There are some things you don’t want to forget to do before moving into a new house, especially tasks as important as cleaning and safety. This checklist will help guide you through the process.


Moving into a new house can be an exciting and stressful experience. One of the most important tasks you’ll do when moving into a new house is ensuring it’s clean and safe for you and your family. Before you unload the moving truck or storage unit and start arranging furniture, there are some important tasks to check off the list. If you forget to do any of these before unpacking, you will likely regret it later.

Keep in mind, these tips aren’t just for homeowners; it applies to renters as well. If you’re moving into a rented property, your landlord may have some of these steps covered, but it’s best to check on your own to be safe.

1. Do a Walkthrough

Once you have the keys in hand, head over to your new home and check over all the rooms. Make sure everything that was agreed upon in the sale or lease agreement is accounted for. Take a look around to see which areas need to be cleaned.

Consider investing in professional cleaning before moving in your stuff. This allows the cleaner to do a nice deep clean while the space is empty.

What is the first thing to do when moving into a new house?

Performing a house walkthrough is the first thing you should do before moving your stuff in. You don’t want to run into an issue as you’re moving items inside, and if any issues need immediate addressing, you can handle them sooner rather than later. 

2. Deep Clean Your House

While your new space may have had a cleaning before the sale, you will still want to give it a good deep cleaning so it’s up to your standards. You never know what went on there before you moved in.

If you are trying to save some time on the unpacking process and don’t want to worry about the deep cleaning yourself, hire someone to get to the grime for you. At the very least, hire a cleaning service to treat your carpets and grout. There is no telling what may be hiding in those carpeted floors, especially if the previous owners were pet owners.

Not sure what to clean? Download our free move-in cleaning checklist printable.

While deep cleaning the home before moving in helps address the entirety of the home, cleaning may be required after move-in. During unpacking, the floors may get messy or scuffed, and the walls could be scratched. Perform another cleaning task or hire professionals to repair any damage from the move.

PRO TIP: Pack a moving essentials box and deliver that first to your new home. Fill it with cleaning supplies, paper towels, and toilet paper, along with the other essentials you’ll need to make it through moving day (lots of snacks, a set of clean sheets so you can sleep after a long day of unpacking, etc.).

moving into a new house - Latin American cleaner wearing a facemask while cleaning the kitchen at a house

3. Change the Locks

It’s impossible to know how many sets of keys to your new home may be floating around. “It’s a little unnerving to wonder about keys to your house in the hands of people you don’t know,” shares Dawn M. Smith from Angi. “To give yourself peace of mind, start fresh with a new set of locks and keys.” 

The number one way to stay safe in your house is to get a brand-new set of keys. You have enough to worry about with your move, so it’s a good idea to hire a locksmith.

4. Change the Toilet Seats

This is probably the last thing you want to think about but consider for a moment that you have no idea who has been using the toilets in your new home. Toilets are one of the grimiest spots in a house. Rather than spending your time cleaning them, remove them, clean them underneath, and replace them with a brand new seat. You will have serious peace of mind, sitting on the brand new seats, knowing only your family has used them.

5. Pest Control

When you move into your new home, the last thing you want is to share the space with pesky pests. Before moving in your stuff, hire an exterminator to come by and check for unwanted guests. Have them plug holes for all pests and spray to deter any future uninvited home invaders.

Related Article: How to Keep Mice and Bugs Out of a Storage Unit

6. Change Your Air Filters

Since you can’t be sure when the air filters were last changed, it’s best to just start with fresh filters. You don’t want extra dust clouding up your newly cleaned home and carpets. Mark the date you installed them on the filter and your calendar so you can keep track of and maintain a regular cleaning schedule.

7. Perform a Household Safety Check

While conducting your deep clean, take some time to make sure your home is safe. While in the laundry room, vacuum out the dryer vent. As you clear dust from walls and ceiling fans, change the batteries in your smoke detectors. When cleaning your kitchen cabinets, find a proper place to store a fire extinguisher.

How long should it take to move into a new house?

Depending on the size of your home, it can take anywhere from two to nine hours to move into a new house. Moving into an apartment with only one bedroom could take between two to three hours, while a home with five or more homes could take seven to nine hours. 

8. Paint While Rooms are Empty

If you have plans to paint your home, it’s best to paint before moving items in. “Painting the new house before settling in is always advisable,” Matt Hiller from Renovate Central recommends. “It can minimize a lot of the stress associated with moving in, save time, and help you make décor decisions before moving in.”

Even if you aren’t able to paint while the rooms are empty, it’s best to handle this task sooner rather than later. You can delay some unpacking and decorating until it’s been completed, which is still easier than trying to paint a room that’s well-lived in. Plus, you reduce the risk of additional messes. 

Related Article: Choose the Right Paint Colors + Design Inspiration

moving into a new house - Young happy couple communicating on a break from painting their walls

A Few Things to Do Before Moving Out of Your Old House

If you’re moving out of a home or rental, it’s proper etiquette to leave a home in good shape for the next family. Sometimes it’s part of your rental agreement to leave a place the way you found it. And who doesn’t look forward to getting back that security deposit?

Three tips for moving out:

  1. If you are renting, check your lease agreement. Sometimes the landlord will leave a list of exactly what is expected. Ensure nothing gets missed so you can get your security deposit.
  2. Plug any holes in the walls and touch up the paint. If you are an owner selling a home, leave the leftover house paint for the new owners. After moving in, there are sure to be some touchups needed.
  3. Take all your furniture. Unless it was specified in the sale, do not leave the new owners your leftover furniture. Moving is already hard work — let’s not add more to their to-do list.

Related Article: How to Organize a New Home as You Unpack

Is it stressful to move to a new home?

Moving is bound to be stressful as you manage the organization of all the moving pieces, from planning and packing to cleaning and unpacking. The best way to reduce stress is to plan everything out as much as possible while recognizing there may be bumps along the way.

When you prioritize these cleaning and safety tips, you can truly relax after your move instead of stretching out the moving process. You deserve to take some time to enjoy that new-home feeling.

This post originally appeared on the Life Storage Blog on 7/24/17 and was revised on 6/6/23 to provide new information.

About the Authors

Kate Fann

Kate Fann is an established SEO content writer with 10 years of experience, taking a specialized focus on home-related content. She has a Master's of Marketing degree from Southern New Hampshire University and her work has been featured in publications such as Angi, Broadband Now, and Love What Matters. Kate takes a keen interest in all things home from design and decor to remodeling and cleaning hacks.

Kendra Yoho

I am a stay at home mom to 3 wild, courageous girls. Married to my best friend. A Midwesterner at heart; living in the Southwest. I enjoy shopping (too much), a DIY project, and singing or rapping in my car like no one is watching. I want to be an adventurous traveler, but these days you will most likely find me snuggled in bed watching a scandalous hour long drama.

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