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10 Things to Do When You Arrive at Your New Home

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Everything you own is packed into a moving van, the family SUV and your convertible. The old house is empty and awaiting its new residents, and you’re on your way to the new place. The money to pay the movers, plus a generous tip, is in your pocket along with a new set of keys and the security code. You’ve got a copy of the floor plan, which is all marked up with where everything needs to go, and your copy of the mover’s inventory list is tucked in the big folder right beside it. The kids are happily playing with their cousins at your sister’s house, and your brothers-in-law are meeting you at the new house. You know you’ll need them to help unload the truck and arrange the furniture. But what else do you need to do when you arrive at the new place? Check out the next 10 pages to find out.


If you have access to your new place a day or so before the moving van is scheduled to arrive, take that time to get a few things done around the new homestead. You could set off a bug bomb or have the exterminator come and spray. Even if you don’t see any bugs, it’s likely they’re there, and you don’t want to have to share your new digs with pests. You know it’ll be more difficult to find and evacuate any critters after all your stuff arrives. And this way, you won’t have to worry about your children or your pets being exposed to harsh chemicals during the bug bombing or spraying.


Another great way to take advantage of your still-empty abode is to give it a deep clean. It could use it, especially if you’ve followed the pest control advice from the previous page. Cleaning the floors, baseboards and windows will never be this easy again — you’ll have unhindered access to everything. Think about it: no curtains to take down, no rugs or furniture to move. And don’t stop there. You can wipe down all the countertops, shelves and drawers — replacing shelf paper if necessary. Run a phantom load in the dishwasher and washing machine, clean out the oven if it needs it, and don’t forget the refrigerator and freezer. If possible, hire a cleaning service to help you get it all done. If you aren’t able to do the cleaning prior to unloading the moving van, hiring a cleaning service will be even more helpful.


Among many cultures, it’s a popular custom to bring bread and salt into a new home. Essentially, it’s meant to ensure that the homeowners will always have plenty to eat — bread so that your family will never be hungry and salt so that your kitchen will be full of flavor. Whether you want to adhere to this tradition or not, it’s a good idea to check out the local market and get a few staples. Between you, your family, the movers and any friends who are helping you, someone’s bound to get thirsty or hungry during the move. Why not be ready with a refrigerator full of cold beverages, sandwich supplies and other snacks? And don’t forget to grab some cups, napkins paper towels and toilet paper while you’re at it.


Once everything’s off the truck, check your inventory list against what’s actually been delivered. Has everything made it to the new place? This is where it helps to have both the inventory list and a floor plan filled out with what goes where. You can then walk through the house, room by room, and make sure that everything has arrived safe and sound. And speaking of boxes, be sure to open a few cartons of your most breakable items to make certain they survived the move. If Grandma Sophie’s china and Great Uncle Claude’s stemware arrived without a scratch, chances are your other stuff weathered the road trip, too.


Unless you’ve hired the movers to help you unpack, don’t try to unpack everything at once. Sort your carefully labeled boxes so that you only have to unpack what is absolutely necessary. This gives you the time to organize your space as you go, instead of being forced to toss things randomly into cupboards and closets. Look for towels, bed linens, toiletries and other essentials. Unpack a few clothes so that you’ll have something to wear over the next few days. Find the coffee maker and your favorite mug. And don’t forget to find Fido’s food and water dishes and a few of his favorite toys.


Ideally, you planned it so that the movers will be finished unloading the truck before lunchtime, leaving you plenty of time to settle in to your new home. One key part to settling in is installing window treatments. While we’re not suggesting you tackle all your windows at once, do try to dress the windows in the most essential rooms. When night falls, you don’t want you, your family and all of your belongings on display for every passerby to see. Of course, if you’ve yet to even consider your window covering needs, head for the boxes marked “linens” — you can always tack up a sheet or two until you have time to decide on tab-tops or Roman shades.


While you’re rooting around in the linen-filled boxes, unpack enough bedding to set up beds for everyone who is actually going to be sleeping at your house. If your friends aren’t staying over, don’t bother with the guest rooms — you can take time later in the week or next week to get to that. For now, concentrate on the kids’ rooms and your master suite. Make sure you find your daughter’s favorite purple princess blanket and your son’s flannel robot sheets; you want their first night in the new place to be a good one. And while you’re at it, don’t forget your husband’s anti-snoring pillow.


After a few hours of unpacking, you’ll need some fresh air. Grab the kids, put the pooch on a leash, and hit the street for a stroll. If you can, try to meet some neighbors while you’re out for your walk around the neighborhood. If the family across the street is outside playing a game of basketball, stop by to say hello. If the couple next door is weeding their garden, take time to admire and compliment their landscaping. If you see someone else walking with his or her family or dog, pause to introduce yourself. The sooner you get to know the folks around you, the quicker your new place will start to feel like home.


Moving can be tiring and stressful. So, after a long day of work, take time to unwind together. There’s no need to worry about a fancy, homemade meal — especially if you haven’t managed to unpack the kitchen yet. You can drive to the nearest restaurant for takeout or order something for delivery. During dinner, you can relax and make a plan for what you want to tackle next. You might want to start unpacking the kitchen, or maybe you just want to settle down in the den with some tasty sundaes and your favorite DVD. Mint chocolate chip and “Princess Bride” anyone?


Not to be too redundant but … moving can be tiring and stressful. So, after you’ve spent the day schlepping furniture and unpacking boxes, you need a good night’s rest. There’s no need to stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. Those boxes aren’t going anywhere, and by now, you’ve already unpacked the essentials. By getting an adequate amount of sleep, you’ll be ready and able to get started on whatever you need to do the next day, whether it be unpacking the library, hanging all the paintings or taking the day off to explore your new town.

Neer, Katherine. “10 Things to Do When You Arrive at Your New Home” 17 November 2009. 05 April 2015.

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