Congratulations! You survived the time- and energy-draining process of buying a home! Now it’s time to enjoy life at your new address. You’re probably looking forward to the clean slate a new house offers. And who can blame you? You get to leave behind the outstanding maintenance chores and un-scrubbed baseboards from your previous property. However, there is a short list of things you should do before moving into your new place.
We know that moving is already a hassle, and the last thing you want to do is add more to your plate. If you put these key tasks off, though, you’re ultimately making them harder to tackle in the long run. Knock out these eight to-dos before moving in and you’ll be able to enjoy life in your new home stress-free, the way you deserve.
1. Change the locks
First and foremost, it’s important to keep your family and your property safe. You don’t want a stranger running around with a key to your front door, so changing the locks at your home is a natural step. Do it before moving in and you’ll thank yourself when you’re lying in bed the first few nights in your new home. Plus, getting the locks changed before you move in your belongings prevents them from being exposed during that brief window while your locks are getting switched over.
2. Update your address
Changing your address doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Did you know that the USPS offers mail forwarding for movers? All you have to do is head to the Change of Address portion of their website. It will walk you through six simple steps, then ask for payment of $1. One whole dollar and 15 minutes of your time is all you need to get your mail at your new home. Sure, you’ll eventually need to update your address with your credit cards, subscription accounts, etc., but getting set up with the USPS’s mail forwarding buys you some time and ensures that you don’t miss any important documents.
3. Check for leaks
Ideally, your home inspector ensured that your house is leak-free. But with a simple double-check, you can give yourself peace of mind. When you’re moving in and not yet using any water, check your water meter. Wait two hours, making sure no one uses any water, then check your meter again. It should read exactly the same. If it doesn’t, you have a plumbing leak. You may or may not choose to deal with it right away, but at least you’ll be aware of the current state of your pipes. Plus, it’s a lot easier to arrange two water-free hours during moving – when everyone in your family is out of their routine – than in the normal course of daily life.
4. Change the toilet seats
A simple toilet seat swap will help you feel like the home is really yours – and it will keep you from worrying about what happened in it before you got the keys. If you want to go the extra mile, consider choosing a detachable toilet seat. You know that frustrating feeling of scrubbing your toilet seat hinges, never feeling like they’re truly clean? With a detachable seat, you can take the whole thing off and get every nook and cranny sparkling.
5. Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
Don’t sleep a single night in your home without these safeguards in place. Before moving, head to your new place with a box of batteries and test every smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. If your new home doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector, buy one at a home improvement store or from Amazon. When you first set it, do so outdoors so it gets a clean reading of fresh air as its baseline.
6. Find your breaker box and shutoff valves
Hunting for your breaker box with only a flashlight isn’t fun, but all too many people find themselves in that situation because they didn’t take the time to locate it when they had the help of their home’s electricity. While you’re at it, locate your main water shutoff and gas shutoff valves before moving in. Again, it’s better to find them now than to be frantically looking for the valve as a burst pipe gushes water onto your floors.
7. Clean the cabinets and closets.
Before you unload your dishware and clothes, give everything a thorough wipedown. It will take you minutes if you do it now, but the task becomes much more onerous once it involves unloading everything off of each shelf.
8. Tackle major maintenance tasks
First off, vacuum out the coils underneath or behind your fridge. Over time, these coils can get clogged with hair and dust. This makes it more difficult for them to release heat, ultimately forcing your fridge to work harder. After you vacuum, use a coil cleaning brush to get them thoroughly cleaned. While you’re at it, flush your water heater to clear out any sediment and check if your air filters need to be replaced. Getting all of these tasks handled makes it easy to set a maintenance calendar from your move-in date, rather than having to remember a bunch of miscellaneous dates when each task was last completed.
Before moving: the fun stuff
Now that you’ve tackled the chores that will make it easy to get settled in your new home, you can start on the fun parts! We want to help make every part of your move easier, so we’ve gathered up some tips, tricks and pieces of inspiration.
Have you moved recently? Do you have any tips to add to this list?