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What's The First Thing To Do When You Get Keys To New House....?

What is the first thing you like to do when you get the keys to your new house (new to you, not necessarily newly built), go inside for the first time, and it's "yours".

I mean "chore-wise"..... to prepare it for moving your things in and living there?



Sanitize Toilets?


I'm sure there are a lot of good suggestions here!

We will be moving into a new house in a few weeks, and I am planning ahead!

What do you like to do first??

Miss Mary

Comments (25)

  • stolenidentity
    13 years ago


  • hamsundm
    13 years ago

    The very first thing I do (besides wander around in shock) is clean bathrooms, run bleach thru the dishwasher and washing machine and wash out the fridge.

    In a perfect world, I'd be able to paint as needed, clean carpets, wash cupboards, countertops - fully clean - before moving all of my things in. But usually the window of time is so small, unfortunately. Our last move we had to kind of clean as we set up each room.

  • mom2five-home
    13 years ago

    Change the locks.

  • dainaadele
    13 years ago

    Fall down in exhaustion from unloading the truck, eat take out pizza for dinner on the floor of the "new" livingroom, then decide to flop the mattress still propped up against the wall down to the floor and sleep there for the night.... yes, done this twice so far. Grin.

  • User
    13 years ago

    We have moved 4 times in our marriage, and all of them have been some version of this:

    I haul out the boxes of paint samples and start wandering around, splothing here and there. Next we bring in and set up the beds (to be honest, mr. sandyponder is probably doing that as I flit around, painting samples here and there), bring in towels, shampoo, soap, etc., so we can be clean, open a bottle of adult beverages, which vary by season chez sandyponder, toast our new adventure, then hit the hay and cristen the new house.

    Sadly, cleaning, disinfecting and lock changing have never even occured to me, I'm more about the paint colors and, uh, other stuff.


  • amysrq
    13 years ago

    I do some sort of space clearing ritual in all of the rooms. This last house, I swept with a brand new broom, made by local artisans, purchased just for the purpose. You can look up "space clearing" on the net and see if any of these physical acts of taking possession resonate with you.

    We usually try to have some kind of a festive meal, either just family or even with friends. When we moved into a house with very little furniture back in 2002, we had friends come over with folding tables and chairs on the first night and we threw a big party with take-out food. It really begins to fill the place up with the soul of our own people -- friends and family -- to have a joyous event as soon as possible.

    In this house, we hosted Thanksgiving about ten days after moving. It was crazy but, again, began the process of filling the home with our own spirit. First holidays are always a special way for us to put our roots in a little deeper and we try to make them as special as we can, given the circumstances.

    Good luck!

  • teacats
    13 years ago

    Check everything to make sure that all of the repairs that you may have specified in your contract are still in place.

    Do a fast check around outside of home to make sure that all is well. (no leaks, no pests or bugs, no garbage etc.)

    Check to make sure that the electricity and water (and gas if present) is all hooked up and working.

    Clean kitchen, bathrooms and decide on basic bedroom set-up. Make sure that there is toilet paper, soap and paper towels in all locations.

    Find safe and secure spot for pets. Water and food. Litter box for cats.

    Set up radio or music for tunes.

    Direct movers to place boxes in correct location. Ditto for rugs and furniture. Do NOT let the movers place the furniture FIRST -- get them to put down the rugs and then the furniture.

    Set up lamps in bedroom. Make bed.

    Set up snack area and drinks for all present.

    AFTER movers leave -- breathe.

    Allow pets out to explore. Be very careful if you allow pets outdoors until all is secure.

    While pets explore -- find something for a meal.

    Open champagne.

    Have hot bath.

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  • OKMoreh
    13 years ago

    On two occasions, both when I wasn't actually moving in until the following week, the first serious thing I did was to repaint a pink bedroom. In both cases it had been a little girl's bedroom; in the first, I was making it a home office, and in the second it was properly the MBR.

    Most recently, the appliances were all new, the house had been vacant for several months, and it was exceptionally clean. I desperately wanted to paint over dark paneling in the family room that I was turning into a dining room, but first had to have some massive cabinetry removed. What I actually did first was assemble furniture and install light fixtures that I had bought (for the new house) at Ikea, then drove 300 miles back to the old place to await movers.

