If you’re getting ready to close on your new home, congratulations! There’s no other feeling quite like the sense of accomplishment that comes with buying a home. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or a seasoned homeowner moving into your dream home, you might have a lot of thoughts running through your mind, many of which revolve around moving.
It might seem like you have a mountain of things you need to accomplish before you turn the keys in the front door of your new home, but if you start planning now, you’ll set yourself up for success on moving day.
To make your transition easier, we reached out to professional movers and companies that specialize in meeting your new-home needs to get a step-by-step checklist of everything you need to do before you move.
Things To Do Before Moving Into A New House
Believe it or not, moving day begins months before the moving truck first parks in your driveway. There are a few things you need to do before loading up the truck. We break it down for you below.
2 Months Before The Move
Approximately 2 months before you move into your new home, there’s a lot of sorting, filing, tossing, purging, donating, labeling and hiring to do.
Mike Glanz, CEO of HireAHelper.com, an online market where people can find local movers, offers some tips on how to get organized at the 2-month mark.
“Begin by sorting your closets, drawers, cabinets or areas that may need attention before you start packing,” Glanz advises. “Analyze what items are necessary and what items you can part with pre-move. Start to throw away or donate items that will not be making the move or sell them at a garage sale!”
Glanz also says this is the time to make transportation arrangements for moving day.
While hiring a full-service moving company might seem like the easiest way to get your belongings into your new home, it’s not always the most practical or cost-efficient option. Glanz recommends renting a moving truck from a reputable company, such as U-Haul, or reserving a portable storage container, like PODS, and hiring hourly moving labor to come load and unload the container for you.
“By handling the transportation yourself, you stay in complete control of your belongings, and it’s hundreds of dollars cheaper than hiring a full-service moving company,” Glanz asserts.
1 Month Before The Move
The 1-month mark is when it gets down to the nitty-gritty. At this time, you need to secure boxes and start packing. “Pack items that you will not be using in the next month,” Glanz recommends.
This is also the time to start contacting your current and new utility companies, cable companies, garbage removal companies and local newspapers to notify them of a stop date at your current location and the start-up date for your new place. You’ll need to contact:
- Electricity and gas providers
- Water and sewage treatment providers
- Cable, internet and phone providers
- Medical and dental providers
- Insurance providers (auto, home, health, life)
- Banks and credit card companies
- Lawn care, landscaping and snow removal providers
- Alarm companies
- Your children’s schools
- Your place of employment
- Magazines, newspapers and other subscription providers
Glanz emphasizes that by getting this out of the way now, you’ll ensure your utilities, power, cable and other necessities in your new home will be available when you move in.
1 Week Before The Move
A week before the move, it’s down to the wire. Since you’ve tackled the move one step at a time, all that’s left to do is finish packing, change your address and pack yourself a moving survival kit.
“Label your boxes so your entire moving team knows where to put your belongings,” suggests Glanz. You can do this by using different colored packing tape for each individual room in your new home. “That way, when it comes to unpacking, you’ll know at a quick glance where that box goes based on the color of the packing tape,” explains Glanz.
At this point, Glanz recommends closing out the entire moving process by setting up an appointment with a locksmith to change the locks at your new place, preparing payment for your movers, conducting a clean sweep and forwarding your mail to your new address.
What To Do When You’re Moving
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: moving day! Since you’ve potentially been preparing for this day for the past 2 months, it’s time to put all that hard work into action.
If you have older kids who are able to help with the packing and unpacking, make sure you give them something to do, especially if you don’t use professional movers.
“Kids can be a time-consuming distraction on moving day because they become bored very quickly,” says Glanz. “Have the kids help unpack select boxes, then let them use the box and bubble wrap at an out-of-the-way spot where they’re free to use them as accessories to their imagination.”
If you rented a moving truck, make sure you plan for gas and time to get to your new home. If you hired hourly moving labor to unload the truck, be sure you are all on the same page regarding the arrival time.
Essentials For Setting Up Your Home
Before you unpack your boxes, Nathan Green, a professional mover at A to Z Cleaning, recommends first deep-cleaning your new house so you can simultaneously sanitize the space and have a fresh start at your new address.
After you finish cleaning, divide and conquer the task of unpacking to make the process more manageable. If you have kids, Glanz recommends getting the kids settled in first.
“Make decorating their room a top priority,” says Glanz. “Even when you have countless other things to do, making a kid feel comfortable in their new room will ease some of the anxiety that comes with change.”
Besides that, try setting up your home by focusing on one room at a time. Don’t stress yourself out trying to unpack the whole house at once. Start in one room and move through the home at a comfortable pace. Not only will this make unpacking more organized, it’ll also help prevent injury by keeping you from trying to lift and move heavy items too quickly.
New Home Checklist
Now that you’re all moved in, there are a few new items you may need for your home – especially if your previous residence was an apartment.
1. New Locks And Keys
Ensuring your new home is safe and secure is perhaps one of the most important aspects of preparing to move, so make sure safety is a priority.
