Congratulations! You’ve done it! You’ve packed and prepped. You’ve transported and stacked. After months of preparation you’re FINALLY in your new house. The final challenge? Turning the new space into a proper home. We’ve collected a few essential tips that will make the transformation process a whole lot easier. Let’s take a look:

1. Clean the New Space

If you haven’t done it already, you’ll want to do a thorough cleaning of your new home BEFORE you get everything set in place. Specific places to check? Shelving in the kitchen and pantry (those corners often get overlooked) and drawers, particularly in bathrooms, are often neglected when the former owners are cleaning. If there’s carpet in the home, you may want to consider renting a carpet cleaner, especially if the previous owners had indoor pets.

2. Make the Kitchen Priority #1

Whoever said the kitchen is the heart of a home wasn’t lying and, according to celebrity chef and businesswoman, Rachel Ray,

“Good food and a warm kitchen are what makes a house a home.”

This area tends to be the natural gathering place for families so it should be the first area that you unpack and set up. Even if you’re planning on living off of take out for the next few weeks, having a functional kitchen gives your family a place to gather and creates a feeling of normalcy in the home…something that may have been in short supply during the packing and moving process.

The kitchen is a great place to enlist the help of family members. You can place sticky notes on cabinets and drawers indicating what goes where. Give everyone a box and get to work! You’ll have your kitchen up and running in no time.

3. Set Up Living Room Furniture

When the time comes to set up the living room—the other room in your house where friends and family often gather—it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Making your furniture fit into the new space isn’t always easy and it’s not always possible to keep the same arrangement you had in your previous home.

Start by measuring the walls of your room, then the furniture that will go in it. Decide if there is going to be a focal point: a television, fireplace, or large piece of artwork. If you have a t.v. in the room, the sofa needs to be 8-12 feet from it and it should be hung at no greater than a 30 degree angle for neck comfort. Once the sofa and chairs are in place, you can add coffee and side tables.

4. Change Your Locks & Garage Door Remotes/Codes

Even if you think you received all of the keys to your home during the sale, it is a good idea to invest in new locks for your home. You’ll have peace of mind knowing there aren’t any keys to your new place floating around with strangers.

Call local locksmiths to get an estimate (most charge by the hour). If you’re looking to save money, this is a project that can be accomplished by those with even minimal handyman capabilities. You can find a treasure trove of tutorial videos online that will have you feeling like Bob Villa in no time.

Same goes for your garage door remotes—go ahead and reprogram them and change the door access code. The goal here is to ensure every entry point into your new home is as secure as possible.

5. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It’s a good idea to replace all of the batteries in your home smoke and carbon monoxide detectors so you can get into a maintenance routine. Test each detector to make sure they are all in good working order. You also want to make sure you have smoke detectors on every level of your home and that they are less than 10 years old. For more detailed information, you can visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website.

6. Get to Know Your New Home

If you haven’t already located them, hunt down the circuit box and water and gas shut off valves. You don’t want to wait until you’re in the middle of an emergency to try to find these important parts of your home.

When you locate the circuit box, test each circuit to make sure they are properly labeled. Find the water and gas shut off valves and make sure you have the tools to shut them off in the event of an emergency.

Dorothy hit the nail on the head when she said, “There’s no place like home!”. You went through so much effort to find the perfect house for your family. By following these simple steps, you’ll transform your new house into the perfect home for those you love. Welcome home!