Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.
Change the locks
Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.
Steam clean the carpets
It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner—your local grocery store may have them available.
Call an exterminator
Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home.
Clean out the kitchen
If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances.
You’ve just signed the paperwork on a new home (congrats!). But soon the excitement of getting settled at your new place will wear off, and the panic of packing up boxes will set it. We’ve rounded up expert-approved tips to keep you sane and totally prepared during the move.
Manage packing smartly.
“For my recent move, I gave myself a daily box quota to prevent a draining weekend of non-stop packing,” says Amy Azzarito, design writer and author of Past & Present. Avoid boxing up your old place in one fell swoop, if you have the time. Remember, you’lll need some energy left to unpack, too.
Skip the cardboard boxes.
Target Home Style expert and blogger Emily Henderson used California-based company rentagreenbox.com for her most recent move. “A week before I moved, they dropped off sturdy boxes with attachable lids and came back to collect them once I unpacked,” she says. “No cardboard boxes, taping, or bubble wrap. Plus, its eco-friendly and can be cheaper than buying pricy moving boxes.” If you’re not in Los Angeles, companies with similar business models are popping up around the country and are just a Google search away.
Don’t pack your closet.
“If you use professional movers, ask them to bring several wardrobe boxes on the day of the move,” suggests Emily Schuman, author of the blog Cupcakes and Cashmere. “The movers take clothing right on the hangers and, woosh, your clothes will be in and out.” Bonus: You can skip a full day of ironing once you’re settled.
Switch your utilities.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but Brendon DeSimone, author of Next Generation Real Estate, says the timing is key: “As soon as you have a closing date, call the utility companies and set up a service switch.” This is especially important if you’re moving into a home that is newly built or previously vacant: Arranging a maintenance call to reestablish service might be necessary.
Haul the basics before the moving truck comes.
If your new place is within driving distance of your current home, plan to take basic supplies over the day before, says Reich. “Unpacking the bathrooms in advance and having pajamas and clothes for the next two days set aside will bring some normalcy to the chaos of the boxes,” she says.
Visualize life in your new home.
“Confession: I’ve been known to hang pictures while the movers have been unrolling rugs,” says interior designer Nate Berkus. While Berkus attributes his hyper-organization to his Virgo star sign, we think he has a pretty good point: “The sooner you get unpacked and organized, the sooner it feels like home.” If you move at a slower pace than Nate, plan out spots for your favoriate pieces of art and décor in advance. You’ll feel more accomplished and settled if you do.
Meet your neighbors the fun way.
Sure, baked goods and a friendly hello will do the trick, but if you’re going to be painting the interior walls, Henderson has a fun party idea: “It’s called a graffiti party and guests are given paint samples or markers to scribble games and notes on the wall.” Don’t be shy about hosting a gig sans furniture; this relaxed party theme is built around pizza and folding chairs.
Discover the local resources.
Take a walk around your new neighborhood and be sure to introduce yourself to people you pass by. The best way to get a recommendation for a handy man, neighborhood favorite babysitter and get to know the lay of the land.