Home at last…

by Mario Acosta on April 15, 2013

in Buyers, First-Time Home Buyers

moving-dayOk, so this week I’m going to try and wrap up my advice on the big move.  Last week we talked about a few things to consider before you actually start to movie in to the new house.

This week let’s tackle the actual move in process.  Your there, and prepped and now it’s time to get the house ready to live in.  First, make sure you have a copy of the inventory list; either the one that the mover’s provided or the one that you previously created as part of your home inventory list.


Turn on the music.  Oh come on you know you want to, so don’t be shy  –   crank up the tunes.

Get the essentials unpacked first, take your time with the rest of the house.

Make a plan for the room first before you unpack too many boxes.

If you think that you’ll do a task later – such as lining the cupboards or organizing the closet – that’s a sign that you should do the task now or you’ll never get to it.

Make the space your own.  Hang pictures and place family photos around the house early in your unpacking. It will help to make the space feel familiar and comfortable.


– Utility knife to open boxes

– Room plans

– Screwdriver, hammer and nails to reassemble furniture and to hang pictures

– Recycle bin to recycle the cardboard boxes

– Patience


With the music playing, let’s first unpack the essentials box. This should be one of the first boxes off the truck (because it was the last box loaded on) or something you moved with you in the car. If it isn’t, then keep an eye out for it. This should contain everything you need for a couple of nights.  I usually will have each family member pack as if they were going on a weeklong vacation.  Keep it simple, basic cloths, toiletries, a book, pillow, the essentials for being away from home.  This single suitcase in hand with your box of essentials will de-stress the process of the first few days.

Next, unpack the kitchen. If you’ve properly labeled the boxes, you should be able to locate what you need fairly easily. If you have time, I strongly suggest that you line the cupboards first.  If you don’t have time, unpack only what you need, including pots and pans. Get the major appliances hooked up and any small appliances that will make your life a little easier – like the coffee pot and toaster.  Get drinks chilling, snacks handy, and the coffee maker rolling along.

Now take a breath and tackle getting the beds together.  Unpack the linens for each bedroom.  If you followed the tip and put the set of linens that usually accompany each bed in separate see-through bags, getting the beds ready for your first night should be pretty easy.

Now unpack the bathroom.  Again, unpack the things that are most important, such as medication (which should go in your essential’s box), the shower curtain and towels.

So, it’s the first day and you have covered the essentials and you can now live in the house.  Yes it may be a mess for a bit but you have a kitchen, a place to sleep, and a functional bathroom.  You will be amazed at how much this alone feels like a major accomplishment and lets you start to breathe a little easier.

If you were fortunate enough to obtain plans to your new home before you moved, then arranging furniture should be fairly straightforward.  If you need to rearrange furniture in the bedrooms, living room and dining room, make a plan first so you only have to do it once.

Large pieces that need assembling should be completed once you know where furniture will be placed.  If you help, or movers try and get big things placed – if not exactly where you want them at least close to where you think they will end up.  But before you do, grab your partner and take advantage of the open space for at least one dance.  This is your new home so take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.

Closets are always the spot in my house that I’m most embarrassed to reveal, the place where all the homeless items in my house are kept.  After our last moving adventure, I was determined to get rid of the clutter and keep our closets organized and user-friendly. The following tips have been compiled over the years from our many moves and submitted by friends and family who have organization down to a fine science.


Before you unpack one article of clothing, decide what the closet’s purpose will be.  Is it in a front hallway where coats and boots will live, or is it next to the bathroom where all the linens and towels should be stored?

Once you know its purpose, look inside the closet to see if it has all the necessary fixings for what you want it for.  Does it have enough shelving?  Could it use more rods for extra hanging space or could it store a bin or a hanging shoe rack for all that footwear?


Measure the area and purchase the products you need to make the space work; consider using wire shelving for items that may need to breathe, or storage bins with wheels.  Take a walk through your local home store or surf the net.  Research before you buy to ensure you’re getting the right product for your needs.

Consider the following items.  These are things that could help keep your closet organized and uncluttered.

Shelving:  There’s a variety of shelving units out there, everything from permanent fixtures to portables that can move with you.  My favorites are the collapsible type. They hang from the top rod to provide extra storage for sweaters and tee shirts.  Again, before you purchase, make sure they’re going to fit what you need.  Decide before you start shopping.

 Rods or Bars: Most standard closets have at least one rod that extends its length; installing a second bar below this one can add twice the amount of hanging space.  Rods are available that don’t need to be installed and can be adjusted to the length you require.  Just make sure you measure well to ensure the closet can hold this extra feature.

