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After You're Done Moving
Arriving in a new home is both exciting and overwhelming. On one hand, a new place often
enables you to start fresh, to design your space as you've always wanted to and to make new
friends. On the other hand, setting up a new life requires time, patience and energy which is
often lacking during stressful times. It is important to keep in mind that you've made it this farnow
the fun part can begin. In only a few days or weeks you will be entirely set up and able to
enjoy everything that your new location has to offer.
The first step in getting organized in your new home is to make sure that the area is clean before
unpacking. Unpacking into dirty shelves or placing furniture on dusty floors will promote the
spread of dust and germs- things that can be easily avoided with a bit of elbow grease and
cleaning solution. Take care to sweep the areas where furniture will be placed and to clean out
all shelves or drawers before unpacking. If you are too tired to clean before unpacking, consider
hiring a cleaning service to do a quick once-over of the apartment so that you don't have to.
As soon as the house is sufficiently dust-free you can begin unpacking. During the unpacking
process make sure to check whether any of your belongings was damaged during the move.
Likewise, make sure to unpack in a timely fashion to ascertain whether anything was lost or
stolen during transport. Even if you are sure that all boxes were unloaded from the moving
truck, some items may still have gotten misplaced en route. The quicker you report these losses
to your moving and insurance companies the faster you will find a satisfactory resolution. In
some cases, a statute of limitations will prevent you from receiving compensation if your claim
was filed late.
Consider donating or dumping anything that you can't find space for when you are unpacking.
Even if you've already dumped a good deal of your things before the move, you may realize
during the move that you still have items that you don't need or want. If you can't find a place
for them in your new home, consider keeping them in the box and taking the box directly to a
thrift store or to the curb.
If there are things that you plan on saving but won't need in the foreseeable future (such as old
baby clothing or toys), you'll probably store them directly in your new attic or storage area. If
so, make sure to keep a master list of where you are putting each box (and what order they are
stacked in) so that you'll be able to find what you're looking for as quickly as possible.
As you unpack, cut open your boxes carefully and fold them up so that they take up less space in
your new home. Many areas offer box recycling programs where you can donate your boxes to
others who are planning a move. Think about box recycling as a way to protect the
environment, prevent your garbage bin from overflowing and to help others in need.
If you plan on applying for a local driver's license in your new area, do so as soon as possible
after arrival. When you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, also make sure to reregister
your vehicle(s) in your new state. Keep in mind that there are often long lines in these offices.
Plan on spending an hour or two there, and bring a book or magazine to keep you calm and to
take your mind off of everything that needs to be done at home. In fact, it may be worthwhile
to go to the DMV on a day when you need a break from unpacking. This will reduce the stress of
the lines and will provide a (potentially) refreshing change of scenery.
If you don't know your new neighbors (or anyone in your new town) knock on your neighbor's
door and introduce yourself. If you're feeling particularly amiable, host your own 'welcome
party'. Print invitations and place them in your neighbors' mailboxes. Briefly explain how you're
excited to be in town and eager to meet new people. Don't feel obligated to prepare a fancy
spread. Your neighbors will understand that you are still settling in and will appreciate chips and
dip, cruditÃ©s or cookies. Alternatively, if the weather is pleasant, take your children to the park.
This can be a great place for both you and your children to meet new people.
Recognize that different children adjust differently to new situations and that it may take a
while for your children to get settled in. Help facilitate the acclimation process by encouraging
your child to discuss what's bothering him or her. Invite over some of the neighborhood kids
(one at a time) to befriend your child and help your child determine with whom he or she feels
the most comfortable.
Another important part of settling in is becoming familiar with your new neighborhood. If
possible, ask your neighbors where they shop, bank, get their hair cut and do other regular
activities. Experiment by shopping at different grocery stores and pay attention to the pricing
on items that you purchase regularly.
Determine where the closest mail box, convenience store, gas station and dry cleaner are. As
time goes on you will naturally familiarize yourself with local establishments. You will also
become acquainted with local speed limits, stop signs and railroad stations so that you can drive
comfortably throughout the neighborhood. If possible, take your children on drives throughout
the neighborhood so that they can get excited about what your new town has to offer. Search
out interesting parks, bowling alleys and ice cream parlors. Play games that encourage your
child to become familiar with the area.
In addition to familiarizing yourself with the neighborhood's layout you'll need to get
comfortable with your new home's safety features. If you are moving to an apartment building,
take time to show your children where the fire escapes and emergency exits are. No matter
where you are living, make sure that your fire alarms work. If you have a private home, make
sure that you have a working alarm system.
With approximately 16% of Americans moving homes each year, you can rest assured that you
are not alone in this hectic process. Following these guidelines and relying on friends,
professional movers and your own inner strengths will ensure that you have a happy and
healthy move. Just remember that your family will not be in a state of flux forever- you will get
settled and build an enjoyable and productive life in your new home- and the more focused and
proactive you are, the quicker this day will come.