    One thing I have found important: check in advance on lighting. Once I moved into a house with no ceiling lights except in the kitchen and bathroom; it was February and got dark before I could unpack any lamps. And twice I have moved into places where every light bulb was burned out--I think people must save burned-out light bulbs and put them back in when they're moving.

  • beekeeperswife
    13 years ago

    1.Clean Bathrooms
    2. Make Beds
    3.Get ticked off because former owner took built in shelves in basement, and all curtain hardware even though it was in contract to leave it.....sorry, I digress (it was a corporate move for them and they were told to take everything, they sure did)

    Kitchen can wait to be cleaned until I'm ready to unpack which is usually day 2

  • grlwprls
    13 years ago

    I think I'll suggest to my husband that we try sandyponder's move in strategy. It sounds much better than any of the ones we've tried in the past. ;-)

  • DruidClark
    13 years ago

    Oh, Amrsq, that's what I would do. I haven't moved in several years, but that's exactly what I did after leaving my old apartment and moving into my new-to-me house and I do now after and before tenants in our rental house.

    Lots of ways to space clear. One effective way is to buy sage, let it dry and then light it and waft it around. There is something in the sage that clears the air, literally, of left behind odors as well as other energies that you may not want in your new home.

  • kiki_redo
    13 years ago

    We just moved into our new home two weeks ago.

    My thoughts -
    Before you touch anything, go around and take before-photos. That way you can look back later and see how far you've come.

    Start a house notebook - I measured rooms, marked windows & doors, I'll keep paint samples and swatches in there as I go along.

    Clean the kitchen & bathrooms & doorknobs and windows.

    I had never heard of the whole space-clear thing, but I'm intrigued and reading about it.

    On the second day in the house, after the new-looking carpets had been steam-cleaned, a pet-urine odor appeared! It was not at all noticable before (during inspection or during prior trips) but is definitely stinky now. When we looked with a black light, it showed a galaxy of stains all over the two-year old carpet. The whole downstairs carpet needs to be pulled out and replaced. I was so upset that I spent the whole next day outside digging up the soil on the south side of the house and planting an herb garden. That herb garden has made the most difference in my feeling ownership of this new space. It's my happy place, checking on the little seeds coming up, looking at the new growth - very soothing.

  • shellsmom2
    13 years ago

    I locate my "Box #1". This is the box that I packed specifically for that first night. It has basic cleaning supplies, dishtowel and dishsoap, toilet paper and paper towels, shower curtain, soap, shampoo and towels, and sheets and pillows and pyjamas. It took 3 moves before I realized how important Box #1 is. Everything else can be found/unpacked in the days to come! Enjoy your move!

  • yborgal
    13 years ago

    The first thing I do is put a roll of toilet paper into each bathroom.

    Then we do as teacats does.

  • momto4boys
    13 years ago

    replace toilet seats..even if they appear brand new. odd, I know. Then I continue to replace every 6 months.

  • igloochic
    13 years ago

    Mom you know you can clean those right? :oP

    The last across country with small child who is required to travel with liquid items in excess of allowed items (thus requiring all family members to get patted down while said child bellows about the issue).

    Pat down while traveling with the dog...ok that just added to the fun.

    Fly across country (three bags checked each including the dog LOL) hauling everything you can carry then pile into rental car, not big enough to carry everything you brought with you.

    Another half a day later arrive at your new home, furnished and clean, so easy night in that aspect...but you've been traveling since 4 am with a 4 year old and a dog and too much luggage....

    WOnder how late the liqour store is open in this state...realize it's closed, forget that grocery stores carry wine here....groop around the house looking for anything with the word "booze" in it....find a bottle of wine left for you on the table in the formal dining room...fall to your knees in prayer to whatever god left it (and turns out it was the PO). Look for wine glasses....and an opener.....desperate, it's getting ugly, find an antique cork screw under the range (in a drawer but still....) Pry that cork off and drink the wine from coffee cups.

    Ahhhh the only way to finish a moving day :) Clense schmenze, just enjoy the wine and worry about the rest of it later. :)

    My furniture didn't arrive for two more months, the same day as the swat team....but you didn't ask about swat team day did you? :OP

  • newdawn1895
    13 years ago

    Clean and then start to unpack. Is moving not the hardest thing in the world?