Change all the locks on your new home to ensure no one you don’t know has a key to your home, including the previous owners. A common item homeowners tend to forget in the midst of moving excitement is having spare keys made. You should also establish special hiding places for them in case of emergencies. Don’t just buy a fake rock and hope for the best – try obscure places that a would-be thief wouldn’t consider. In the same vein, notify any package delivery servicers of a special area for deliveries if you aren’t home so you can avoid porch theft.
2. Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms need to be replaced at least every 10 years, so make sure to check that your smoke alarms are all up to date.
A smoke alarm should be installed on every level of the house, located close to bedrooms where people are sleeping.
3. Fire Extinguisher
Much like with the smoke alarms, you’ll want to make sure to have up-to-date fire extinguishers on hand. Make sure to put them in places with a higher likelihood of fire, like the kitchen, laundry room and garage.
4. Carbon Monoxide Detector
“CO, known as the ‘silent killer,’ is the most common cause of poisoning deaths in the United States,” says Emily Long, a home security expert with ASecureLife.com. “[Carbon monoxide detectors] come in models ranging from basic battery-operated to smart sensors that integrate with security systems and phone apps.”
Long recommends putting a detector outside each sleeping space as well as in locations like the kitchen and basement.
5. First Aid And Cleaning Supplies
There are a few more essential items you may need to keep your home healthy, safe and tidy.
A first aid kit, for example, can help you handle any accidents that may happen around the house, whether a mishap with a tool or just a clumsy mistake in the kitchen. It’s a good idea to have these items on hand:
- Nonlatex gloves
Similarly, no new home is complete without a properly stocked cleaning cabinet. Here are a few cleaning supplies you’ll want to have on hand as soon as you move in:
- Dust pan and broom
- Paper towels
- Trash bags
- Hand soap
- Antibacterial wipes
- Laundry detergent
Depending on your personal needs, this list could vary.
6. Kitchen Supplies
Flip through any kitchen catalogue, and you’ll quickly discover that there are nearly limitless kitchen upgrades that you can add to your wishlist. That being said, most households will rely on a few essential pieces of equipment to get started:
- Plates and bowls
- Cups and mugs
- Dish towels
- Trash cans
- Food containers
- Pots, pans and baking sheets
- Dish soap
- Oven mitts
- Cutting boards
- Measuring cups
- Drying rack
- Essential ingredients (olive oil, salt, pepper and condiments)
7. Living Room Must-Haves
Your living room doesn’t have to be fully furnished when you first move into your home, but those first elements of your living space are an important initial step toward making an unfamiliar house feel like a new home. You can begin creating a cozy space for you and your family by ensuring you have at least the following items:
- Side table or coffee table
- Comfortable seating
- TV cabinet or wall mount
- Extra blankets and throw pillows
8. Bedroom Necessities
After a long day of cleaning, decorating and moving, a comfortable, relaxing bedroom is the sanctuary you need to refresh and prepare for your next day of unpacking. That’s why you’ll want to make sure every bedroom is furnished with these belongings:
- Mattress and bed frame
- Bed sheets
- Pillow cases
- Light and heavy blankets
- Drawers or storage containers
9. Home Office Arrangements
Although not every household will require a home office, more and more working professionals spend at least a portion of business hours in the comfort of their house. If you’ll need to get back to work at the end of your move-in weekend, make sure you have everything you need to stay productive in your new home. For most people, that includes:
- Power strip
- Office chair
- Second monitor
- Filing cabinet
- Paper shredder
10. Bathroom Staples
Bathrooms are another area of the home that you’ll want to have properly stocked as soon as possible. There are certain parts of your bathroom, such as nice rugs or towels, that you may prefer to add once moving is over and your bathrooms receive far less foot traffic. But in general, you should prepare your bathroom with the following list:
- Bathroom cleaners
- Bath mat
- Shower curtain
- Soap and shampoo
- Toothbrush holder
- Waste basket
- Toilet brush
11. Outdoor Essentials
Gone are the days when your landlord took care of your lawn. If you’re moving into a home for the very first time, there are a few outdoor essentials you may need.
- Lawn mower
- Weed whacker
- Push broom
- Garden hose
- Lawn sprinkler
- Snow blower
Of course, this isn’t a complete list. If you’re a big fan of yard work, you may need a few other items, but this list should get you on the right track.
12. Smart Home Tech
Based on your budget, you may want a few other things installed in your home for safety or security reasons. Home automation technology is the newest craze, and with it come a few high-tech security gadgets to keep your home safe. Here are some tech-friendly home improvements to get you started:
- Indoor and outdoor security cameras
- Motion-sensing light fixtures
- Smart speakers and displays
- Smart plugs
- Video doorbells
The Bottom Line
So much time, energy and money go into moving – which means there’s plenty of opportunities for your plans to go awry. However, preparing for the move can help you manage any roadblocks that come up along the way, and it can help you start enjoying your new home as quickly as possible. While there are other checklists you may encounter while moving, we hope this one gives you a good starting point for moving into your new home.
Do you have any moving tips we might have missed? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to read through our other moving tips.
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