The idea of moving doesn’t typically spark comments of excitement. Often, moving into your new home can feel overwhelming. It can be hard to figure out where to even start. You have tons to consider: project ideas, furniture arrangement, decor, and just getting your belongings to your new home. Whether you are moving to a fixer-upper or move-in-ready home, there are some basic steps you can take to make everything go smoothly.
1. Prepare for Moving Into Your New Home
Moving into your new home is exciting, I get it. But until you have everything lined up to get into your place, it’s time to turn HGTV off, put down those home decor magazines, and focus on getting out of where you are now. If you haven’t purchased your new home yet, you will want to start by looking at some tips for purchasing your first home. If you’re already buying and about to move, you need to take care of the basics. Make sure you have the transportation of your belongings set up. Whether it is renting a truck, hiring movers, or gathering some friends, get this in line. You don’t want to find yourself on moving day without a way to get 100% of your belongings to the new place. This is a good time to start thinking about storage in your new house and where you plan to put everything.
If you plan to work on the interior of your home immediately after settling in, consider setting up only the bare minimum at your new place. This will give you ample space to work and give you more motivation to finish. Knowing that the couch doesn’t make it into the living room until the paint goes up tends to bring out the brushes a bit faster. I knew when I moved in, the first step was painting over the “gorgeous” pink-beige walls and brown trim throughout the house, so I moved nearly everything into the garage to start. I knocked out one room at a time with paint, and then furnished each once they were ready.
After setting up the logistics for moving, get your old place organized. It is easy to overlook the work needed to get out of your old home when so excited to move to the next. Make sure that any necessary work is done on your old home, and get to work on organized packing. Go through your items, rid yourself of anything unneeded, and pack everything away in labeled boxes. I’ve moved countless times by throwing all my clothes, still on hangars, into trash bags and dumping everything I own into boxes at random. Although it feels faster while packing, your life is so much easier unpacking if you take the time to get organized.
2. Setup the Essentials
Once everything is at your new home, get your necessary items in place. Make sure you have a way to store and prepare food, do laundry, shower, and sleep. If you don’t have all your appliances lined up for the new house, you’re going to want to make sure to set those up while planning to move.
When I first moved into my first house, it took me a few days to get a refrigerator delivered and over a month until I was able to install a laundry unit. Don’t be like me, unless you enjoy purchasing new socks because you’re starting to run low. When I moved, setting up basic kitchen needs and my bed were on day 1. The next day was spent getting a work table and tool shelf setup, because I knew I had a few weeks of house work ahead of me before I was going to setup living spaces. Your needs are going to vary depending on what you consider essential items to be, what your family situation is, and what you plan to do in the first few weeks of your home. Identify your basic needs, and start with those.
3. Outline and Prioritize Projects
Every homeowner I’ve talked to defines their house as an unending project. Moving into your new home is just the beginning of a long list of projects. There is always something to do, so take the time to make a list of your projects. This can be as simple as getting everything down on paper in a notebook. Personally, I use Trello to have all my projects in one place online, where I can drag and drop each project idea into a new order. This lets me change my priorities on the fly if something more pressing comes up, or I just decide I’d rather do one project before another. Once you have everything listed out, sort out the most important items and focus on getting those done first. My list looked something like this:
- Install new refrigerator
- Run gas, water, and electric lines into new laundry closet
- Install laundry unit
- Repaint all walls and trim
- Replace all outlets to match new home colors
4. Start and Finish One Project
Now that you have a list of prioritized projects, take your top priority and get it done. You will be tempted to multitask as soon as you get in the house, but you’re much better off tackling things one at a time. It’s easy to tell yourself you will come back and finish the last 10% of a project and start something new that feels more exciting. Do yourself a favor, and stay focused on projects one at a time. A house with 3 or 4 projects completed is going to look 10x better than one with 10 projects that are almost finished. Don’t beat yourself up if your first time through a project doesn’t yield perfect results – Just get it done.
While painting my house, I noticed some blemishes in the wall and trim but I moved forward to just finish painting the entire house. Sure, you are going to need to come back around and clean up those mistakes, but you can just write this down as a new project to prioritize in your list. For me, I actually ended up painting before working on the laundry unit, as it took some time to locate the unit I needed for my house and have it delivered.
Once I located that unit, it was very clear that the laundry project was more important than sanding out those small details in the paint. Also, replacing the dingy yellow outlets of the house was more important to me than those blemishes, so that took a higher priority as well. You will know what is more important to you, and you can line up your projects accordingly. Just don’t start one before finishing another, or you will soon find yourself overwhelmed.
5. Invite Friends and Family
Start inviting friends and family to view your new house as soon as you can. If there is one thing to really kick your motivation in gear, it is knowing that people are going to be viewing your new home. When you first move in, it is a great idea to invite some people over so they can see what the house looks like before you’ve started digging into your projects. When they come back, they will be shocked to see the transformation you were able to make.
Scheduling a housewarming party is another great way to give yourself a deadline on your larger projects. If you know that you plan to have your party within a couple months, it will drive you to finish the necessary projects to host everyone. Take some time to figure out what needs to be done to host your party, and set a realistic date for getting everything done.
For me, I plan on 5-6 months of work on the house before a housewarming. I want the interior space to be at a certain level before inviting a large group of people in. I also will need to build out my outdoor space to host a larger group. After looking at how long it will take to finish the essential interior items, and get enough work done outside, I decided that June would be perfect to have everyone over. Currently, I am pushing to complete everything by mid-May.
Every home is different and everyone has different needs. What you decide to do when moving into your new home is always completely in your hands. The best part of being a homeowner is having the freedom to develop your home exactly to your taste at your own pace.
This all boils down to just a few simple things: Have a purposeful and organized move into your new home, identify and prioritize what changes you want to make, make sure you are actively completing projects, and take the time to show off your accomplishments.