What To Do When Moving To A New Space

by Toria Sheffield

Moving can be extremely overwhelming, and it's usually because we realize just how much there is to do and just how little time we have to do it (for example... packing an entire house in two days). The thing is, there are actually a ton of tips for moving into your new home that will seriously make your life so much easier. You just have to know where to start and make sure to give yourself the much needed time to get everything ready.

According to, a nonprofit that tracks health data from all across the country, moving is right up there with divorce and the loss of a loved one when it comes to the top most stressful situations in life. Additionally, in a New York Times article on the psychology of moving, Ronnie Greenberg, a Manhattan psychoanalyst said, “Panic can really set in around your home and your apartment. It’s a matrix of safety, so moving is incredibly stressful and people don’t realize it — they mainly talk about the packing and the external part of moving.”

Basically, moving can really, really suck. But the good news is, it can also be exciting and a positive change in the long run, and a ton of what often makes it feel so bad is that we so often approach it rushed and haphazardly, and feel totally buried under all we have to do. If you're about to move home or apartments and are dreading the task at hand, here are seven tips to keep in mind before moving into a new space that should help.

1. Create A Moving Plan Of Action

A Martha Stewart Living piece about simplifying the big move literally provides a six week plan of action that takes your from deciding whether or not you will use movers, to things to watch out for on the actual day of the move. Now while a lot of us might not be quite Martha Stewart's level of organized, planning things out as far ahead of time as possible is definitely an amazingly helpful tip. Reserve weekends for throwing things out and donating, make sure you have all the boxes, bubble wrap, and packing tape you'll need, and figure out how to change your forwarding address. Once these things are out of the way, you'll feel way less overwhelmed once you start packing.

2. Change The Locks

This might not be an issue if you're moving into a new apartment, as your landlord may have already taken care of it, but if this isn't the case, it's always a good idea to get the locks changed asap. The home insurance company Liberty Mutual has an entire checklist of important safety tips for when you move on their site, and getting new keys is literally tip number one. "You've signed the papers and the old owners handed over the keys. But what about the extra copies of keys they've made over the years for friends, family and neighbors? You'll never know who has access to your house, so arrange a locksmith to update the locks as soon as possible so you can sleep easy," the blog post said.

3. Clean

In an article for Houzz, architect and Houzz contributor Bud Dietrich highly recommended giving your new space a thorough clean before unpacking. "Set up an area with all of the supplies and tools you'll need to get the job done: buckets, brooms, mops, a vacuum, cleaners for each type of surface etc. Washing down cabinets, counters and plumbing fixtures and cleaning the carpeting etc. will make you feel good about the house," Dietrich said.

4. Pack A First-Night Box

Another article on Martha Stewart Living about achieving an organized move recommended packing a first-night box or bag with all the necessary supplies you'll need for the first day and night in the new space. This should include basics like paper towels and toilet paper, toothpaste, bedding, and trash bags. You'll be majorly glad you don't have to go rooting through dozens of boxes to find a few essentials.

5. Set Your Top Three Priorities For The New Space

In an article for Forbes, Houzz contributor Laura Gaskill recommended setting your top three priorities for your new space. Maybe it's getting your bedroom just right, or the kitchen totally functioning within a week — whatever it is, focus on those top priorities first and then worry about the next three. By compartmentalizing what you need to do, you won't feel nearly as overwhelmed by the big picture.

6. Paint First, Organize Later

In an article for About Home, interior decorator Coral Nafie recommended painting everything you want to paint before doing any serious unpacking. "Whether you do the work yourself or hire someone to do it, it's a lot easier to paint an empty room. There will be no need to move furniture, take down draperies, clear out the closets, or take every picture or mirror off the walls. Allow several days to repaint before the movers show up, especially if you'll be doing the work yourself," Nafie said. And if you're like most of us and might not actually be able to finagle time between your new lease and old lease, just keep as much as possible in boxes until the painting is done and rely on a few basics for a few days. It will seem incredibly annoying at first, but will save you a ton of work in the long run.

7. Check Everything

In an article about things every new homeowner should do, Trent Hamm, founder of The Simple Dollar, recommended checking everything from top to bottom when you initially move in, from light switches, to faucets, to smoke detectors, to water pressure in the shower. This way you'll have a running list of what you'll need next time you're at the hardware store, or even be able to send off a list of issues to your landlord sooner rather than later in order to get any problems addressed as fast as possible.

Moving is always a hassle, but it doesn't have to be a monster. Give yourself ample time to plan ahead, and have a few tricks up your sleeve like an overnight bag, and you'll find it way more manageable than you ever thought it could be.

Images:, Linus Bohman, Sarah, Chris Lott/Flickr; Giphy (4)