College gives you the first taste of independence — especially if you live on campus. But there's nothing quite like the feeling of moving into your first home.
Whether it's an apartment, a condo or you're lucky enough to be able to buy your own home right out of college, there are some things that you need to do before you move in and start unpacking.
1. Change your address
The simplest and most obvious first step is one that most people forget about until after they've already been in their new home for weeks (or months) — change your address.
Changing your address is so easy, and you don't even have the leave the house to do it.
Just head to the Change of Address section of the USPS website to start mail forwarding to your new address. All it takes is six simple steps to change your address and a payment of $1.
Don't forget to also change your address with your:
- Credit card companies
- Subscription accounts
- Utilities (if transferring)
USPS's mail forwarding will give you a little extra time to change your address with lenders, banks and other important accounts, so you won't miss important mail.
2. Clean the closets and cabinets
Before you start unloading your dishes into the cabinets and filling closets with your things, give these areas a quick cleaning.
Dust, dirt and who knows what else may be lurking in the cabinets and closets. Clean these forgotten areas before you start piling in plates and cups.
3. Check for leaks
If you purchased your home, the inspector should have ensured that the home was leak-free, but it's still important to check to give yourself peace of mind.
If you're renting, checking for leaks before you unpack can save you frustration later on. Better for you to discover a leak while the bathroom vanity is empty than after you've filled it with expensive products and tools.
"Plumbing is the most complicated system in the home — five to six times more likely to suffer damage from water than fire," says Absolute Plumbing and Drain. Checking for leaks will save you time and money in the long-run.
One way to check for leaks is to look at the water meter before you move in — when no one is using any water — and then check it again on move-in day. If everything is working properly, the reading should be exactly the same.
4. Change toilet seats
For fresher, cleaner bathrooms, swap out old toilet seats for new ones. If you have the budget, you may want to go with a detachable toilet seat. Nothing feels grosser than trying to scrub the seat hinges and feeling like they're never truly clean.
5. Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
Before you move into the home, test all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Bring a box of batteries with you when checking to swap out old ones if necessary.
Do not sleep a single night in your new home without checking these first.
6. Locate your shutoff valves and breaker box
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to figure out where the breaker box is in the dark. Look for your breaker box now — while you have electricity — to ensure that you know exactly where to go in a power outage.
And while you're at it, locate your water and gas shutoff valves. This way, if a pipe leaks and starts flooding your home, you know exactly where to go to shut off the valve.
Make sure that you tackle these simple tasks before you move into your new home. They will save you frustration and time come move-in.