 Storage Containers: Depending on what you need to store, containers are available in varying sizes, shapes, and materials.  I prefer the see-through type for items like winter sweaters or sports gear and even shoes.  Being able to see what’s inside the container, helps when I’m in a rush to get out the door.

When it comes to footwear, there are oodles of options out there.  I recommend purchasing a shoe rack. Pick one that can be installed inside the door or that hangs from the closet rod, or the clear plastic shoe bins you can purchase at most home stores.  Again, being able to see the shoes will prevent you from digging through the boxes.  Shoe boxes work well for kids, too.

Storage System:  Almost every home store will sell you a closet organizer system. This is a great option if you need a lot of extra features.  Research before you buy.  Know what you want before you walk into the store. Take with you a list of the features you need, the closet size and what the closet will be holding if you want someone at the store to assist you in your purchase.  These units range from inexpensive baskets to top-of-the-line systems that will cost you quite a bit more.

 Wire or Wicker:  Look for baskets that have a labeling system so you can identify contents quickly and easily. Wire baskets allow clothes to breathe, while wicker looks neater as the contents aren’t visible. Whatever kind you decide on, it will be more visually appealing if you use the same types of materials throughout your organizational system.

 Hangers and Hooks:  We all have our preference, but what every person’s closet shouldn’t have are wire hangers.  Wire will misshapen your clothes and will not hold delicate pieces such as spaghetti-strap tops or dresses and lingerie. You’re already spending time and money on organizing this space; spend a little more and get rid of all the wire hangers.  This will prevent damaged clothes.  Wood hangers work well and look nice, too. For delicate straps, padded hangers keep items from slipping.  Also, look for hangers that will serve a dual purpose; a large clip attached to a hanger will allow suits to stay together. Remember, get as much mileage as you can from your organizing tools.

moving-day-2Step 3: Start Unpacking

If you didn’t have the chance to organize your clothing before you moved, now is the time to sort it out. Each item you unpack, ask yourself if you wear it, how often and if you can see yourself wearing it at least twice in the next year.  If not, put it in a “donate or sell” pile.

Next, categorize the clothes you’ll be keeping by season.  Sort by Autumn, Spring, Summer and Winter. Not everyone will have to do this step, especially if you live in a region where the seasons are so distinct or if you have enough room in your closet and dressers to hold everything.

Now sort each season pile into areas of your life; professional, weekend, at-home, sports, etc… You can stop here if this is how you’d like your space organized.

Some people take it a step further and sort each pile by color and/or by type of clothing, i.e., shirts, pants, blazers, sweaters, etc… This is a great way to easily identify and find like items.

Belts, scarves and neckties can all be either hung from hooks on the closet door or hooks attached to a hanger. Some prefer to coil belts and keep them in a bin or drawer.

Even jewelry can be stored into separate small labeled boxes (rings, necklaces, broaches, etc.) then placed in a larger box and stored on the closet shelf.

Bedrooms can be unpacked by each member of the family.  Again, furniture placement or closet organization should be done first before you unpack.

One of the last rooms to unpack is the garage.  Since most garage items aren’t essential, try to organize the space before you start to unpack.  Get the tools you need to keep the space functional.  This may include extra shelving, storage boxes, etc…

The patio items can be unpacked and set up at your own leisure.  If we’re moving in the summer, we often set-up the barbecue first, just so we can cook without needing pots or pans or many utensils; many of our first meals have been eaten right off the tinfoil they were cooked in.  Little fuss and very little cleanup.  It’s a great way to lessen the work when there’s so much else to do.  Ok, I’ll admit pizza delivery has been a time saver more than once.

Once you have the main essential unpacking completed, try to take some time to enjoy your new space. Don’t try and do it all at once.  You will just wear yourself and everyone around you down to a fizzle.  This should be a great new start.  Taking your time can keep the experience positive.  Dance, laugh and enjoy this time.  There is no deadline.  Enjoy the opportunity of putting your new space together.  Set a few hours aside each day or on the weekend so you know you’ll get the job done. This will also assure you that you can take the time to get to know your new neighborhood.

moving-dancingSo there you are, all my notes and experiences with the big move.  It will feel exhilarating, horrifying, frustrating, exciting and exhausting.  You will swear you will never move again – until you do.  It will be at times overwhelming.


But take a breath – you will get through it. With a little planning and some organization it can be made a lot easier.  Like most real estate professionals, I care about your entire experience.  First call to final move in.  Don’t be afraid to call us for help – we may not be able to move boxes – but we probably know the in’s and out’s of school enrollment, know what the utilities phone numbers are, and of course where to call for that last minute Pizza.


Be well —- See you in a week.

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Post by Mario Acosta

Mario has written 117 articles.

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