Moving into a new apartment can be a fresh step into the next chapter of your life -- whether you're heading across town or to another state. There are many things that need to be done before you can occupy your new home. And one of the easiest things you can do to make this process exciting and manageable (rather than overwhelming!) is to create to-do lists for yourself. A smooth move is all about categorizing moving must-dos into lists.

I've found that using a few targeted checklists that all address specific things is key. As someone who's moved 16 times in the last 10 years, trust me: Creating these dockets saves you time and unnecessary stress in the long run!

The new apartment checklists that I cover here should help you track your progress, stay organized and keep records that protect you, your financial independence and all your prized belongings.

Feel free to adapt my suggestions to your situation. For example, I'm a pen-and-paper kind of gal. A sheet of paper that I can fold and put in my pocket is perfect for accessing at the hardware store or at home as I take care of things for an upcoming move. But maybe a checklist on your cell phone or day planner would be more useful to you.

Even if you're only moving a few miles away, you'll be part of a whole different community. Your new apartment will feel more like home if you get to know the people in your new network. If you feel safe, knock on your neighbors' doors to introduce yourself. If you get a positive vibe, throw a housewarming party and invite folks living nearby. Creating an opportunity to talk and get to know one another is a great way to kick off living in your new home.

But before you unpack any boxes, you'll need to get organized. Get started on the next page.