couple and dog packing for a move

Moving into a new home is incredibly exciting — but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. You have to pack up everything you own, coordinate with movers (or transport it all yourself), and drive or fly to your new home. If you have kids or pets, things get even more complicated. Luckily, there are ways to ensure your moving process goes more smoothly. Below, we’ve outlined a few moving tricks and tips to make sure you start your move on the right foot.

Step 1: Get Your Paperwork in Order

When you’re in the middle of moving, you’re likely stressed from handling all the logistics of your move. Even a short-distance move can be considerably frustrating — and that goes double for a move across the country. When you’re stressed, it’s easy to become scatterbrained and lose things. But one important item you shouldn’t lose track of during the move is that pile of important documents. It’s incredibly easy to misplace things when you’re not sure what’s in which box.

To keep your life more organized as you move, make sure that you keep all your official paperwork and documents in a dedicated file organizer or safe. Documents to consider adding to this important file organizer may include the following:

  • Trust or will documentation
  • Birth certificates
  • Passports
  • Social Security cards
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns and documents
  • Investment information

Pro tip: Keep these documents physically with you while you move, rather than putting them on a moving truck.

Step 2: Change Your Address with USPS

To avoid any headaches like missing important mail like bills or prescriptions, make sure you take the time to update your address at the official USPS website. Do this at least two weeks in advance of your move.

Step 3: Cancel Your Current Utilities and Set Up Utilities at Your New Home

Nobody wants to unlock the doors of their dream home and suddenly realize there’s no power. Give yourself time, ideally a few weeks, to cancel your current utilities or plan a shut-off date. Then, make sure you set up utilities in your new home.

house with foliage behind it

Step 4: Group Important Items into a “First Week Box”

When you’re moving into a new home, there are going to be some items you need pretty much immediately — toilet paper, shower curtains, and lamps, for example. To avoid rummaging through hundreds of boxes to find what you need, group together any items you’ll need as soon as you move into your home. And don’t forget to mark the outside of the box so it stands out.

Step 5: Change Your Locks

When you move into your property, you can’t be one hundred percent sure how many copies of your house keys are floating around.  To avoid any security issues, it’s good practice to change the locks in your new place.

When you’re changing the locks in your residence, you can also do a basic “security sweep” of your home. Here are some basic home security questions you should ask yourself:

  • Do I need a motion sensor light in dark areas of my driveway, entryway, etc.?
  • Do I need to patch any holes in fencing, walls, or other home barriers?
  • Are my windows easily broken into?
  • Are any of my windows facing out to the street and need to be blocked with curtains or semi-transparent film?
  • Do I want to protect my home with a camera or an electronic home security system?

Step 6: Check Your Appliances

Appliances should all be in good working order — they’re machines you’ll be relying on every day in one way or another. So, get your fridge running, see if the ice maker works, run a few loads in the dishwasher, and cook on the stove and in the oven. It’s important to make sure these are all in good working order so you have one less worry as you’re moving in.

Step 7: Check Your Safety Devices

You don’t want to find out your smoke detector doesn’t work the hard way.  Make sure all the batteries work in your fire detectors and outfit your home with a carbon monoxide detector. You may also want to consider placing a fire extinguisher in each room of the house.

If you live on a second floor, consider buying an emergency ladder you can unfold from the window.

couple with dog preparing for a move

Step 8: Childproof and Petproof Your New Pad

Once you’ve begun the process of unpacking, it’s time to look out for the little ones in your family. Keep dangerous areas of the house off-limits with baby gates and leverage outlet covers. Install latches to keep drawers closed.

Give your pets time to adjust to your new home — after all, it’s a big change for them, too! It’s not unusual for your furry friends to hide or be more timid than usual at first. Consider adding a doggy door to allow your pets in and out of your yard.

Step 9: Meet Your Neighbors

When you’re living in an apartment complex, you have peace-of-mind that you’re surrounded by neighbors. But when you’re living in a house for the first time, you’re likely more spaced out from your neighbor. Getting to know your neighbors can be invaluable and give you a sense of security when you’re traveling or waiting for a special package. Plus, it’s nice to know who you can borrow a cup of sugar from!

Another way to get involved in your local community and get to know others is to join the local HOA.

Step 10: Make the Space Your Own

A new home means you have a totally blank canvas you can use to unleash your creativity. Although it can be overwhelming figuring out how to decorate an entire home, take it one room or one project at a time. For example, you can start off by painting the walls and then move onto furniture and smaller accessories.

Takeaways: Moving In, Step by Step

Moving into a brand new place is an incredibly exciting milestone, but that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing. Maybe you’re not sure what moving company to choose. Or, perhaps you forgot to set up utilities at your new place. Whatever the case, there are some ways to avoid common mishaps and streamline the moving process. Keep the tips in this article in mind and you’ll be on your way to enjoying your new place before you know it!

Finding Help with Moving Professionals

We hope you found this blog post on New Homeowner Checklist: Tips for Ensuring Your Move-In Goes Smoothly useful. Be sure to check out our post on Follow This Checklist Before Moving Into a New Home for more great tips!

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