After weeks of packing and a hectic move-in day, you’ve finally finished moving into your new house in Houston. You’re enjoying the moment when the realization suddenly hits you—now you have to unpack! Your mood sinks when you look at box after box in room after room.
Fear not. You used plenty of packing tips prior to the move. Now, here are some unpacking tips for your new home to help you get settled quickly.
Perform a Safety Check
Your first priority is to change out the locks on outside doors as soon as possible (unless you are renting the house; in which case, you should check with the landlord). This step is crucial because you really don’t know what keys might be in circulation, especially if the house was ever used as a rental. Then check smoke/carbon monoxide detectors to be sure they work properly. Make sure any fire extinguishers are filled and operational. Take note of the locations of the circuit breaker and water shut-off valve.
Clean Up First
Before you start unpacking, make sure rooms are clean to your satisfaction. Most homes will have been cleaned prior to you moving in; however, you might want to do a more thorough job or deep clean a certain area. Before unpacking is the time to do this. That way, furniture and other belongings are not in the way. Once you arrive at your new location, grab some basic cleaning supplies (make them easily accessible when you’re packing up) and start with high-traffic areas—kitchen, bedroom, bathroom.
Do not feel pressured to unpack everything immediately after moving in. Prioritize what you unpack. Start with the bedroom so you have a place to sleep at night. If you have children, unpack toys and books to keep them occupied while you deal with other areas of the house. The kitchen should be next so you can prepare meals. But just start with essentials. What will you need for dinner that night or breakfast the following morning? Bathrooms can follow.
Track Your Paperwork
Nothing will create more stress than losing important documents related to the move. Keep all of this paperwork (bills, receipts, contracts, etc.) in a folder and store that folder in a specific place when not in use. Make a point not to just leave it lying around.
File a change-of-address form with the post office if you have not done so already. Inform your bank, employer, insurance company, and others of your new address. Request transfers of medical records. Register your kids for school, if necessary. You might also need to have your driver’s license updated. Call your department of motor vehicles office to find out.
Focus on unpacking rooms one by one. You will be able to complete the task more quickly this way. Moving from room to room will get chaotic and you can become overwhelmed. If you have family, assign one room to each person so that no one shoulders the entire burden of unpacking.
Any item that you take out of a box needs to be put away. You don’t want to clutter your new home with stuff you leave scattered about. Separate any belongings you want to put in storage.
You will want to start making your house into a home right away. That means getting out your favorite decorations, cherished family photos, books, paintings, and other little things that make your space yours. Even though unpacked boxes will call for your attention, make a point of cooking a family meal. Your family needs time together that doesn’t involve packing or unpacking boxes.
Return to Your Routine
Getting back into your routine will be important, especially for kids and pets. Both feel the impact of a move more than adults. If you have family traditions, such as a movie night, make sure you keep them. Register your kids for school so they can get adjusted to that schedule.
Get to Know Your Neighborhood
Part of feeling at home is becoming familiar with your neighborhood. Make a point to meet your neighbors and others in the community. Subscribe to or pick up local newspapers and magazines. Attend local events. Volunteer at your children’s school. If you don’t know where to begin getting to know the neighborhood, start at the local library. Protip: Use a site like CrowdsourcedExplorer.com to learn more about Houston.
Enjoy Your New Start
You should celebrate this new chapter of your life. Decorate your house in a new way you have always wanted to try. Host a housewarming party so you can get to know your neighbors. Think about other new things you can do, such as joining a gym or trying a new hobby.