Move-In Memo

You just closed on your house. Are you ready to move in?

The first night in your new home should be exhilarating, a night of promise and a fresh start to decorating and furnishing. But what if the moving truck is unreliably three states away? Or the toothbrush you packed is sitting inside one of the 30 cardboard boxes stacked in your garage? Or the smoke detector is wailing a high-pitched beep every five minutes to remind you to replace the battery? Here are some simple things you should do before you turn the key for the first time to ensure the first night in your new house feels like home.

Deep Clean

The house is empty. There aren’t any heavy furnishings to move, rugs to roll up, or fragile knick knacks to gingerly set aside. Now’s the perfect time to give your house a deep cleaning, making moveinmemosure to get all the baseboards, the tops of your cherry cabinets, and the farthest corners of your closets.

Bathroom in a Box

You’re at your new empty house and you’ve started the process of unpacking. You need to tinkle, so you run to your new bathroom just in time. Everything’s great until you turn to see an empty toilet paper dispenser. Pack a special box or suitcase containing many essential items you would normally pack for an overnight trip, like toothbrush, toothpaste, saline solution, eye glasses, etc. Also, throw in a roll of toilet paper, some paper towels, a bath towel, soaps and shampoos. Keep this separate from the moving boxes destined for the trucks and in a place that is easily retrievable.

Glass Houses

What a long day of unpacking. You’re sweaty, grimy, and stinky and you need a shower. You step out of the stall with the towel that you remembered to bring. Thank goodness you also bought a shower curtain liner and rings. (You’re welcome.) But guess what? You’re about to give your neighbors a peep show. Once darkness falls, the lights inside your house illuminate everything inside like a spotlight at a stage show. Buy some temporary window shades or blinds and put them up. You want your neighbors to get to know you, not know you.

Cooler Cravings

During a long day of unpacking, you want to make sure you have a cooler of drinks and munchies to keep you energized. Chances are, you haven’t had time to go grocery shopping. And maybe the fridge is inside the moving truck that is running late.

Arm the Alarm

Bring sets of batteries with you to place inside the smoke detectors. You don’t want to have to listen to that ping all night alerting you that the battery is low. Or even worse: to not have a working smoke detector at all!

Howdy, Neighbor

Introduce yourself. It’s always nice to get off on the right foot with you neighbors. They’re also the best resources for scoping out the best groceries, shopping malls, parks, and restaurants.

Super Savings

Don’t forget to fill out a change of address form at the post office. The best part? The new home packet usually includes a list of important local numbers, as well as a slew of money-saving coupons to local restaurants and businesses.

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Phuong Cotey
GGRE Editorial Director Phuong Nguyen Cotey is a former newspaper reporter and a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee in feature writing for her work at the San Diego Union-Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times). She left journalism to follow her other interests at a nonprofit public-policy think tank and built a second career around philanthropies and foundations. She's also equally passionate about editing. Phuong is the editor for Life*Vida, a book released in November 2013 by Los Angeles Lakers Center/Forward Pau Gasol, a 2-time NBA Champion and 4-time All-Star. She's also a homeowner who wishes she had a hallway closet by the front door and a bigger laundry room.
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