Preparation is key, and that doesn’t exclude preparing your new home before you finally move in. Although you might feel like there isn’t much to do because it’s a “new” home and all the work went into setting up the move, there are plenty of things you can actually get a jump-start on.
Do a Walkthrough
First and foremost, do a thorough walk-through of the home while it is empty. This will give you an opportunity to start a mental plan for where items and furniture will go, measure the spaces, check on any agreed-upon repairs or appliances that were supposed to be left in the home or taken out, check outlets and other electrical components, check that doors and windows work properly, or look for any new issues that might have come up. It’s best to bring up any issues sooner than later to avoid hassle.
If you’re unable to do a walk-through, see if you can schedule a virtual tour with your realtor to cover these important tasks. You might even be able to get a 3D scan of the living space and a blueprint with dimensions so that you don’t have to physically be there to measure
Perform a Deep Clean
It wouldn’t make sense to do a deep clean after all of your belongings and furniture are moved in because then you’ll have to clean around a bunch of clutter. So instead, try and get into the new home before the moving day and clean the place from top to bottom.
If you aren’t able to physically get into the home yourself to do a deep clean, hiring a cleaning company to do it for you is another option. Since there won’t be additional furniture and items collecting dust and causing messes, there’s a good chance the cleaning service will be cheaper than a standard service for a home that has all its furniture and belongings.
Create an Unpacking Plan
Just like a packing plan is helpful, so is an unpacking one. Labeling your boxes during the packing process is key, but so is prioritizing what boxes need to be moved in and unpacked first when you arrive.
For example, you might want to prioritize unpacking the kitchen items before the living room items so you can care for your basic needs when you first move in and worry about the “luxuries” later. An unpacking plan can be done without physically being inside your new home, so this one shouldn’t be hard to plan if it's an out-of-state or long-distance. move.
Set Up Utilities, Internet, Etc.
I’m sure you don’t want to spend the first night in a cold, dark house or bored without cable or internet so make sure to set up your utilities beforehand and schedule them to turn on on your moving day. This includes electricity, heat, gas, water, internet, phone and cable.
For some companies you can simply transfer services but for others you’ll have to cancel and restart, depending on the company or where you’re relocating.
Something that not many people think about is changing your locks. Even if you might not be concerned about the previous owner, you don’t know who else might have a copy of the key.
Schedule a locksmith to come by beforehand to change your locks, including locks on the windows. The expense will be rewarded with peace of mind.
Childproof / Petproof the Home
If moving with children or pets, take extra steps to ensure their safety. Have an emergency first aid kit and extra supplies easily available, childproof the house by protecting outlets, sharp corners, or open doors/windows, keep dangerous tools out of reach (scissors, box cutters, glass), keep dangerous cleaning chemicals out of reach, setup playpens, install security cameras or baby cameras, etc. The safety of your pets and children always come first.
If this isn’t something you can do before your move-in day, just make it a priority and get it done as soon as you get to the new house and before you unpack everything. Do a quick walk-through and protect where you can, or have your kid’s playpen or dog’s crate in an easy to access location for a quick setup.
Explore the Community
Whether you physically drive around the neighborhood and town or do some google searching, it’s always a good idea to get an idea of the neighborhood before you move in. Make sure to have addresses and phone numbers for the nearest grocery store, pharmacy/drugstore, doctors office, emergency vet and regular vet, and police station.
Having a plan is the best way to reduce anxiety, make sure nothing on your to-do list gets missed, and make for a smooth and easy moving experience. Make a checklist to keep yourself on track and prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can also ask your moving company what kinds of additional services they offer to help reduce the load on your plate!