Congratulations on moving into your new home! Once all your things have arrived, there’s a good chance you’ll feel accomplished — but also exhausted, overwhelmed, and ready to head to bed ASAP.
But don’t do that just yet! There are several important steps you should take immediately after moving in. Even if you just want to relax and take a breather, by doing these things rather than putting them off, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in your new home.
1) Take a moment to appreciate your new home
You’ve just arrived at your home after what may have been a very long journey (both physically and emotionally). You have plenty of work cut out for you when it comes to unpacking and setting-up your living spaces. But before you start, take a moment to appreciate how far you’ve come.
Take a slow, deliberate walk through your home, and appreciate the potential of each room. Open the windows and look outside. Walk through your yard. Maybe take a photo of your family on the front stoop, or take a stroll through your new neighborhood and meet the neighbors.
Whatever you choose to do, entering your new home for the first time is an important moment of your life. You should take some time to really savor it.
2) Clean up
Some homes on the market are pristine. Others are… less so. Even if you feel your new home is fairly clean, going through and cleaning it yourself is a great way to familiarize yourself with your space and make it truly your own.
Ideally, you should clean your new home top to bottom before any boxes arrive. Try to beat the moving truck by a few hours, and arrive with brooms, mops, dusters, sponges, and cleaning products.
Then start cleaning. Remember: you’ll be able to do this once the boxes arrive, but it’ll be harder to clean around them. It’s best to get this step done ASAP.
3) Take inventory
When you’re packing, it’s a good idea to make a list of your boxes and their biggest contents. You shouldn’t list every item, but you should have a good sense of what you own.
Once your boxes arrive, check the list to see if anything’s missing. Again, this doesn’t mean going through every box. But if something is missing, then the sooner you notice it, the sooner you’re likely to get it back if you give the movers a call.
4) Unpack your most important items
If you’re a savvy packer, you should have a “Day One” box (or a few). Your Day One box contains contain the most important items you need: things like bedding, important paperwork, pillows, soap, a change of clothes, toilet paper, towels, and so forth.
This box won’t have everything you need (and it’s very likely you’ll forget at least some things while packing it). But it’ll make your first day in your new place more bearable, and minimize emergency trips to the store.
As you’re unloading and arranging boxes, take your Day One box and set it aside. Open it as soon as you get a chance, and set these items out where they’ll be easily accessible.
5) Get your bedroom and bathroom together
Cooking and hanging out in your living room are optional. But you’ll definitely need to sleep, shower, and use the bathroom on your first day.
Make sure the boxes for your bedroom and bathroom are clearly labeled. As soon as possible, start the work of getting these rooms together. It’s unlikely, this early, that everything will be in its final arrangement, but even if you have a few things ready you’ll feel far more at home in your new space.
6) Get to know your neighbors
You can technically put this step off, of course. But going out of your way to meet your new neighbors on your first day in your new house is a great way to start things off on the right foot.
Drop by and introduce yourself. Give them your contact information, and get theirs as well. While you’re at it, why not get some restaurant recommendations? Because soon, you’ll need to…
7) Have dinner
You need to eat, especially if you’re moving cleaning and moving heavy boxes. But chances are you won’t be ready to cook on your first day in your new home. Look up some restaurants locally, and either go out to eat or order in. To go the extra mile and get to know your neighborhood, stay away from chains and try to get food from somewhere with local charm.
8) Help your kids and pets settle in
Moves are stressful for both kids and pets. Go out of your way to check in on them and make sure you’re meeting their needs. Reassure your kids, and give them space to play and explore. Make sure your pets have plenty of food, water, and love during this transition.
Moving can be stressful for everybody, and because it’s logistically complicated, it’s easy to get distracted. By focusing on the important stuff first, familiarizing yourself with your new space, and ensuring everyone’s essential needs are met, you’ll be a step ahead of the game and ready to settle into your new space.