it’s easy to remember the obvious things: the boxes, the bed, that bowl you made in pottery class when you were seven. . . What’s a bit less obvious, though just as important, are all the ways your apartment connects you to the outside world. I’m talking about mail service, cable/internet/phone service, and electricity. Well, the last one just makes the outside world feel ok about visiting you in winter, but I digress.

I know you’re probably stressed out to the max and can’t imagine one extra detail, let alone three, but changing your address and starting new services actually isn’t hard. Rather, it’s just a bit of a runaround.

Let’s start with the mail. It used to be that you had to physically go down to your United States Post Office, fill out a colored form, and pray it someone wouldn’t end up beneath a mail carrier’s house. Now, for a dollar fee you can go to the USPS website and fill out their easy form They ask for your old address, new address, and moving date. But, if you’re more old fashioned you can also:
• Print the Change of Address form from the Internet mail or hand it in,
• Pick up a Change of Address (COA) card at the local Post Office,
• Or ask if the local Post Office letter carrier can bring a Change of Address card to your address

As for the Cable/Internet/Phone debate, it depends on which city you live in. RCN and Comcast are the big guys in Chicago these days, but there are smaller companies that you can often get partial service with, a la Earthlink or AT&T; for phone and internet, but no cable. But really who has a landline these days?! In terms of how to get the best deal, some of it is luck (when you move) and some of it rests in the depths of your patience. You could, hypothetically, get each service from a different provider, but that means three monthly bills and three installations. Comcast is more expensive, but split amidst my two roommates and I, it’s the easiest. When you call Comcast (or your cable company), ask about their current specials—they are only allowed to tell you if you ask. This, friends, is my biggest hint.

Finally, electricity. This isn’t quite as urgent as the other two, but don’t be fooled into thinking that just because there’s light when you move in, there will be light three weeks down the road. In many cities, like Chicago, there’s only one electricity provider which makes things simple, but if you have any doubts, ask your landlord if he knows what provider the previous tenants used, find out which person’s name was on the bill, and ask to transfer the name on the apartment’s account.

Congratulations, friends—you’re now all hooked up!

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Author My First Apartment

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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