Congratulations, you’re on the final stretch before finally calling that dream house “home!” Here’s your final hurdle: moving in.
Did that send a chill down your spine?
Ah, moving. No matter how much preparation you do, moving into a new home always seems to turn into a flurry of overwhelming, last-minute tasks that leave you exhausted and frazzled.
But the truth remains: the more organized you are, the more smoothly the move will go. That’s why in this post, we’ll give you a handy checklist you can use to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for the big day (and beyond)!
1. Make a centralized list
As soon as you know you’re moving, your brain will start bombarding you with things you need to do. Stave off that overwhelming feeling by keeping a running list in one centralized place.
Whether your list is handwritten in a notebook or on a mobile device, it’s essential to keep all of your ideas in one location and have access to your list at all times. That way, when you have an idea, you’ll be sure to add it to the right place.
2. Get a homeowners insurance quote
Getting a homeowners insurance quote for your new home is easy if you have your home inspection performed by a HomeGauge Inspector. Don’t delay this crucial step, because you will need proof of homeowners insurance before you close.
3. Schedule a professional cleaning
It’s a great idea to hire a professional to get residual debris and dust out of the corners of your new home before you move your belongings into it. There’s no better time to do a top-to-bottom scrubbing than when the home is completely empty.
And if you can afford it, hiring a professional cleaning service saves you time and effort while ensuring you get a thorough cleaning before moving day.
4. Turn on utilities
No one wants to move into a home without heating, air, or running water. And do you want to wait a few days (or weeks) for a working internet connection? If not, it’s best to plan for your utilities to be activated ahead of time.
As soon as you know your move-in date, contact the local utility companies and set up an account. They should be able to activate your services in a timely manner, but be sure to let them know of your move-in date as early as possible to avoid delays.
Follow this list to make sure not to forget any essential utilities:
- Water and/or sewer
- Gas and/or electric
- Trash and recycling pickup
- Cable service
5. Set up your appliances
If some appliances come with the house, make sure they’re running smoothly and ready for use before move-in day. Your home inspector will have tested built-in appliances for basic functionality, of course. But once you move in, you’ll want to be able to load groceries into the fridge, use the stove and oven, and wash dishes without first facing the hassle of plugging in and learning how to use your appliances.
6. Change your address
Make sure to notify all the proper entities of your move so you don’t miss anything important. Contact USPS to change your address and forward your mail, and don’t forget to notify all your regular accounts of your new address, including:
- Banks and credit cards
- Ongoing bills (car payments, loans, etc.)
- Magazine and newspaper subscriptions
- Loyalty programs
You’ll also likely want to update your driver’s license and vehicle registration with your new address. And don’t forget to get your children enrolled in their new school and transfer their records!
7. Familiarize yourself with your new neighborhood
Getting to know your new surroundings as soon as possible will help you feel at home in your new place. Make a note of the following:
- The closest grocery store
- The nearest gas station
- Contact information for your local fire department, police station, and poison control
- Nearby parks, running trails, and dog-walking routes
- The closest hospital and/or emergency room
8. Pack up your belongings
Of course, no moving checklist would be complete without mention of that dreaded task: packing. Whether you hire a moving company or handle everything yourself, packing for a move always feels like more work than you thought it would.
Remedy that situation by being as organized and proactive as possible. For instance:
- Purchase packing materials ahead of time, such as boxes, packing tape, permanent markers, trash bags, and bubble wrap.
- Find thrifty replacements for moving boxes, like laundry baskets, suitcases, or free used boxes from grocery stores and other local businesses.
- Sort through your belongings and donate or sell things you don’t want. There’s no sense in moving what you won’t use! Try taking it a room at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Use a labeling system to keep your boxes organized. Don’t forget to mark both the side and the top of each box so that you can see what’s in it at a glance, even if it’s in the middle of a stack.
- Take pictures of valuable/breakable items. If you’re worried about things being broken by the movers (accidents happen, even for the most responsible of moving companies!), create a list of anything that’s fragile or valuable. Take photos of your television, fine china, and antiques for proof of their condition in case any of them are damaged during the move.
- Pack a “first-night” box or suitcase. There’s nothing worse than not knowing where your toothbrush or bedding is when you just want to go to sleep after a long day of moving. Pack as if you’re going on a short vacation; that way, you’ll have access to all the essentials for the first few days while you unpack the rest of your things.
9. Change your locks
Whenever you move into a new home, it’s wise to replace the locks so that you’re sure you’re the only one with the keys. Even in the most innocent of cases, it can’t hurt to hire a locksmith for your own peace of mind!
10. Set up a home security system
Speaking of which, don’t forget to install your security system, if you plan on using one. If you already have a contract with a provider, get in touch and switch your service to the new address.
Or if you’re looking for more flexibility, consider a smart security system that you can install yourself.
11. Find the circuit-breaker and shut-off valves
If you didn’t learn this information during your home inspection, familiarize yourself with where the circuit-breaker and shut-off valves are. After all, if you have an emergency leak or something trips the breaker, you’ll want to be able to remedy the situation right away.
Find the electrical panel so that you’ll be prepared to shut off or reset the power if you ever need to. Usually, the main circuit breaker will be a grayish metal panel located in the garage, utility room, or basement. Open the panel door to see whether the breaker switches are labeled. If they aren’t, you may want to do a bit of testing to find out which switch relates to which part of the home. Label the switches yourself for future reference.
Don’t wait to locate your water shut-off valves until you need to do repairs—or worse, until below-freezing conditions cause your pipes to burst. And of course, if your home runs on natural gas, knowing how to shut off the gas valve in the event of a leak could save your life.
12. Test your smoke detectors
A working smoke detector is essential in protecting your family in case of a fire—which is why it’s important to test all the smoke detectors in your new home as soon as you move in.
Be sure to replace the batteries and run a test of the detector’s functionality by pressing and holding the test button. If you want to be extra thorough, spray a smoke test aerosol underneath the sensor (or hold a lit match within a safe distance) to make sure the sensor detects smoke.
13. Schedule any leftover repairs
No matter how many repairs you negotiated before closing, there will always be at least some minor fixes after a move. Perhaps your inspector found small issues that weren’t big enough to request that the seller fix, such as:
- Slightly warped window frames
- Chipped paint
- A dripping faucet
- Broken closet doors
Or maybe you have plans for cosmetic renovations. Will you be repainting a room or two? Installing new flooring in the kitchen? Whatever the issue, schedule these kinds of repairs or renovations as early as possible so that your moving schedule can work around them.
Follow this checklist to make moving into your new home easier
Moving into a new home is one of the most exciting (and exhausting) times in your life. There are few experiences as full of possibilities as starting out in a fresh new place! But of course, the relocation process is equally full of tasks and chores for you to complete, all in a short span of time.
For homeowners moving into a new home, that’s why having an organized checklist is so important. Start getting your affairs in order as soon as possible, and you’ll find that the move-in process will go much more smoothly!