What to do before moving everything into a new home?
March 20, 2019 11:54 AM   Subscribe

We've got a couple of weeks between taking possession of our new home and having to move out of my current apartment. What do you wish you'd been able to do while your place was still empty?

There are few things we know we want to do before we move in: replace the hot water heater, get the ice maker in the fridge connected, and apply a fresh coat of paint to the walls.

It's a fairly new townhouse, only 10 years old, so there are no renovations required and the home inspector said it's in excellent shape, so other than the hot water heater, there aren't any major repairs required.

What else should we be considering taking care of before we move all our possessions in?
posted by burntflowers to Home & Garden (29 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Scrub out all the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen and bathrooms.
posted by something something at 11:56 AM on March 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


Move in a few things that it will be handy to have in the first few days, the kind of things you'd put in the "open me first" box if you didn't have the extra time. TP, paper towels, regular towels, cleaning supplies, shower curtain, bath mat, etc.
posted by praemunire at 11:59 AM on March 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


(Also, I personally would be strongly tempted to spray down all the closets with permethrin, but I have deep Clothes Moth Trauma.)
posted by praemunire at 12:00 PM on March 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Paint, re-finish/carpet floors, deep clean out the wazoo (I'd hire someone) if it's not clean already.
posted by bluedaisy at 12:04 PM on March 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


clean the carpets, run the heater/air-con/etc to make sure it doesn't smell like burning dust.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:04 PM on March 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Floors, Paint, literally anything that creates dust.
posted by iamabot at 12:07 PM on March 20, 2019


Take pictures!
posted by Fukiyama at 12:08 PM on March 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


Figure out where everything is going to live: what cupboards will the glasses/pots/plates be in, where are you going to store the big things you use once a year (the tents, the skis, the winter tires). Where will the toilet paper stores live? What do you have that you don't need to move?

That way you will be able to just MOVE THEM IN and not have stuff kicking around underfoot for a month while you figure it out.

It also lets you do things like install shelves and pot hooks and hangers for handbags or what have you, before you're surrounded by boxes and stressed out.
posted by jrochest at 12:11 PM on March 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


It's a good time to switch out the floors if you want -- replace carpet or switch to wood/tile/etc. Our entire second level is carpet, and it's going to be hard to replace or switch it out because we'll either have to move all the furniture downstairs or constantly move it from room to room to replace it in sections.
posted by lilac girl at 12:11 PM on March 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


We were glad that we had our blinds installed before moving in so we were not exposed to everyone! Plan for ordering time if you are going that route. Our plantation shutters took 10 weeks to come in and the transitional shades took 3 weeks.

We also had our tile grout sealed and any granite sealed.
posted by polkadot at 12:12 PM on March 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


If there's a basement, now is the time to confirm its water-tightness and fix anything that could go dramatically wrong.
posted by teremala at 12:12 PM on March 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Any minor renos that you're thinking about doing in the next five years. Replacing faucets, light fixtures, home automation.

Preventative pest control, spraydowns, diatomaceous earth under and behind things. Bleach out the fridge/freezer. Clean/seal the grout.

Hire duct cleaners if they haven't been done in 10 years.

Replace/hang window coverings. Clean windows inside and out, check screens for tears and replace. Install storm doors or awnings.

Have any patios/porches/balconies deep cleaned and/or bleached. Check the driveway for cracks and fix them. Any kind of pest treatment for the landscaping before you move pets in.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:12 PM on March 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


Measure everything you might like to have measurements of -- windows, room sizes, closets, door widths, whatever else you can think of. Measuring things is much easier when there is no stuff in the way.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:13 PM on March 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


Oh, also change HVAC filters and have ducts cleaned if needed. No fun in having the place fully cleaned and then blowing dust all over everything.
posted by polkadot at 12:13 PM on March 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Don't just paint the walls. Paint the ceilings too.
posted by mcduff at 12:18 PM on March 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Seconding--emphatically--hiring someone for a deep clean. It made SUCH a difference--when we got the keys the place looked pretty clean, but as the cleaners did things like get into the window wells and pull the kitchen appliances away from walls, I realized how gross the former owners left it. Will never again move to a new place without having this done!
posted by lovableiago at 12:19 PM on March 20, 2019 [10 favorites]


