3.10.2020

First Things To Do After Moving Into Your New Home

Moving can feel like a never-ending slog. You’ve finally found a new space to live, you’ve packed away all of your things, schlepped them to the new place, and unloaded everything. Now you’re sitting in a home full of boxes, asking yourself what to do next. Don’t worry, we’re here for you.

The first thing to do is to get your thoughts organized. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but if you prioritize, the process should be fairly smooth. Optimally, you want to prioritize before you move, so you have a list handy for when you get there. 

Organize your thinking by creating a list in a central space, like the kitchen. Anytime an idea pops into your head, write it down, then mark it with a 1, 2, or 3 (those of you using a notepad can have 3 pages instead). Items that are top priority (marked with a 1) should be done as soon as possible. Items marked with a 2 should be done within the first few months, while items marked with a 3 can be done at your convenience.

Priority 1

Unpack essentials - things you’ll use every day. You need to cook, so unpack your kitchenware. You need to brush your teeth, so unpack your cosmetic items. You need to sleep, so unpack your bedding. You get the idea. What two people consider essential can vary pretty wildly; you know what’s most important to you!

Get your utilities up and running. Optimally, you’ll have done this before moving - get on it if you haven’t. The most important utilities are, of course, power and water; Internet access and phone service can come shortly after (if you still use a landline). 

Clean the place if it’s dirty. One always hopes to move into a place the previous residents were kind enough to clean, but that’s not always the reality. It’s best to clean now, before you’ve unpacked everything. Take the opportunity to clean your floors and carpets before all the furniture is moved in (if you can). 

Find all of your home’s essential infrastructure; things like the fuse box and the main water valve. Take the time to see which fuses control which parts of your house, and make sure the water valve is working properly.

Secure your home. Check all of the doors and windows to make sure they close properly. Call a locksmith to replace your locks. Make sure all of your CO and fire detectors are working; replace their batteries if necessary. Depending on your level of risk tolerance, you may also want to contact a home security company.

You’ll want to get a mail forwarding service right away if you haven’t yet. Though most of us have transitioned our services to email, finding out you’re still getting paper documents from the bank or the government after you’ve missed a key piece of mail is not fun.

Make sure all of your appliances are plugged in. When people move out of a space, they’ll often unplug appliances to ensure there’s no wasted electricity (vampire power is a real problem). Doing this is especially important for your fridge; you don’t want your groceries rotting, after all.

Priority 2

Meet your neighbors! With a little luck, they’ll come say hello to you when you move in, but if they don’t, it’s a good idea to make their acquaintance. There’s nothing quite like having good neighbors to rely on.

Unpack the rest of your stuff. Those boxes are going to start looking unsightly, and having clutter can stress you out - even if that stress is subconscious! When the last box is unpacked, you’ll be truly “moved in”, an important step to making your place feel like home.

Inspect crawl spaces, the attic, and other spots that are tucked away. You want to make sure there are no leaks, that there’s enough insulation, and that nothing needs to be repaired. 

Do some general maintenance on appliances. Clean out the exhaust duct that’s linked to your dryer; getting rid of lint build-up can save you a lot on your energy bill each year. In a similar vein, you’ll want to change your furnace filters. You can also clean out your air conditioner’s condenser and evaporator, as well as the coils behind your fridge.

Contact businesses and the government to let them know you’ve changed your address. The mail forwarding you purchased should get you through the first month or so, but you’ll need to update your information with relevant parties before too long. When you see that mail has been forwarded to you, take that opportunity to contact the people who sent it.

Priority 3

Refurbishing your home should be at the bottom of your list. That’s in part because it’s important to live in your home for awhile before you change it. You might want to take down a wall to create an open concept living room when you first move in, but as time goes on, you might find you really like that wall. What’s more, few people have the energy to renovate a home as soon as they’ve moved into it. 

Once you’ve lived in the home for awhile, you can start the refurbishing process. You might get a professional painter to paint your home. You might buy new decor that suits your home better, from art to furniture - this is your home, after all, and it should be a reflection of your tastes.

Explore your neighborhood! Now that you’re all set up, you’re a part of a community. Go to local businesses and restaurants. Attend neighborhood meetings. Visit your community centre. Volunteer. Civic activism is good for everyone. 

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