10 Steps You Need to Take After Arriving at Your New Home

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Once you decide to move to a new home, a lot of time and energy goes into planning, making arrangements, organizing and packing. Then the big day arrives and your furniture, clothing, dishes and other necessities land on your doorstep. That’s when you realize that there’s still a lot you’ll need to do to get settled into your new nest.

The task can seem overwhelming – you probably didn’t fully realize just how much stuff you owned until you had to pack it all. Here are some simple steps that can help you take care of the basics before you begin to tame the wild beast that is the pile of cardboard boxes and other assorted property that’s waiting to be organized:

Spread the word that you have arrived at your new home. This is no time to keep the news to yourself. You’ve got to inform a lot of people and businesses that you’re no longer at your old address, and the sooner you get to it the better. Go to the post office as soon as you can and fill out the proper change of address forms. That is, unless you’ve already done that, which is the preferable way to handle that bit of business. In fact, you’ll want to get the paperwork done before you move, so that none of your important mail falls through the cracks and never lands in your new mailbox. While you’re at it, contact creditors, magazine publishers and anyone else who regularly corresponds with you via the U.S. mail.

It’s a real disappointment to turn up at your new home only to find out that the stove doesn’t work, the lights won’t go on and the telephone line is dead. That’s another set of tasks that are best handled well in advance of your move, but if you forgot to talk with the utility companies beforehand you’d better get on the job pronto. You’ll need to inform the utilities that serviced your former residence that you have left that address, and open new accounts for your new abode. Not only will you have to look into electricity, telephone and gas service, you may also want to talk to the local Internet provider, cable TV service and water and sewer departments. You may also want to check in with the local garbage collection service to assure that a weekly pickup is arranged. Remember, the only thing worse than finding out that you have no power, lights, phone or air conditioning/heat is that you’ll soon be up to your ankles in rubbish.

Accidents will happen, and when they occur while you’re in the process of moving to a new address they can turn into a minor disaster. You can lose valuable time and suffer undue pain and anxiety because of a slight injury. Of course, any major injuries that occur should be dealt with at the nearest hospital emergency room. But for minor scrapes, cuts and bruises, it’s a good idea to be prepared to handle them on your own. So, make your emergency first aid kit one of the first items you put in your new house, and be sure that everyone knows how to find it. Moving day can be a long and tiring experience, and that can result in a number of minor mishaps, especially when the day drags on and helpers begin to feel weary. Be proactive and you’ll feel a lot more secure that any small problems that crop up won’t turn into big troubles.

Maybe you’ve been responsible enough to contact the utility companies and made sure that you settled your electric bill at the old residence and you’ve instructed the power company to turn on the juice at your new location. That’s all very well and good, but it won’t do a lot to help you if the main power box at your new home is switched off and you don’t know how to find it. Locate the main electrical circuit breaker box, and be sure that you know how to turn on and off the main power switch to the house. There are few experiences more frustrating than sitting around in the dark because you can’t find the circuit breakers. Be sure to learn the location of this all-important device before you move.

Not only can a lack of electricity ruin your day, it’s especially unnerving to learn that your home’s water taps have run dry and you can’t turn them on. Or worse, you arrive at your new home to discover that a pipe is leaking into a room or the basement and you can’t shut off the flow. Be sure to find the location of the main water shut-offs that control both inside and outside water. That may help you prevent some significant damage to your home and your property.

“Safety first” is a motto to live by, no matter where you reside. So get off on the right foot when you arrive at your new home. Test the smoke detectors, and make sure each is operating properly. If you feel that you do not have adequate coverage, take steps immediately to add smoke detectors to underserved rooms. You might also want to ensure that there are fire extinguishers on every floor.

Few threats to you and your family’s safety are as potentially deadly as a house fire. Identify each fire exit door and make sure that each person in your family is aware of the best exit to use in the event of an emergency. It only takes a few minutes to establish a plan, and it’s well worth the effort.

It may seem like a minor point, but it’s important to make sure your home is easy to find. Ensure that the number of your house is clearly visible from the street. That will make it easier for moving vans and delivery trucks to find your home, and in the event of a crisis, emergency vehicles can locate you quickly. Taking the extra time to clear away shrubbery that blocks the view of your house number could make a critical difference in the event of a crisis.

Sometimes we take safety and security for granted, and we assume that a new home will not be an easy target for intruders. But that’s not necessarily the case. Call a locksmith and have the locks on your doors changed. This is a must for security and will bring you greater peace of mind. The previous owners may have been honest people, but there’s no telling how many keys to those locks are in other people’s hands.

Maybe you’ll assume that everyone you know will have your new address, or they’ll at least be able to easily find it. Sometimes that’s just not the case. So, be sure to send out your new contact information to family members and friends and let them know about your new home. Some people print up a page with a picture of the new house, the address and phone number and send it to just about everyone on their Christmas card list. You might also include a map on the page to make it easier for visitors to find you.

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