Go through your belongings and decide what to sell, donate, or trash before you move. I felt so stupid having spent money and time moving things that I just got rid of.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:22 PM on March 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Paaaaaainnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnt omg if you don't do it now, you never will
posted by alleycat01 at 12:42 PM on March 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Paint the ceilings.
Regrout.
Check toilet flushing capabilities and replace if necessary, and also make sure the toilets are secure to the floor and don't rock
Change out ceiling lamps/fans
Run cables for whatever you need cables for
Does the shower work ? Does it work well? Do you need to replace the head?
Clean the oven if its coming with house.
Leave the kitchen cupboards open over night to
posted by Ftsqg at 12:52 PM on March 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Paint the inside of the closets, once they are full you will never paint them.
posted by tman99 at 1:33 PM on March 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Change the locks. You don't know who has copies of the old keys. Get all of the locks keyed alike, so one key opens all of your exterior doors.

Replace the toilet seats. I like the ones that have a pneumatic closer, which drops the seat slowly. This is instead of the "clack" of a falling seat that is the standard.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 1:45 PM on March 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


How are your ceilings, are they textured (popcorn)? Did you wish they were all smooth and flat? Do that before you move in!
posted by tinydancer at 2:01 PM on March 20, 2019


While you're reconnecting the line to the fridge ice maker, make sure you replace the attached water filter. Replace any other water filters in the house as well.

Clean the windows and screens, inside and out -- you may be able to press a tab to swing each pane down from the frame to clean the outside.
posted by ourobouros at 2:55 PM on March 20, 2019


omg yes regrout your shower/tub/skins. We normally do our regrouting right before a vacation because it needs several days to dry, but that still involves some creative shower plans beforehand because you gotta strip it off & kill whatever moldy grime that lives in the cracks. Do it while you can still lock down the room!
posted by lilac girl at 7:11 PM on March 20, 2019


Forget keys for locks. Install new number-pad locksets.

Change several electrical outlets to include one or two USB ports.
Change one outlet in each bathroom, hallways, etc. to include a downward facing night light.
posted by yclipse at 2:59 AM on March 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


so there are no renovations required

There might not be renovations required, but there might be some that you'd like.

If you're buying this place, now it the time to do this!

See the above !
posted by lalochezia at 6:54 AM on March 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


"We were glad that we had our blinds installed before moving in so we were not exposed to everyone! Plan for ordering time if you are going that route. Our plantation shutters took 10 weeks to come in and the transitional shades took 3 weeks. "

Thumbtacks and basically any blanket/sheet, large sheet of paper, cardboard, canvas, world's largest t-shirt, etc all function really well as ersatz blind/curtain combos for a 10 week period waiting for proper ones or also just permanently.

OP, light fixtures, fans, and other built-in thingies become a bigger pain to mess with once you're moved in. I'd also check around for leak, blast the sinks on full blast and see if it makes any mess underneath. Also cleaning the baseboards, especially if it was ever the kind of house where the owner/landlord decides that a fresh coat of paint is better than trying to clean or repair something normally.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:57 AM on March 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Paint the garage interior as well.
posted by qsysopr at 2:03 PM on March 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


Change the locks. Get everything re-keyed with the same key.

Are the utilities running and over in your name? Do you have your trash container and the weekly schedule? Where do you take surprise items from the attic?
How will lawn clippings and leaves be removed?
Now is a good time to plant a few things.
Or try container gardening.

Try to box stuff by room. Blue duct tape for bathrooms, yellow for kitchen, red for the children's things, etc.

First week box -- cleaning supplies, first aid kit, shop towels for grunge work, etc. Phone charger (one for the vehicle in case the other is covered up by mistake).
Bag of Boredom and the number for the local take-out restaurant.

Designate a corner in each room for the boxes. Unpack as you need items. After a month, put remaining boxes in the garage. After a year, get rid of the unpacked junk.

Find your quiet place now in the empty house. Try a half hour with a simple chair, a nice beverage, and a pleasing view. Drink it in before all the chaos begins.
posted by TrishaU at 11:26 PM on March 21, 2019


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