How to Acclimate to Your New Home After a Move

Whew! You have finally moved into your new home. You'll be living out of boxes for a while, but hopefully, all the planning and effort paid off.

While putting up your feet for a well-deserved rest, take a few moments to think about how you'll adapt to your surroundings and establish new routines.

Unpacking Wrapup

Unpacking begins the process of making this house (or apartment) into your home. Following the tips in the previous post, you've already set up your bed and some tables and chairs. Now, find some of your favorite things that will truly personalize your space. Perhaps it's a favorite picture or a sentimental object that signifies you're at home. Even if it doesn't seem practical at the moment, take a few minutes to bring out some treasured items to stake your claim on the new home.

Take Care of Some Basics

There are some essential tasks to make your arrival in the new home official.

  • Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors - Replace batteries or entire units as necessary.
  • Identify Repair or Maintenance Needs There are always things to repair or maintain in one's living space. Make a list of these items and, if you're renting, submit it to the landlord. If you own the new home, prioritize the list and add deadlines, so essential tasks don't slide.
  • Establish domicile in the new state - If you moved across state lines and intend to live over half the time in the new state, your domicile or residency status needs to be changed. A document called "Declaration of Domicile" should often be filed so state authorities know where you need to pay state income taxes, if any. Check on the specific rules about declaring residency in your new state.
  • Register to vote in your new district - Doing this right away will avoid hassles when election day comes.
  • Update your driver's license - Although many states allow leeway as to when you need to switch your driver's license, it makes sense to do it as soon as possible. That way, you can prove you're a local resident when asked for a picture ID. Also, depending on your state, you may be able to register to vote and establish domicile during that visit to the DMV.
  • Learn who represents you - Find out who are the state and local government representatives who cover your area.
  • Locate City/County Offices – Learn where to find City Hall, the county service center, the police department, and the closest fire station. Also, get familiar with the local government websites. These will have lots of essential information about living in your new area.

Explore Your New Location

Get to know the local area. You've likely already visited the closest grocery, hardware, or discount stores. However, these may not be the ones you ultimately prefer. A Google search on "stores near me" will provide a list of places to check out. Make sure to stop by local businesses unique to the community that contribute to the local flavor. From a recreational angle, look for interesting coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars.

Aside from commercial offerings, identify the location of the post office, parks, trails, museums, and recycling centers. If you're a church-goer, locate the congregations in the area and find service times.

Find places locally where you feel comfortable hanging out rather than always being at home. Possibilities include gyms, museums, coffee shops, and community centers.

Making Friends

Moving to a new location often means being far away from established friends. For most people, feeling settled in a new place depends on making friends. Here are some ideas for creating a social circle in your new location.

  • Mindset Matters – Some people are born extroverts who have no problem initiating contact with strangers. For most of us, however, it takes effort to reach beyond our comfort zone. Make it easier on yourself by staying positive and remembering the friend-making process takes time. On the other hand, challenge yourself to take some social risks. Things may not always work out, but don't take it personally. Just keep trying until you start accumulating some satisfying social connections.
  • Something in Common: Age – It's usually easier to connect with people with whom we have something in common. If moving in your later years, you'll have a built-in commonality with people of a similar age. Those moving into 55+ communities often find connecting with others less complicated than if they'd moved into an all-ages environment.
  • Meet the Neighbors – When you arrive in a new home, the neighbors are apt to be curious about the newcomer. Break the ice by knocking on doors and introducing yourself. If no one is home, leave a note with your name, address, and a message that you're looking forward to meeting them in person. Another idea is to host a get-acquainted open house.
  • Keep in Touch with Old Friends – With the telephone and social media, it's easy to keep in touch with your existing friends despite long distances. Connecting with these folks can help with loneliness that might occur while building new social networks. Make sure to ask old friends if they can make introductions to people they know in your new location.
  • Social Media Connections – Social media can be a great way to fast-forward the process of connecting with people in your new location. Sites like Facebook Groups or can help arrange in-person meeting opportunities with people having similar interests. Click here to read out eBook about getting started with social media
  • Join In - Signing up for classes or workshops is another way to meet people with common interests. Also, volunteering in the community at schools, churches, homeless shelters, food pantries, political parties, or city projects are terrific ways to make connections with like-minded people.

Learn more! Read our eBook, "Your Guide to Finding a New Home After 50"!

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