We've all seen the dark side of moving. For some odd reason, seeing all your earthly possessions packed away into several boxes can be very emotional, and if you're moving with a partner or friend, tensions can run high. There is a way to avoid a lot of that stress, though, and that's by planning ahead.
In order to find out which first steps should be taken immediately after moving, we spoke to Cheryl Young, a senior economist at Trulia. Young provided us with several concrete tasks that you can tick off your to-do list right after moving. Think of it as a way to take some of the darkness out of the whole process.
Consider purchasing renters' insurance
Renters' insurance is likely one of those very adult things you've probably heard of but maybe don't know much about. According to Young, those who rent their houses or apartments would do well to consider purchasing renters' insurance that covers the cost of replacing your personal items if they're ever damaged from fire, vandalism, or other disasters. "Do a rough estimate of the value of your belongings then choose a policy that covers them in full but doesn’t offer more coverage than you need so you don’t squeeze your budget by paying more than necessary," she recommends.
Create a home maintenance schedule
Renters often get used to having their supers take care of a lot of maintenance tasks for them, so if you've recently become a homeowner, Young suggests creating a home maintenance schedule as soon as you move to snap you out of that renting mindset. "Homeownership comes with a lot of things to keep track of — like filters, fridge coils, the lawn, screens, caulk, weatherstripping, and more," the economist explains. "Find out what needs to be done to keep your appliances, flooring, decking, lawn, roofing, and more in good condition, and then put it all on a calendar."
Introduce yourself to the neighbors
Though it can be tempting to keep your headphones in while walking your dog down the street or riding in your apartment building's elevator as a way to avoid having to interact with anyone, Young says chatting with your neighbors, especially early on, can be extremely valuable. "Look for opportunities when you're both outside to say hello and introduce yourself. A good neighborly relationship will be built on these small exchanges."
Visit area businesses
Just as important as getting to know your neighbors is getting to know your neighborhood, and that means checking out local businesses. "Whether it's the coffee shop or the local massage place, your nearby businesses are a part of what makes finding a neighborhood you love so important," Young tells us. "They'll be the places where you meet neighbors, and spending time there will help you feel connected to the neighborhood."
Get familiar with your HOA or CCRs (if you have them)
According to Young, many planned neighborhoods have homeowners associations (known as HOAs) and/or covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CCRs), so if you've just moved into an area like that, it's vital that you familiarize yourself with those contracts. "If you live in an HOA, a CCR may dictate how you maintain it, such as how long your lawn can be, where you can park, what color you can paint your house, and even what breed of dog you can have. Find out if you have a CCR and read it in detail. Violating one can result in fines — or even lawsuits." If you don't follow the CCR, even accidentally, it could cost you those neighbor friends you worked so hard to build relationships with, so take this one seriously!
Do any needed painting
If you're interested in going the extra mile to really personalize your new place, Young recommends doing that before unpacking, especially if it involves painting. "There's less prep work for you when your belongings are still in boxes."
Change the locks
Switching out the locks on your doors may seem like a hassle, but according to the Trulia economist, it's a great safety precaution. "Change the locks to keep yourself and your belongings secure. Then hide a spare in case you get locked out."
Find out which day is trash and recycling day
Finally, Young suggests figuring out when trash day is in your new hood. She points out this one is especially key because "moving Day will generate a lot of trash and recycling." If you've ever stood in a cramped apartment that's filled wall-to-wall with used bubble wrap, torn boxes, and even a few broken belongings, we don't need to explain how important this final tip is.