Moving into a new home is a life experience that few people describe as "fun." But with our tips for things to do before you move in, you'll be ready when the furniture arrives.
The move from start to finish can totally consume you for a long time: planning, packing, moving, cleaning.
When you arrive at your new home, you're faced with even more challenges. It may seem like a small thing to decide where to put the best china or the everyday dishes, but after all the work of moving out of the old home, the last thing you need is one more big decision or another major project.
But doing some work to your new home right away will make moving in feel great.
Below are some pre-move-in projects that can save you time and trouble.
Choose the projects that are the most pressing. If your budget won't allow re-carpeting the entire house, just do one floor. If you can't face paint decisions for every single room, then just do the rooms where the decisions are easy.
If you're moving into a new house, you may not need to do anything at all. Lucky you!
But if you've bought a home with carpet you hate, you're probably thinking that it has to go. Should you wait until you're moved in, or tackle the job now?
You may decide that it's too much to think about right now, that you should leave the decision about a replacement for later after you've settled in. You may not have the budget or time to do anything but move. But be sure to weigh in the "cost" to you in both hassle and time if you wait to do a necessary project at a later date.
Replacing carpet is a major project, and if you have the money and you can make just this one decision at moving time, you'll really be doing yourself a favor. If you put it off, you'll be faced with moving all your furniture out of the rooms. What a bother! Not just for you, but for the flooring installers as well! There will be furniture all around the place, and you'll have to move it back into the room when they're done. If you can do it when you move, be sure to order the flooring well in advance of your move. Make arrangements to have new flooring installed a day or two before you move in. Cover the new flooring with mats, tarps, or area rugs so the movers don't track in dirt or scratch the wood. Then, when they set your sofa and coffee table in place -- you'll be home.
Whether you do the work yourself or hire someone to do it, it's a lot easier to paint an empty room. There will be no need to move furniture, take down draperies, clear out the closets, or take every picture or mirror off the walls. Allow several days to repaint before the movers show up, especially if you'll be doing the work yourself. This type of work always takes longer than you think. Or, hire a crew (professional painters or friends) to come in and get it over with in a day or two. Painting even part of the house before you move in can be a terrific time saver. If you can't decide on colors, then just have everything painted a clean white, a pretty light beige, or another background color you love -- depending on what works best with your furniture and color schemes. Once the major patching, priming, trim work, and base coats are in, adding another wall color at a later date can be a snap.
Does anyone not love the look of crown molding? It's a wonderful luxury to be able to install molding around the whole house all at once before you move into your new home. Be sure to prime and pre-paint the strips of molding before installation, just before painting the interior walls. You may need to do some touch up at the joints and nail holes, but that's a lot easier than standing on a ladder for days trying to paint three coats fo paint on the molding near the ceiling!
Locks and Keys
You'll never know how many keys are floating around for your new home unless you get new locks or re-key the existing locks. The previous owners may have given a key to neighbors, workmen, relatives, or cleaning services, and you'll get some peace of mind if you get new ones. This is a project to do just before or soon after you move in.
Having things organized, fitting into your new home, will really make you feel great. You'll love wonderful closet systems with double hanging poles, drawers, and shelves up to the ceiling. If you wait until later, you'll have to take everything out, pile your clothes in stacks on your bed or floor (can you visualize your clothes wrinkling in giant stacks), and live out of suitcases for a day or two until the closet fittings can be installed. No matter when you choose to do it, professional installers can be in and out in a jiffy. Do-it-yourselfers may need a bit longer to figure out the instructions, but once the process is down for the first closet, each additional closet should be faster and easier. If you do some measuring in your new home before you move in, you can plan ahead and choose and buy your closet components ahead of time.
If you're moving into a new home, you may have all the electrical outlets you need. But older homes could be a challenge. You can do the upgrades anytime, but everything is easier to get to in an empty room. Remember, electricians are paid by the hour and they'll be able to work faster if they have immediate access to outlets and room for ladders and equipment. Older homes may need GFIs in kitchens and baths, as well as additional outlets for TVs, phones, computers, or lamps. This would be a great time to add a ceiling fan, and an electrician can install a wall switch, brace the ceiling and install a specialized box for the fan. You might want better work light in your kitchen or reading spotlights over your bed. Lighten up a hallway with new track lighting or add lights in your new closets. Two real luxuries that are easy to do are an outlet inside a vanity for your hair dryer or an outlet on the mantle for holiday lights. How about a motion-activated ceiling light in a basement or laundry room?
All of these projects can be easier to complete when your rooms are empty. The work can be completed without your having to move furniture or cover room accessories to protect them from drilling dust.
Will you be able to park your car in the garage, or will it become the storage spot for everything from garden tools to holiday decorations? Yes, once you move in, it's FULL of stuff. So, if you want to build storage shelves, finish the floor with an epoxy coating, or install a workbench, it can be much easier to do it before the garage is stacked to the ceiling. Another handy tip -- if you have sturdy garage shelving from a previous home, arrange to have it loaded on the truck last, then unloaded first, so boxes marked "storage" can be placed easily and quickly onto waiting shelves.
Using the tips and hints here, you'll find that moving into your house can really be a pleasant experience. You'll feel right at home in no time. Happy moving!