Making Yourself at Home After a Move

Moving day is over and now it's time to settle into your new home. Get tips on how to unpack and get your house in order without stressing out.
By: Kara Wahlgren
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Have you heaved a sigh of relief yet? If not, go ahead -- you've earned it.

Now that you've successfully cruised through moving day, you can start turning your new digs into a home sweet home. Of course, your idea of "home" may not include ceiling-high stacks of cardboard boxes. Or maybe you're not exactly smitten with whatever misguided decor (gilded wallpaper? shag carpeting?) the previous owners left behind.

Tip: Establish a sanctuary within your home. Choose one room to paint immediately, and decorate it with items that make you feel warm 'n' fuzzy -- a favorite armchair, a few picture frames, or your projection-screen television. It may be a while before all your belongings are put away and renovations complete, but whenever you need a break from your work-in-progress, you can retreat to this room and feel right at home.

Don't get too comfortable: you still have some unpacking to do...

Feeling besieged by boxes? Take it one room at a time. The kitchen is a good place to start -- it's the hub of most homes, and besides, too much takeout can be hard on the wallet. Get bathrooms in order next, and then move on to bedrooms, living rooms, and guest rooms. If you can't find a place for something, sell it or toss it. Don't let it languish in unpacking limbo.

Once your house is in order, take time to explore your new community. Start with the nuts and bolts:

  • Find the nearest post office, bank, grocery store, police department, fire department, and hospital.
  • Update your driver's license and car registration with the DMV; if you're not a fan of standing in line, log on to your state's DMV website.
  • Register to vote in your new district, and find out where the nearest polling location is.
  • Call your town's sanitation department and see if curbside pickup is offered for trash and recycling.
  • Get acquainted with the rules and regulations of your apartment complex or homeowners' association.
  • Send e-mails or moving announcements to your friends and family with your new address and phone number. For inspiration, read Creative Ways to Announce Your Move.

Once you've made it official, you can focus on the fun stuff. Introduce yourself to the neighbors, and take a few meandering walks until you learn your way around. Subscribe to the local newspaper, get a library card, go shopping downtown, or join the health club. Make it your goal to find the best pizza delivery, deli, or takeout in your neighborhood. It may take some time to adjust, but before you know it, you'll feel like a local.

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