Moving Tips For Families: Getting Settled In A New Home

Man, woman, and a young boy are smiling as they are packing their belongings into different brown boxes.

Use the first week in a new home to get your family settled.


Moving is a challenge all by itself, add moving with kids to the experience and you've got a whole new set of challenges! After the chaos of moving day has settled, you'll finally have time to take a breath, think, and start putting your new home together. During that first week, families will want to focus on four general areas:

Safety
Cleaning
Practical Matters
Fun

Safety

As a parent you know that safety comes first! That includes inside your brand new home. Here are a few safety tips you'll want to consider:

Familiarize yourself with your home's inner workings. This includes the furnace, A/C, water heater, water shut off valves, and the circuit box. Learn how and when to replace the furnace's air filter and/or humidifier filter if you have one. Double check the temperature setting on the water heater and make sure the kids' play area is set up well away from the air conditioning unit. Find out where the water line comes into the house and how to operate the shut off valve. The same goes for the circuit breaker. Find out where it is, check that all of the circuits are labeled, and make sure not to stack any boxes in front of it.

Check your detectors. Double-check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they're hooked up and working. 

Consider changing your locks
. This is a must for buyers of previously occupied homes; there's just no telling who has a key to the house. For those who buy new construction, there is less urgency to change the locks. Any builders use construction locks and key them just before the closing. If the builder didn't use construction locks, ask who had keys to the home while it was being built and if you have been given all of the keys or not. If you haven't and the builder can't produce the missing keys, change your locks.

Install your home security system. If you are planning to install a home security system, it's best to have it done before you move in or soon afterwards. There are plenty of options in home security systems these days and they can be as simple or as complex as you need. Options range from hidden cameras and CO2 or water pressure sensors to phone apps that allow you to manage your home's security from afar.

Kid-Proof the House.
Depending on the ages of your kids, that first week is the perfect time to baby- or kid-proof the house. You'll have easy access to all of the outlets and can decide early on the safest place to store cleaning supplies or lawn care items. Do it now, before the clutter of everyday life takes over!

Cleaning

Buying a new construction home has many advantages, but one thing almost every buyer appreciates is that all of the appliances are new! Meaning there's no need to clean out an old refrigerator, oven, or toilet! You can skip the carpet shampooing too.

Even though there's no need for a floor to ceiling deep clean, you'll want to air out the house and remove any traces of construction dust that may remain. Some buyers like to do this before move in day, others wait so they can clean up the mess from moving at the same time.

Practical Matters


We can't forget the practical matters of moving. Some of these can be handled before you move, but if not then, try to get them done during your first week before you get back to your routine so they don't slip your mind.

Change your mailing address. Contact the post office to officially change your mailing address. They'll begin forwarding your mail on the date you specify, helping you to avoid missing any bills or important mailings. You'll also want to change your address with your bank, credit card companies or loan providers, subscription services, and insurance company.

Set up utilities. This is best taken care of before you move in. You'll need to contact your utility providers to have the utilities at the old house turned off or disconnected and the utilities at the new house turned on. It's best to provide utilities with as much lead time as possible, so as soon as you know your move-in date, make those phone calls.

Collect and store documents and information. Collect all of the warranties and owner's manuals for your appliances and keep them in a safe place so they are easily accessible if you ever need them. "Collect emergency information for the fridge — know the address and phone numbers of the nearest hospital, police station and fire station," suggests Marc Jungers, president of Houston-based Grand View Builders.

Schools.
If you are moving to a new school district, you'll need to get your kids registered. Contact the school as soon as you know your move date to give yourself plenty of time to go through the registration process and learn more about the school(s) your kids will attend. Discuss start dates and ask if you and your child can take a tour of the school ahead of time to ease any anxiety your child may have. If you move during the summer, Laura McHolm, an organization, moving and storage expert who co-founded Los Angeles-based NorthStar Moving, suggests "signing kids up for summer camps or activities so they can meet kids their own age", which can make their first day of school much less intimidating.

Fun

As much as you want to just be DONE with it all already, make time to have some fun. Kids (and parents!) need a break from time to time. Don't hole yourself up in the house assigning task after task until your entire list is complete. Energy and enthusiasm will dip and you'll wind up with unhelpful and cranky kids. 

Sprinkle in some time off where you can explore the neighborhood. "If the kids are resistant to moving, then show them what's positive about their new neighborhood," says Mike Glanz, CEO of HireAHelper, an online service designed to make moving easier. Visit a local park or playground, scope out the best ice cream shop, or take in a movie. Get out and meet the neighbors and start to learn more about your new neighborhood! 

Your kids will be happier about unpacking when they have something to look forward to and you'll all enjoy the change of pace and chance to celebrate your new home. This downtime is also a great time to start planning a housewarming party! 

The first week in a new home typically flies by. Use the adrenaline and excitement to unpack and organize before it's time to go back to work and school and you'll be settled in before you know it!
Sarah Ristorcelli is a freelance writer and editor for leading print and online publications. Formerly editor in chief of Garden Design, she has also written and edited for Cottage Living, Modern magazine and Orlando Arts. You can find her on Google+.

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