Checklist of Things to Do After Moving so You Can Get Settled

Check off all these moving essentials for a smooth transition into your new home.

Published March 1, 2023
Smiling woman working on laptop while sitting by sofa at home

Make settling into your new place a breeze by tackling the most important things you need to do after moving. Get security, utility, and cleanliness tasks out of the way so you can enjoy your new house or apartment and make it truly feel like home.

Greet Your New Neighbors

You might plan to meet your neighbors once you feel more settled in the neighborhood, but reaching out before or immediately after you move in can help you gather important information. Friendly neighbors might offer to help you move, give you advice on how your neighborhood organizations work, or help you deal with that finicky intercom on your apartment building. Don't wait for neighbors to come knocking on your door when you could introduce yourself right away.

Change Locks & Install a Security System

One of the most important first steps after you buy or rent a new place is to ensure that you and your family are safe. Change the locks as soon as possible and plan to get your security system in place right away.

Transfer Utilities

You're going to want electricity and water on your first night in the new place, so make sure you tackle those transfers as quickly as you can. File paperwork, make phone calls, and create accounts with all the utilities you will use from day one. Make sure you include phone, gas, and internet services.

Check Your Smoke Alarms

Another safety detail you want to tackle as quickly as you are able is testing the smoke alarms and replacing their batteries. Make note of any rooms that need a smoke alarm so you can add to your to-do list or alert your landlord. Make sure you also have a fire extinguisher within reach in any room that could pose a fire risk, like your kitchen, garage, and any second floor or basement levels.

Change Your Address on Important Documents

This is a step you want to jump on as soon as you're able. Get your address changed on any licenses, documents, or work-related details so there is no confusion. Also contact the Post Office about redirecting any mail delivered from your previous address.

Make Key Copies & Hide a Spare

You definitely don't want to get locked out of your new place before you even get the chance to unpack. Make copies for yourself, family members, and any medical, child, or pet care providers who might need access to your home. Make one extra copy to hide as a spare key in case of an emergency.

Change Toilet Seats

Previous tenants or homeowners may have left a pristine environment behind, but you still want to do everything in your power to keep your family safe and healthy. Replace the toilet seats and covers in all the bathrooms in your new home for a fresh and clean start.

Take Photos

Whether you're buying or renting, snap a few photos of the empty rooms before moving in your personal items or making any changes. This is helpful for any issues that might arise when ending a lease, it helps you track remodeling progress in a fixer-upper, and it gives you useful photos when out looking for furniture or home improvement materials.

Make Notes of Everything You Want to Change

You might love your new place and think it's perfect for your family. But there could also be a few things that you would change if ever given the chance. Make notes of these details so you already have a plan in place if you suddenly find yourself in a remodeling position or have the budget to upgrade. You will also want to note any areas that need immediate attention so you can set a plan in place or alert property management.

Deep Clean Everything

A new home can feel like a clean slate, but that doesn't mean that everyone meets your personal standards of cleanliness. Before you move items in and start unpacking, deep clean the places in your new abode that might be tough to reach once your belongings are there. Pay close attention to bathrooms, flooring, windows, kitchen appliances, and baseboards.

Paint Your Walls

If you're planning to paint any of the walls or trim in your new home, consider doing as much as you're able before moving in all of your items. Painting moves much quicker when you aren't stumbling over toys or moving furniture around. If you aren't sure what colors you want to paint with yet, consider choosing a neutral you could live with for a while or simply giving the walls a thorough cleaning.

Young couple painting new home

Get Some Air Flowing

Open those new windows! Let some fresh air into your new place and get those dust bunnies cleared away. Opening the windows will also give you ventilation for deep cleaning and painting.

Start Unpacking

This might be the most fun part or the less than exciting part for you, but it has to happen either way. Start with unpacking everything you will need for your first 24 hours in the residence and go on from there. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, start unpacking those necessities. If you have small children who need entertainment, get toys and devices out of their boxes.

Woman unpacking in her new apartment

Learn How Garbage Collection Works

Your previous place may have an entirely different process for garbage collection compared to your new home. Find out what days your garbage collection takes place, where you can haul garbage yourself, or where the trash chute is on your apartment floor.

Look Into Local Places You Will Frequent

One of the toughest parts of moving is getting plugged into your community. Add this part to your moving checklist so you feel settled in and connected right away. Look into local schools, churches, libraries, parks, medical care providers, hair salons, and pet groomers or care providers.

Make Your New Place Feel Like Home Right Away

Getting settled into your new home involves checking all the tedious details off your list, but it also involves making your new place feel like a home to you and your family. Try a few helpful moving hacks to feel settled right away.

  • Make your family's favorite meal or dessert to help them feel comfortable.
  • Get your small kitchen appliances unpacked, so your morning coffee or weekend waffle routine continues smoothly.
  • Light candles or diffuse essential oils in each room so your family can enjoy familiar scents.
  • Watch your favorite movie on the first night or have it playing in the background while you unpack.
  • Get all the beds prepped for the first night so you feel as comfy as you did before the move.
  • Grab takeout from a chain restaurant you loved in your previous location so you can indulge in a treat that feels nostalgic.
  • Set out your family photos in anticipation of all the new memories you will make.
  • Chat about all the fun things you hope to do or have planned for your brand new home.

Check Off Your Moving to-Do List

Once all of your moving tasks are complete, you can discover the small things you really love about your new home. Set a goal of tackling everything within one or two weeks so you and your family can get settled and start making memories as soon as possible.

Checklist of Things to Do After Moving so You Can Get Settled