You’ve signed the lease or mortgage to your new place. Moving day was a monumental task, the last slices of pizza have been eaten, and there are skyscrapers of cardboard boxes in the various rooms of the place that you will now call home. But after all of the frenzy has died down, what should you turn your attention to next? Worry not, we have you covered.
Just Moved In? First Things First… If You’re Renting
Do another thorough walkthrough of the entire property. Get a Landlord-Tenant Checklist from your landlord or property manager that contains all of the rooms, fixtures, and appliances that came with the new place. Write down everything’s condition and take pictures of any damage. Report any findings right away and keep a copy for your own records.
Unpacking can be every bit as daunting as packing was. Don’t get discouraged, however – this is where you will first start to get a sense of the life that will be lived here. Start small. Unpack the suitcase you prepared. Get your bed rebuilt and put the sheets on it. Get your bathroom set up. Unpack your kitchen utensils. Set up some seating and plug in your television. While it may take some time to get to where you can break down that last box, you still have to live here in the meantime.
It may sound strange, but a great place to start is to give your home a thorough cleaning. The home should have had a deep clean before you moved in, but it might be better to be sure. Even if you are planning on doing the cleaning yourself on a normal basis, consider hiring a professional cleaning crew this first time around. You may relish the break after the hassle of moving day and the unpacking you now find yourself in the middle of.
Change Your Locks
The truth of the matter is that you have no idea how many people may have had keys to your home before you got here. If you are renting, get a written guarantee from the landlord or property manager that all of the doors have had their locks replaced. And while you are at it, make spare keys.
Check Your Utilities
Make sure that everything is working as it should and that there are no leaks or repairs that need immediate attention. Test that your smoke alarms and (if you have them) carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and have fresh batteries.
Go Shopping and Explore
Head to the grocery store and get to know the layout. Stock your new fridge and pantry. Take a walk or a drive around the new neighborhood. Get a better sense of where you now live. This will help you to more easily find stores, schools, museums, libraries, and pharmacies.
Logistics of Your New Neighborhood
If you have a Home Owners’ Association that presides over your neighborhood, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with its policies and what your dues might be. Likewise, trash and recycling collection days can differ even if you have remained within the same city. Ask a neighbor or call your city’s sanitation department to figure out what days this happens for your particular area.
Change Your Address
Once you have moved, you need to update your information with the post office for a new mailing address. In addition, you also want to file an update with any of your online shopping services and with your local DMV (to get a new driver’s license). If you have changed states, you may even need to establish legal domicile. You might also need to update your information with the IRS. While you are at it, you might also want to visit your local seat of government and change your voter registration info.
Register Your Pet
If you have moved to a new county or state, it might be a good idea to register your pets shortly after moving in. Some states have different requirements regarding pet ownership and registration, so check your state’s website for better clarification. This might also be a good time to make sure that they are up-to-date on necessary shots or to possibly have them microchipped. If they already are chipped, make sure to update them with your new address.
Set Up Pest Control
You may also want to look into having an exterminator come out to your new home to look the property over. This could help you identify any potential problems and should get you a quote as to how much it may cost you to keep bugs at bay.
Throw a Housewarming Party
Pick a date, send out invitations, and plan to have a fun night where people can check out your new digs. Provide finger foods, drinks, snacks, and some entertainment. Consider extending those invitations to your new neighbors. Introducing yourself to them can go a long way to making a good impression in the neighborhood, and you might even make some new friends. If you aren’t quite ready to party with them yet, however, it would still be a good idea to at least stop by their place for a quick and friendly hello.
No Matter What, Take Care of Yourself
While beginning a new chapter is full of excitement and possibilities, it is also a very taxing experience. There is a lot of hard work that goes into making the transition into a new home and, to some extent, a new life. Make sure that you remember to give yourself plenty of time to settle in and enjoy your new home. Send thank you notes to those who helped you get here. Take a day or a night off and just relax. And although you may not want to think about it now, save your organizational notes from this move for when you might need to again someday.
But for now, you have accomplished a huge undertaking and you deserve to enjoy every moment of living in your new home.