Claire Thompson
November 16, 2021

The Ultimate Checklist For A New Homeowner

Ten handy tips to make your first day in a new home productive, from easyStorage, your home storage back up and support.

You’ve spent months, maybe longer, preparing for a move. And finally you’ve arrived, the boxes are unloaded and…. Sorry, you can’t relax just yet.

Here’s a quick checklist of things to think about when you arrive:

1. Utility Meter Readings/Connecting supplies

You want your utilities (water, gas, electric etc) to work, but you don’t want to be paying for previous occupant’s bills.

Find out who their providers were (you probably have before moving) and make the switch, but don’t sign up to any long term contact just yet. Utilities are expensive and shopping around can get you a better deal.

Some utilities will let you book this in advance, but many won’t, so you’ll need to be hot on the phone – and given that you’re new you’ll probably also need that to be your mobile phone.

Remember to keep phone chargers, a pad, pen, and identity documents somewhere easy to get to. Whatever they claim, no-one’s going to make it easy and sometimes creating a password and getting through ‘Captcha’ security checks (are you sure you’re human?) can try the patience of a saint, leave alone someone who‘s just moved house.

North American company, Moving Services survey asked 1,000 Americans who have moved within the last three years about their experiences and, the growing pains that come with moving on - 45 percent of respondents said moving is by far the most stressful event in life – just topping a breakup or divorce (44 percent).

Having as much information together as possible BEFORE you move will ease the way – as if you didn’t already have enough to do!

Don’t forget that Wifi is pretty much a utility. If your phone/provider allow it, you may want to make sure that until everything gets turned on, your phone can act as a hotspot, especially if you need to keep an eye on emails or school messages.

2. Pets and Children

Keep pets and children comfortable when you’re tired, stressed and distracted is hard. Make sure your pet has food and water, and any toys, blankets, beds and medications are easily available.

None of us like leaving our pets elsewhere, but having them out of the way and somewhere safe in the early days of the move can help reduce stress – if you have to have them with you, you’ll need to keep doors closed that would be better open to allow access, and periodically check on them to ensure they’re still around and OK.

It’s not unknown for animals to adopt bad habits like chewing, weeing or even defecating either out of fear or to mark a territory in the middle of move. If you have to have them with you, make sure that clean up bags/disinfectant are in your ‘things to have at hand’ box when you move. For important things to remember when moving with pets, you can click here to read more.

And whilst children may get clingy because of the upheaval, if they can have an adventure and stay with a friend or relative, it’s going to make life easier for them. It’s a great strategy for you too, as you can pack their things with the in peace when the rush of moving has died down.

Just make sure that your diary is kept fully up to date – forgetting pick up time counts as a cardinal sin in kid’s books!

Their most precious items may be unexpected, so ask before they move which toy, teddy, blanket or book they most want to find in their new home when they arrive, and make sure it’s first out of the box to make your life a whole lot easier.

Keeping them in as much of a routine as possible is often a key to success, but don’t expect them to sleep easy if you’re banging around or they’re hungry. A bit of forethought can save mini dramas at a time you’ll be least able to cope with it (see stress, above).

Of course, if your children are teeners or young adults, roping them in to help is sometimes feasible.

You know your teens. Some will rebel badly because they’re being taken away from their friends, - others just want to be involved. For more tips about moving with children, we've written more on this here.

3. Unpack Essential Items First

Planning for this is important. Your most important things are probably bathroom, bedroom and a kettle for the kitchen, but you know your priorities (see pets and children above.)

You’ll probably want to shower after a heavy moving day, get a good night’s sleep. This is often tough if the utilities have been cut off, which is why those utilities were first on our list.

You can have a good night rest on clean sheets on a mattress – assembling a bed on moving day is sometimes just a bit too ambitious – unless, of course, you have friends or relatives roped in and on standby for this kind of thins. Your own bed can be really comforting!

Have warm jumpers, candles and matches in your essentials pack, along with baby wipes for a ‘festival wash’, in case utilities go awry or things don’t work as expected.