  • momto4boys
    13 years ago

    LOL igloo, I know! We have the ones that have the metal, not plastic hinge thingys. Maybe it's cause I have all boys..but after awhile, the metal starts to tarnish.
    Gotta get them to stop peein' on the back of the toilet!! LOL

  • Rudebekia
    13 years ago

    I agree with many others.

    1. Secure pets in a room with their bed, food, etc.
    2. Unpack the "immediate need" box that contains cleaning supplies, toilet paper, towels, sheets, and anything else you need for overnight. Unpack the suitcase you packed with overnight personal items (clothes, makeup, etc) and lay them out in the bedroom
    3. Clean bathroom and set out towels, soap, shampoo, etc. Hopefully you brought a shower curtain.
    4. Set up bed and put on sheets,blankets etc.
    5. Hopefully there are window coverings in the bedroom. If not, put up some makeshift ones.
    6. Now you are all ready to flop into bed after you exhaust yourself! Order take out, pour a scotch (what, you forgot the "immediate need liquor" box?), roam around dazed a bit, and then dig in to all those boxes. . .
      I despise moving!
  • newdawn1895
    13 years ago


  • vampiressrn
    13 years ago

    ~Clean toilets and stash toilet paper.
    ~Clean kitchen sink and set out paper towels.
    ~Set up microwave and store paper plates and plastic utensils.
    ~Set up bed and alarm clock.
    ~Set up TV and video player.
    ~Be sure doggies are safe, fed and happy.

    ~Cable, Phone, Internet hookups.
    ~Plan for all deliveries.

    Luckily I have only moved a few times in my life. ;~]

  • wantoretire_did
    13 years ago

    All excellent suggestions. Whenever I've moved OUT of a home, I always left at least, TP, hand soap, paper towels, some plastic glasses and all the light bulbs ( :-). Imagine my horror when we moved into this house and the ONLY thing they left was a few light bulbs. NO TP!!

    That said, make the beds first so you don't have to face that later in the day when exhaustion sets in.

  • graywings123
    13 years ago

    What is the first thing you like to do when you get the keys to your new house

    Change that to should have done and I would say, hide a key outside the house so when you lock yourself out the first evening, you don't have to slither through the dog door to get back in.

  • dilettante_gw
    13 years ago

    In no particular order:
    1) Change all the locks to use a single key and have extra keys made.
    2) Measure all of the rooms and draw a plan of each room. Note where the electrical outlets are in each room. Measure the windows and doorways.
    3) Figure out where all of your furniture will go before you move it and draw up a plan. Mark your boxes and furniture with the name of the room where they will go.
    4) If you have the time and $$, refinish the floors, steam-clean the carpets, and paint if needed -- so much easier to do if the rooms are empty.
    5) Take photos. (I wish I'd done this!)
    6) If you're not changing the paint, ask the PO what paints were used where. (If you're lucky, the PO will leave the marked cans for you.)
    7) Ask the PO for a list of plants, trees, and shrubs and any special care requirements, especially if you're not a gardener or if you're moving to a different climate. Something that looks like a weed in May could turn out to be a beautiful flowering plant in September.
    8) Ask the previous owner for a list of service people (septic cleanout, electrician, plumber, snow removal, lawn service, pest control, etc.) that they used. It will be a good starting point.
    9) Fill out the change of address form at the Post Office.

    1. Find out where the breaker box, gas, and water shutoffs are.
    2. Find out if there's a Newcomers Club (or similar) in your new town. Mine was a terrific resource for meeting people and finding out about all sorts of things I never would have known.
    3. Stock up on toilet paper and cleaning supplies and a couple of waster baskets.
    4. Clean! Even if the PO hired a cleaning service, it probably won't be as clean as you like. Besides, there's something really disgusting about OTHER people's dirt.
    5. Get doormats before the movers come.
    6. Put down rosin paper for the movers in the hallways, etc.
    7. Call the town hall to find out when trash and recycling pickup is (if your town provides that service) and what the rules are. If your town requires you to use special bags for trash, stock up. My town provides recycle bins. Get your trash barrels and recycling bins BEFORE you move because you'll have a lot of packing materials and other stuff to get rid of after you move. (You can also give away packing materials on Craig's List or Freecycle.)
    8. Arrange for the utilities and to keep your current phone number (if that applies).
    9. Make sure that the house number is visible!