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5 Good Steps to Take Before Moving Into Your New House

  • Moving = Stress
  • Step #1 – Changing the Locks
  • Step #2 – Housecleaning
  • Step #3 – Painting/Refinishing/Wiring
  • Step #4 – Organizing
  • Step #5 – HVAC Servicing
  • Still Looking for Your Dream Home?

Moving = Stress

Moving is one of those things that always feels a little overwhelming. In fact, it is considered one of the most stressful experiences that people typically encounter. Just look at the top five most stressful situations according to

  • Divorce
  • Death in the family
  • Serious illness
  • Losing a job
  • Moving

“Any disruption of your routine causes stress,” explains the health site. “Moving disrupts the entire family.… Plus you have to deal with the packing.”

Personally, I have moved seven times during my adult life, and I can say that it continues to be challenging no matter how many times you do it. I think that’s because of two basic dual elements: 1.) You are uprooting your life and logically feel ungrounded as you make the transition. 2.) The sheer number of tasks to complete are difficult to fit into an already busy schedule.

What to feel more stable and relaxed? So you can breathe a little easier, we put together this list of to-do items to check off before you move everything into the property.

Step #1 – Changing the Locks

It’s easy to forget a step that’s incredibly important: switching the locks so that you are truly creating a private environment. It may sound ridiculous to think that the person selling you the house or any other random person who might have a key would have the audacity to use it. However, that’s exactly what happened to a friend of Lifehacker contributor Melanie Pinola: one day the previous occupant just unlocked the door and waltzed in uninvited. Moving is expensive of course, so you can look into doing this as a DIY project if cash is tight.

Step #2 – Housecleaning

Certainly if you can help it, you don’t want to move all your belongings into a filthy house – and sometimes the previous owner or realtor will have already cleaned the place from top to bottom. However, Bud Dietrich advises in Forbes that you clean the whole place regardless. “You can hire a service to do this, something I heartily recommend if time is tight, or you can do it yourself,” he notes. “If you do it yourself, set up an area with all of the supplies and tools you’ll need to get the job done.”

Step #3 – Painting/Refinishing/Wiring

When your house does not yet have all of your furniture and electronics in it yet, it’s an ideal time to fix up how the house looks and feels.

Go after the walls and ceiling, Pinola suggests – with paint and possibly wallpaper. You also may want to put a fresh coat of paint in your closets or on your cabinets. The best way to approach this project is starting at the ceiling and working your way toward the floor.

While you’re at it with these big routine maintenance projects, you also may want to get your carpets professionally cleaned and freshen up your wood floors. People often make the second of those tasks excessively complicated, explains Steve Dubuque of Hunt Hardwood Floors. “If the scratches don’t go all the way through to the wood, you can scuff-sand your floors with a buffer and apply a fresh coat or two of finish,” he says. “The process is easier and less expensive than sanding down to bare wood and takes less time.”

Finally, go ahead and put in the wiring that you are going to need for your home entertainment and computer systems.

Step #4 – Organizing

Moving is partially an opportunity to reduce clutter. Start with the closets since they are such a great place to stow away random items. Even piles of shoes can start to become chaotic.

If the closet just has a single shelf, you might want to add another one. You also might want to look into a hanging shoe rack.

Once you are through with the closet, turn to the rest of the house. Where will everything go? What are the best spots for your laundry detergent and umbrella, for instance? You can see how this will make moving in much easier.

Step #5 – HVAC Servicing

Finally, you want to get your heating and air-conditioning system serviced right away, as soon as the paperwork goes through on the house. You also want to make sure that you have a service plan in place on those systems, says Dietrich.

“We’ve always had good luck asking our new neighbors which company they have found to be reputable and attentive for this work,” he notes. “It’s also a great way to meet the neighbors.”

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