Raise your hand if you love checklists! *Enthusiastically raises both hands*. I love making lists and crossing things off as I accomplish them. Of course, moving was no different. I had checklists galore, my checklists even had checklists. A new home checklist is essential for a smooth moving process.
Now, the average person probably doesn’t have “demo kitchen” on their new home checklist, but I have compiled a list of items that are pertinent for most of you. This checklist includes things that should be done relatively soon after moving in – such as within the first week.
The Ultimate New Home Checklist
1. Change the Locks – When we moved in, we were handed a key ring of probably close to 30 keys. The front door, sheds, back doors, and a few interior doors all had different locks. At some point we’ll get them all narrowed down and re-keyed; however, the front door was the most important. A re-key will cost about $100, but it is worth knowing that you’re now the only person with access. Brad and I had a smart lock in our previous home. I got so used to coming and going without my keys that I really hope to switch out our lock for a new smart lock soon.
2. Change the Garage Door Code – Similar to the locks, but this is applicable if your garage door has a remote mounted on the outside of the door. It is easy to change the code, simply look up the user manual for your specific opener. If your home comes with a smart garage door opener, make sure to download the app and get it set up with your phone too.
3. Replace the Fire Extinguisher – Emergencies happen, knowing that you have a working fire extinguisher if needed is essential.
4. Change the Smoke Detector Batteries or Unit – Avoid the dreaded 3am chirping by changing the batteries when you first move in and mark your calendar for every 6 months to swap them out again. If the house is older than 10 years old, consider replacing the entire unit (possibly a combined carbon monoxide and smoke detector unit).
5. Change the Furnace Filter – A five minute project that can prevent loads of headache down the road. An old filter can make your furnace work harder which can lead to it running inefficiently or breaking. When we moved into our previous home, the owners had simply added additional filters rather than replacing. We didn’t know this until the furnace went out that fall and we had a very cold weekend waiting for repair.
6. Set up the Thermostat Schedule – Unless you like the exact same temperature and live on the same schedule as the previous owners, you’re going to want to set up the thermostat. Better yet, replace it with a smart thermostat and start building out your smart home!
7. Clean the Dryer Vent – Similar to the furnace filter, it is unknown when the vent was last cleaned. In order to prevent using the new fire extinguisher, clean out the dryer vent of years of lint!
8. Find all the Shut-Off Locations – Hopefully you never need to use these in an emergency situation; however, if it does happen, you don’t want to use that time to search for the shut-offs. Fortunately, when we had our “flood” at the previous house, I only had to shut off the water coming into the toilet, because I’m not sure if I actually know where the water shut-off was at that house. Make sure to locate the water shut-off, gas shut-off, and electrical panel for ease of mind.
9. Join Your Local Buy Nothing Group – The Buy Nothing Project is a nationwide program that promotes a hyper-local gifting economy. Items are gifted to neighbors with no strings attached. Not only is it a great way to meet new people in your local community, it is also a great way to gift items as you unpack. Plus, people are always moving in the group so you’re sure to be able to get rid of those moving boxes you no longer need! Literally the day we closed on our new home I joined my new Buy Nothing group. Not only have we gifted unneeded items to the group, we’ve also received some amazing gifts – such as a playset for the backyard and a large air compressor for the garage.
10. Find Local Facebook Groups – Community Facebook groups are great ways to learn about your new community. We have some friends who live in the same city and they pointed us to a couple good groups. Of course you will have to weed out the drama posts, but it is also a great way to connect with neighbors and find out about fun events that your community puts on.
11. Change Your Address – The first address to change is with USPS. This will ensure that anything you miss will get forwarded. I was also able to select a checkbox to update my voter registration at the confirmation screen. Another important address update is on your driver’s license. Here in Washington, we were able to simply update our address without getting a new ID. My license is up for renewal in January anyways so I opted to wait for a new physical card. As forwarded mail arrives, make sure to add those locations to your address change checklist.
12. Go Grocery Shopping – Who wants to move food? You probably spent the last week or so eating all the leftovers so you’re fridge might be a bit bare the first couple days. If you have multiple grocery stores nearby then use this chance to check them all out and discover your favorite (before you end up defaulting to the first one you visit).
13. Celebrate with Dinner at a Local Restaurant – Start exploring your new neighborhood! Moving is exhausting so celebrate with a delicious meal at a local restaurant. Brad and I discovered a locally owned (family friendly) Ale House that we’ve visited a few times since we moved in.
Moving can easily be a stressful life event, but with preparation, that stress can be eased. For me, making lists such as these helped ease the stress I had during our moving experience. If you’ve moved recently, what items would you add to this new home checklist?