4. Mailing Address Updates

It’s easy to get mail redirected, but if it hasn’t already been done, do it now!

Many services will let you change your address online, but others need letters.

Have a list of who needs to be told and won’t accept changes before the move, and put this in motion shortly after arriving. For those who insist on having it in writing, have those letters ready before moving and simply pop them in the post, first class.

Some mail will always slip through, so leave a pile of stickers with your new address on in the property you’ve just vacated. Sometimes landlords just chuck them anyway, and sometimes new owners or tenants just can’t be bothered, but the majority of people are nice.

Keep some blank letters with spaces to fill in for anything like subscriptions – sometimes just sending them the wrapper if it’s a subscription, for example, is way more useful to them and a lot less stressful for you than a call.

Having stamped envelopes to hand will make life a lot easier, as will having a load of stickers saying ‘Return to Sender, Unknown at this address’ for any mail arriving for the previous occupant unless they’ve had the foresight and courtesy to leave you something similar.

Hopefully you’ll have brought snacks and cold drinks with you in a cooler to keep yourself going, but if not, grab some while the shops are open.

However much easier it would be to go and get dinner at a local restaurant, the reality is that getting clean and dressed up in the midst of chaos and exhaustion looks a lot less appealing than when you planned it – and budgets in the middle of an expensive house move may not stretch that far, anyway.

A local food delivery service, by contrast, can prove a fabulous treat when you’re tired. A blanket on the ground with a slice of something normally forbidden and a bottle of really sticky pop can give you a necessary - sometimes even fun - break, give you the energy to carry on, and even be romantic if you’re moving with a romantic partner or spouse. First night in your new home, dinner by candlelight…. Aww!

5. Check the Smoke Alarms, Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Security Systems

Checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, along with security systems, may not seem top priority when you arrive. But the alarms can be life savers, and getting a security system checked for issues before they’re a problem saves unwanted alarms going off the moment you pop your head down to sleep (Murphy’s Law – you know it’s what will happen!).

Make a note of any batteries etc that you need, and of any codes you need but don’t have. If you can solve this easily, because you have batteries to hand or an appropriate phone number do it immediately (one thing off that growing ‘to do’ list). If you haven’t or can’t, make sure that the devices are disabled (see alarms in the middle of the night, above), and leave them open. They’ll eventually irritate you into resolving the issue, but if you close them up, they’re easily forgotten.

6. Locate Circuit Boxes, Water Stopcocks, Fuse Boxes etc.

Knowing where things can be turned on, or off, in an emergency is vital, especially if plumbed in appliances have been removed by the previous occupants.

Then if the lights fail or an alarm starts sounding, you’re one step closer to resolution and less likely to get stressed or panic.

7. Clean Before Unpacking

This sounds a bit odd when you’re about to open dusty boxes and get wrapping paper or bubble wrap everywhere, but in order to move things in, people will have been tramping in dirt and/or wet from outside.

Getting rid of it before you put furniture into its final resting place, or unpacking boxes with more paper and dust, will give you a bigger problem to deal with later. You may also save yourself money by avoiding the need for a deep clean or specialist clean later.

And getting into a bath that’s not been cleaned by the people before can turn your stomach.

Previous blogs that may make your move just a little easier include:

-          A checklist for preparing for a move

-          15 tips for a seamless house move

Whatever your move, may we wish you happy times in your new home. If you need home storage, you know where we are, and if you want packing supplies, we can help with that too: easyStorageBoxes.

Claire Thompson

Claire joined the easyStorage family as a blogger in August 2020 and is loving it! Her passions include writing and learning, and with easyStorage she’s learning new things fast. When not tapping at a keyboard she can be found renovating an old cottage, despite having inherited a complete lack of DIY skills from her father. She has two children, now grown up, and a dopey, loving Vizler (dog), Chester, who steadfastly refuses to do the same. She claims he’s her soulmate!

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