After the Move: 10 Steps to Settle into Your New Home

Focus in on close up of a smiling young African American woman as she finishes taping up a moving box. Her smiling husband is in the background carrying a donations box.

Congratulations, the builder has finished your new home, handed you the keys, and finished your punch list! You have packed your furniture and cannot wait to move in. Get ready for your move, unpack and enjoy life in faster by following these 10 easy steps for settling into your new home:

10 Steps to Settle Into New Home
1. Change your address and transfer necessary utilities and services
2. Safely store important documents
3. Stay organized while you unpack
4. Have a priority list for unpacking
5. Help children and pets get used to your new home
6. Start your regular routine as soon as possible
7. Host a housewarming party
8. Explore your community and meet neighbors
9. Review HOA rules before changing outdoor spaces
10. Relax!

1. Change Your Address and Transfer Necessary Utilities and Services

Changing your address means changing many official documents. After you move, you’ll need to fill out a change-of-address form for your local post office. Next, contact your bank to let them know you have moved, and help them update your personal information. If you moved counties or states, you’ll need to update your vehicle registration and title information and might even need to change your plates.

In addition to changing your address on your official documents, you’ll need to transfer necessary utilities and services such as electricity, gas, water, cable, phone, and internet, over to your new home. Most of these services let people sign up and change addresses online, so this part of your move should not take up too much of your time.

2. Safely Store Important Documents

Before you start packing up your belongings, gather important documents and family photos. Store them in one safe container so they are not misplaced while you move. Be sure to transfer this box of crucial documents yourself if you are using a moving company for the big move.

After your belongings are moved into your new home, designate a place in your house for document storage. Having a designated -- and organized -- space for your documents keeps them safe and easily accessible both while you settle in and later in life.

3. Stay Organized When You Pack and Unpack

Plan your packing and unpacking process before you even think about buying moving boxes. Keeping your belongings organized throughout the entire process makes moving easier and unpacking faster.

Before you move, box your items by room, label the boxes accordingly, and place relevant boxes in the proper room while unloading at your new home. This keeps your old home less cluttered while you unpack, and it means you do not have to haul a sofa left in the foyer into the living room after moving all the boxes haphazardly left in living room out. Staying organized while unpacking makes decorating your new home more enjoyable and far less stressful, too. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

4. Have a Priority List For Unpacking

Unpacking room-by-room helps you save time as you settle into your new home. Unless you are a master mover, you will not be able to get your entire house unpacked and decorated in one day. You’ll have to decide what you want to prioritize when unpacking, and what rooms make you feel the most at home when unpacked. Start unpacking top-priority spaces first.
If you are moving with children, unpacking their rooms first gives them a sense of continuity, and helps get them settle more quickly into their new home. Getting your bedroom unpacked before you tackle the rest of the house ensures you get restful sleep before you attack more boxes.

Sorting out the kitchen sooner rather than later reduces the cost of takeout meals, and gives you a place to congregate as a family while you get settled. If unpacking your bathrooms are not high on your priority list, make sure you at least have easily accessible toiletries on hand.

5. Help Children and Pets Get Used To New Home

Children and pets can have a difficult time adjusting to a new home. Give your children time to become familiar with the layout and design of the home before you start unpacking. If you have pets, give them a chance to smell their new home and yard before making them spend the night, if possible.

As you unpack, keep children as involved. In their own rooms, give them the space to create their dream room by decorating and organizing their belongings. Help give them a sense of ownership in their home by encouraging them to help unpack family spaces.
Keep pets in the quietest space possible while you move and unpack. Keep them kenneled so they don’t get underfoot while you are moving and arranging heavy furniture. Don’t forget to surround them with familiar objects and show them plenty of affection, too, so they know they are loved and safe.

6. Start Your Regular Routine As Soon As Possible

Don’t let your move bog down your life. Clear out the moving boxes and get back into the regular rhythm of your life as soon as possible. The sooner you get the heavy lifting and the unpacking finished, the sooner you can start decorating and enjoying life in your new home.

Embracing normal routines will quickly show your family that the move was simply a temporary transition, and your new home is a normal part of life. Minimizing the transition time in your move reduces the amount of stress felt by your entire family – yourself included.

7. Host a Housewarming Party

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. After unpacking, take time to plan a housewarming party with your family and friends. This gives you a chance to show off your beautiful new home, and appreciate the features that made you fall in love with it in the first place. It’s a good excuse to let your hair down and relax with your loved ones after the big move, too.

8. Explore Your Community and Meet Your Neighbors

One of the best ways to settle into your new life is to go out and explore your community. Meeting your neighbors gives your family a chance to make new friends and build a local support group. Becoming familiar with your community’s events and amenities makes you part of the fabric of the neighborhood, and helps you get into the rhythm of community life.
Getting to know your neighbors and community helps your family form emotional bonds with their new home, while fostering a true sense of belonging. Knowing that a community is a group of people that you share your life with, not just a group of people that happen to live in the same neighborhood, increases your family’s emotional wellbeing.

9. Review HOA Rules Before You Change Outdoor Spaces

You changed your address on your documents, unpacked and did not break anything, your housewarming party rocked, and your met your delightful neighbors. Now you want to make your mark on the exterior of your home.

To protect the integrity of the communities HOAs have guidelines to how a homeowner can change exterior aspects of the property. If you plan on adding play structures for your children, or want to make any changes to your landscaping, make sure you follow all HOA guidelines, and have necessary approvals for your project.

10. Relax and Enjoy Your New Home

While it might not always be easy during and after a move, remember to try and relax. Enjoy the great features and thoughtful layout of your beautiful new home that you always dreamed of having. While you start getting used to your new life, take time to fall in love with your home all over again.

Have you recently moved into a new home? Do you have any tips and tricks for moving and settling into a new home? Share your secrets in the comments below.

After graduating in 2016 from The University of Texas with a degree in English, Sanda Brown became a SEO Associate for (...more)

Related Articles

Sign up for the Home of the Week

New Home 101
New eBook Available

Expert Advice on Buying & Building a New Home

The eBook will be delivered to your inbox. We will not share your email address.