Moving In? 5 Essential Steps to Quickly Feel More at Home

You just purchased a new-to-you home? Congratulations! It will take a while to feel completely comfortable in your new home, but there are many ways to help the transition go faster and smoother.

Step 1. Clean From Top to Bottom

Before bringing any boxes or furniture into your new home, give it a thorough cleaning. Whether you hire help or do it yourself, a clean, fresh canvas is an essential first step in making this house your home.

Do it yourself: Slide out appliances and clean underneath. While the back of the refrigerator is exposed, clean the coils. Replace the air filter on the HVAC system and thoroughly clean or replace the toilet seats. If carpeting needs to be shampooed or flooring needs to be waxed, it will be easier to complete these jobs while there isn’t any furniture in the way.

Hire it done: If you hire a service, be sure they understand that you want comprehensive cleaning. Itemize, in writing, the cleaning chores that should be completed, so you don’t encounter any unpleasant surprises while moving in your belongings.

Step 2. Make it Safe

Since other people lived in the house before you, keys may have been shared with people you don’t know. Replace the locks on every exterior door. Be sure to give a copy of the new key to someone you trust in case you get locked out.

Other safety measures include:

Check windows and doors: Make sure everything locks securely, and replace any latches that don’t work correctly.

Install a security safe: Even if you didn't have any "important papers" before, with the purchase of a home, you will now.

Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: Replace any malfunctioning or outdated units.

Replace missing or burned out bulbs: This includes interior and exterior lighting for safety and security reasons.

Install a security system: If you plan to invest in a system, you’ll feel safer in your new home if you set it up before moving in.

Step 3. Create a Little Calm

Moving is stressful. If you aren’t able to unpack and get everything organized in a single day, select one room to set up completely. This will create an island of calm while you get the rest of your house in order.

When you’ve done all the “unpacking” you can tolerate, retreat to your oasis. It can be the main bedroom, an office, or the kitchen. But a space to rejuvenate and recharge will make it easier to tackle the next moving challenge.

If you have children, make it a priority to set up their rooms, so that they will have a retreat too. After all, you’ll want to provide a place where they’re not underfoot while you (or the movers) are working.

Step 4. Personalize the Entry

First impressions matter. Your new home should reflect your sense of style, rather than the previous owner’s. To give it your thumbprint:

  • Paint a boring front door a bright color that reflects your personality and claims your space.
  • If the style or condition of the door isn’t to your liking, choose a replacement.
  • Add planters, window boxes, or other greenery to the entry.
  • Hang a wreath.
  • Buy a new welcome mat.

Step 5. Delight Your Senses

Everyone is unique, and everyone’s home has a unique feel, smell, and appearance. Make your new-to-you home all your own with:

Colors: Paint your walls to reflect your style—ideally, before your furniture is in the way.

Sounds: Play background music, hang your wind chimes, plug in your “noise machine,” and claim the calm that your favorite sounds create while you move in.

Smells: To make your home smell comfortable and familiar, bake your favorite cookies, use your favorite cleaning products, and find healthy home fragrances that you adore.

Turning a house into a home takes time. However, these steps can give you a head start and will make the process a bit easier.