If you’ve just bought your first home, I bet you’re learning that the process of setting up a home can be exciting, but also a little overwhelming.
But don’t fret. Focus on looking after a few important logistical details first, and then you can enjoy deciding on décor and furniture and all the other delightful stuff.
Before you move in:
• Change or re-key your locks.
• Complete a change-of-address at the post office.
• Transfer or set up new utilities.
• Purchase home insurance.
• Set up automatic mortgage payments with your lending institution if you haven’t done so already.
• Ensure you have window coverings in bathrooms and bedrooms at the very least, even if they are temporary.
In those first few weeks:
• Locate the main circuit breaker in the house and label each breaker.
• Locate and know how to operate the main and other water shutoffs in your house.
• Find out how to look after your furnace and any other appliances that need regular servicing.
• Make sure you have working smoke detectors.
• You should have easily accessible fire extinguishers on each floor of the home, preferably hung on the wall near the entrance to the kitchen and near the entrance to the garage.
• Set up an annual schedule of important servicing or maintenance duties at your new home, so they are not overlooked in the years to come.
• Also have an emergency exit plan in place and make sure all family members know exit plans.
• Purchase and install a carbon monoxide detector if you don’t have one.
• Write down and keep important emergency numbers close to the phone.
• Put together a first aid kit for your new home.
• Find out which day of the week is garbage/recycling/compost pickup day. Also find out the rules in your area, and make sure you buy raccoon-proofing straps if you store your garbage outdoors.
• Cut plenty of extra keys for yourself, and your family. Give one or two to trusted friends, relatives or neighbours in case you or family members forget or lose a key.
• Check out the neighbourhood and find the nearest grocery store, drugstore, walk-in medical clinic, gas station, hardware store, post office, beer and liquor store, good restaurants, fast food, parks and recreational amenities, and so on.
• Introduce yourself to your new neighbours.
Things you may need sooner or later:
• Assemble or purchase a few basic tools, like hammers, assorted screw drivers and wrenches, a hacksaw, a small drill and drill bits and a tape measure.
A stepladder and an outdoor ladder are handy. You may also want to buy assorted nails and screws, sandpaper, paper yard waste bags, plastic garbage bags and any other house repair items you think you may need regularly.
• If you’ve got a lawn or garden, you may also want to purchase a few gardening tools, such as assorted shovels, including a pointed-tip shovel suitable for digging, a rake, a hoe, trowels, a water hose and watering can, gardening or outdoor workgloves, a lawnmower, and an outdoor broom for sweeping off steps and porches.
Depending on how much gardening you do, a wheelbarrow can be handy as well.
A snow shovel and ice melter or salt will also be a necessity.
– Sylvia Putz is a journalist with an interest in decor and design. She’s written for TV show Arresting Design; email@example.com.