First up on our Summer Guest Blog Series is Natalie Jones a writer who recently contacted us offering to write an article for our blog…she recently moved into a new home, in a new city and had some great tips on how to get quickly settled after a move. Thanks Natalie…On The Move Charlotte is not only passionate about real estate but also helping each others businesses succeed. Here is her article.  

The whole family is here, the house is full of boxes, and the moving truck has driven away. What now? A move is such a big undertaking that few people put much thought into what comes next. Before you get overwhelmed, try these tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Smart Packing and Unpacking

One of the first things you should do is determine what you will need during the first few days in the new house. This “moving essentials checklist” should include things like toiletries, clothes, and chargers (think of it like packing a bag for a vacation) but also household basics like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and kitchen items. These bags or boxes should come with you in the car so you are guaranteed to have them, even if there is a problem with the moving truck.

Then, when unpacking, be smart about your priorities. Follow this unpacking order: kids’ bedrooms (see below), your bedroom, kitchen, and then the bathroom. For each one, only unpack what is needed for immediate comfort. Then, you can go back and add the extras. It helps if you plan this at the packing stage, so your boxes are already sorted by priority.

Settle the Kids First

Settling into a new home can be scary for kids, especially if it’s their first time. Moving.com recommends unpacking the children’s rooms and/or the nursery before anything else. This gives the kids a sense of normalcy during an experience that can be very confusing and overwhelming. Start by making their bed and, if possible, putting their clothes away.

Things like decoration can wait a bit longer. Get them excited about this next stage by involving them in the process; for instance, let them choose a wall color. If you’re worried they’ll choose something awful, you can guide their choices so you both end up happy.

It’s not all about the house. Help your kids settle into the neighborhood by joining groups, discovering popular spots in the local area, and getting them involved in community events.

Take Care of the Responsible Stuff

There are a lot of practical matters you need to settle after moving, and it’s best to get these out of the way as soon as possible. These include;

  • Setting up utilities

  • Checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

  • Changing your address with the US postal service, bank, credit companies, and any subscriptions you may have

  • Changing the lock and potentially upgrading it to a more secure model. You could also simply re-key your lock, which is a cheaper alternative.

If you have moved state, you will probably have to switch car insurance. If you’re not sure where to begin, give yourself a car insurance 101 refresher course and check out state car insurance laws. Also, use this opportunity to get some quotes and try to get a better deal.

Give It Time

Finally, acknowledge that it can take some time to fully feel at home in a new place. Don’t think of the process of settling in as something that should take a couple of weeks. For instance, this article by Trulia suggests how you can use your first year to practice being a good citizen: get to know the area, start a group, make an effort to bond with your neighbors, participate in HOA meetings. Becoming an integral part of your community takes time, but it is an effort well spent since it creates a much deeper bond with the place.

It’s normal for a new house to not feel like home at first, especially if you were attached to the old one. This period of transition happens to everyone, but that doesn’t mean you get to just wait until you feel settled. You need to be proactive at this stage to make your home feel “yours” and to integrate your family within the larger community. The rest will come with time.