What to Do When You Arrive at Your New Home

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Real Estate

You have finally arrived at your new home, what’s next?
©iStockphoto.com/Sandra Gligorijevic

After packing everything you own into a moving van, the family SUV, and your convertible, and paying the movers, you are now on your way to your new place. You have a copy of the floor plan, a marked-up plan of where everything should go, and the mover’s inventory list. Fortunately, your family is taken care of, and you have your brothers-in-law to help unload the truck and arrange the furniture. But, what else should you do when you arrive at the new place? Read on to find out the top 10 things to do.

10: Pest-Proof Your New Home

If you have access to your new place before the moving van arrives, take the opportunity to pest-proof your new home. You can use a bug bomb or have an exterminator come and spray before your stuff arrives. It’s best to do this because there might be pests even if you can’t see them. You don’t want to deal with them after you have unpacked everything. Doing this will also prevent harsh chemicals from exposing your children or pets during the bug bombing or spraying.

9: Start with a Clean Slate

Another great way to take advantage of an empty house is to give it a deep clean. This is especially important if you have already done pest control. Cleaning the floors, baseboards, and windows will be easier since there are no curtains, rugs, or furniture to move. Don’t stop there; wipe down all the countertops, shelves, and drawers. Replace shelf paper if necessary, run a phantom load in the dishwasher and washing machine, clean out the oven if needed, and don’t forget the refrigerator and freezer. Consider hiring a cleaning service to help you if you can’t do the cleaning before unloading the moving van.

Step 8: Explore the Local Market

Many cultures have a tradition of bringing bread and salt to a new home as a symbol of abundance and flavor. Even if you don’t follow this custom, it’s a smart idea to visit the local market and stock up on essentials. With all the moving, unpacking, and helping hands, someone is bound to get hungry or thirsty. Why not have cold drinks, sandwich ingredients, and snacks at the ready? Don’t forget to grab napkins, cups, paper towels, and toilet paper while you’re at it.

Step 7: Check Your Inventory and Inspect Your Belongings

Once the movers have unloaded everything, compare your inventory list to what’s been delivered. Take a walk through each room to ensure that everything has arrived safely. Open up boxes with your most fragile items to make sure they withstood the move. If your delicate china and glassware made it unscathed, chances are the rest of your belongings did too.

Step 6: Prioritize and Organize Your Unpacking

Unless you’ve hired the movers to help you unpack, take your time and unpack only what’s necessary. Start with essentials like bed linens, towels, and toiletries. Unpack a few outfits to wear over the next few days. Find your coffee maker and favorite mug. Don’t forget to locate your pet’s food and water dishes and some toys. This way, you can organize your space more efficiently instead of randomly stuffing things into cupboards and closets.

Step 5: Hang Window Treatments

If possible, make sure the movers finish unloading before lunchtime so you have time to settle into your new home. One essential task is installing window treatments in the most important rooms. You don’t want to be on display for everyone to see once night falls. If you haven’t considered window coverings yet, check your boxes marked “linens” for sheets you can tack up temporarily as a makeshift solution. You can always decide on more permanent options later, like tab-tops or Roman shades.

Step 4: Prepare the Beds

While unpacking, make sure to set up beds for those who will be sleeping in your house. Skip the guest rooms if they won’t be used and focus on the bedrooms for your family. Find your children’s favorite blankets and sheets to ensure a comfortable first night in the new place. Don’t forget your partner’s anti-snoring pillow!

Step 3: Meet Your Neighbors

Take a break from unpacking and go for a walk with your family and pets. Try to meet some neighbors while you’re out and about. Stop by to say hello to those playing outside or admiring their garden. Introduce yourself to others walking their pets or with their family. By getting to know your neighbors early on, your new house will soon feel like home.

Step 2: Enjoy a Family Meal

After a long day of work and unpacking, spend some quality time together as a family. Don’t worry about cooking a fancy meal, order takeout or delivery instead. Relax and discuss what you want to tackle next, whether it’s unpacking or watching a movie together. Mint chocolate chip and “Princess Bride,” anyone?

Step 1: Get Some Rest

Moving is tiring and stressful, so make sure to get enough sleep. Don’t stay up too late unpacking since the boxes won’t go anywhere. By getting enough rest, you’ll be ready for whatever you need to do the next day, whether it’s unpacking more boxes or exploring your new town.

For More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • 5 Tips for Planning a Move
  • 10 Tips for Packing
  • 5 Things You Should Do One Month Before You Move
  • 10 Things You Should Do Two Months Before a Move
  • 5 Things You Should Do One Week Before You Move


1. What should I do first when I arrive at my new home?

Firstly, check that all your belongings have arrived safely and have been placed in the correct rooms. Then, ensure that all utilities such as gas, electricity and water are working. If you have arranged for professional cleaners, wait for them to finish before you start unpacking.

2. Should I unpack everything at once?

No, it is best to unpack only the essentials first such as bedding, toiletries and kitchen supplies. Unpack other items gradually over the next few days or weeks.

3. How can I make my new house feel like home?

Unpack your personal items such as photos, artwork and books. Hang curtains, put up blinds or add other décor to make the space feel more inviting. Set up your home entertainment system and invite friends over for a housewarming party.

4. What should I do about mail and bills?

Change your address with the post office and update your billing address with all your service providers. Ensure you have a system in place for organizing your mail such as a mail sorter or designated area.

5. How can I get to know my new neighbourhood?

Take a walk or drive around the area to familiarize yourself with the local amenities such as shops, restaurants and parks. Join local community groups such as a neighbourhood watch or book club. Attend local events such as festivals or farmers markets.

6. Should I change the locks on my new home?

It is recommended to change the locks for security reasons. You never know who may have had access to the keys before you moved in.

7. How can I get rid of packing materials?

Check with your local council to see if they offer a recycling service for packing materials. Alternatively, you could sell or give away boxes and packaging materials on websites such as Gumtree or Freecycle.

8. What should I do if I encounter any issues with my new home?

Contact your landlord or estate agent if you are renting. If you have bought the property, contact your solicitor or the builder if it is a new build. Keep records of any correspondence and take photos of any issues.

9. How can I make moving less stressful for my children?

Involve your children in the moving process by letting them pack some of their own belongings and decorating their new room. Ensure they have familiar items such as their favourite toys or blankets to help them feel more at home. Plan fun activities in the new neighbourhood to help them settle in.

10. What should I do with my pets when moving into a new home?

Ensure your pets are microchipped and have collars with up-to-date ID tags. Keep them in a secure area such as a crate or separate room during the move. Gradually introduce them to their new home, keeping familiar items such as their bed, toys and food bowls nearby.

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