Your New House Checklist (All the Things to Buy)
Personal Finance Writer
Andrew Tavin a contributing writer for Own Up.
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We get it: Moving into your new home is stressful. According to a 2022 survey by Move.org, 38% of respondents found moving homes to be even more stressful than a break up. But don’t worry: We have the facts to help you relax.
Since stress can negatively affect your memory, you may finally settle into your new home only to realize you forgot something important. Our checklist can help you remember your moving basics, safety essentials, cleaning supplies, and more home needs so you can settle in comfortably. Before you know it, you will be enjoying your new home.
Must-Haves for Moving
There are certain items you'll need for the actual move-in day. Unless the previous homeowners were nice enough to leave their furniture, you'll want to make sure you're ready to move everything into the new place.
First-time homeowners should pay particular attention to this list.
- Moving works better as a team effort. Try to recruit helpers: A professional moving service for those priceless heirlooms and friends for the little details and bonus support. This network will go a long way toward putting your mind at ease.
- A tape measure so you don't drag a piece of heavy furniture towards a room only to find out it doesn't fit
- Drywall repair putty to cover the holes the previous owners made when they removed their pictures and window treatments, or to fix the holes you mistakenly make (don’t worry, we all do it!)
- Shoe protectors to keep the floors from being scuffed up
- Ibuprofen for sore muscles from moving heavy items
- Chair, couch, and furniture protectors, especially if you are moving from a place with carpet to one with wood and tile
- Step stools to reach light fixtures and put items away in tall cabinets
- Paper towels, paper plates, and plastic silverware if you need to eat before you've unpacked your kitchenware
- A magic eraser to remove the scratches the movers and you will incur when moving in and putting things in place
- Extension cords for lights and power tools
- Bubble wrap to make sure nothing important is damaged
- A dust mask if you are sensitive, as dust is part of the moving process
- Curtains for the bathroom and bedroom, even if temporary
- Box cutters for unpacking
- Bottled water in case your water valve isn't turned on yet
- Remember to think about your furry friends: Your new home needs to be set up to accommodate your pets. This is a big move for them too!
- Make sure to set up mail forwarding.
If you're working with movers, they'll likely bring many of the supplies listed above, but it's a good idea to have your own as well.
Even before you're fully moved in, you'll want to make sure your new home is equipped with all necessary safety features.
Many new houses have combined smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that are in the ceilings and wired into the house, but older homes will need plug-in carbon monoxide detectors in bedrooms and living areas. Other essential items include:
- A first-aid kit for any injuries during or after the moving process
- Fire extinguishers to prevent your new house from burning down
- Fully charged flashlights in case of a power outage
- Water bottles and canned food, especially if you're moving to an area at risk for natural disasters
- Electrical outlet protectors and gates for the stairs and fireplace (especially if your move involves small children and/or pets)
- Consider any special disability or accessibility needs for the home, such as a ramp and shower chair if you are in a wheelchair.
Some people may choose to install alarm systems. We recommend having an alarm system installed professionally. However, if you want to bring a DIY wireless system from your old house you will need tape, screws, and extra sensors. Make sure your Wi-Fi is set up so your new system can be installed. Be sure to send and receive test signals. Also, make sure to alert your alarm monitoring company and the police, since the system should be registered with them.
You may also be able to save money on your homeowners insurance by installing certain additional safety features. Look at your insurance policies or contact your insurance provider to see if you can lower your rate by installing more secure house locks or updating your plumbing and electrical systems.
Cleaning supplies tend to last for a while, but you still need to purchase them in the first place. It's best to buy them early on since you'll want to do a good cleaning after the move and before unpacking too many items.
You might even consider a cleaning service, if you can afford it, to deal with the initial mess. Either way you'll eventually want these basic cleaning supplies so be sure to add them to your house checklist:
- Trash bags and Ziploc bags
- All-purpose cleaning solution and/or bleach
- Bathroom/toilet cleaner
- Broom and dustpan or Swiffer and pads
- Dish soap and sponges
- Mop and bucket
- Paper towels
- Rubber gloves and rags
- Vacuum cleaner and duster
- Air fresheners
- Pet cleaning sprays if you have pets
It's up to you whether you want to splurge on a robot vacuum or just use the old-fashioned kind.
If you're a DIY type, moving into a new house will present a lot of fun activities to distract from the stress. There are bed frames to assemble, bathroom fixtures to install, windows that need shades, and more.
A good toolbox will be essential to maintaining your new home. We've got some suggestions for what you should include:
- Screwdrivers, both flathead and Phillips, either manual or powered
- Adjustable wrench
- Allen wrenches
- Tape measure, in case you didn't grab one while reading through the "Must-Haves for Moving" section
- Electrical tape and duct tape
- Utility knife
- An assortment of screws and nails
Always do your research before attempting any DIY projects, and be sure to know your limits. Installing wall shelves could be a nice weekend task. Replacing your water heater is probably best left to a professional.
Sometimes you need to take a break from moving in and reward yourself with a cup of coffee or tea, or a glass of wine or beer, depending on your preference. The last thing you want is to finally settle in and realize you don't have any dishes or glasses to eat or drink from.
There are entire stores devoted just to kitchens, so this list is focused on the essentials. Cooks and bakers would certainly add many other items.
- Coffee maker
- Toaster or toaster oven
- Can opener and bottle opener
- Pots and pans
- Spatulas, ladles, measuring cups, and other cooking utensils
- Cabinet liner paper
- Cutting boards
- Containers for leftovers
- Dishtowels and napkins
- Dish soap and sponges
- Trash can and trash bags
- Dish drying rack
You probably have a lot of these items already, but this could be a chance to purchase some replacements if you want to cut down on your total number of moving boxes.
Bathrooms are not exciting places, but they should be comfortable places. Make sure you have the essentials you need, including:
- Toilet paper
- Body soap, shampoo, and conditioner
- Hand soap and dispenser
- Toothbrush holder
- Bath towels and hand towels
- Towel racks
- Toilet brush
- Shower rod and curtain
- Shower caddy
- Bath mat
- Trash can
- Air freshener
Remember to use those basic cleaning supplies from earlier to keep your bathroom shiny.
Laundry may not be the first priority on your mind, but it’s best to be prepared.
Assuming you have a washer and dryer in your home, make sure you also have:
- Laundry detergent
- Fabric softener
- Dryer sheets
- Drying rack
- An ironing board and an iron
- Clothes hangers
Be sure to set up your TV or some speakers in advance so you don't get bored while folding your laundry.
Settling In to Your New House
While these lists are extensive, they're not comprehensive. If you are downsizing, you may even find that your belongings are not fitting into the new space. Don’t hesitate to donate furniture in good condition that you can no longer use.
We've tried to create some universal suggestions, but you should create your own list that takes your personal style into account. Don't worry too much if you forget something. There are likely stores nearby, and as long as you have a credit card, online shopping to handle the rest. Most importantly, give yourself enough time, and spread your move across several days if you need to. It doesn’t need to feel like home on day one, but we promise: It will get there.