Most of us live in apartments or suites in partitioned homes before we buy our first house, and manage to acquire all the essentials such as kitchen items, furniture, bedding, towels etc. When you move into a house, though, in addition to the usual cleaning supplies and garbage bags needed when you move, there are a lot of items you will find yourself requiring.
No matter how trustworthy previous owners may seem, or where they may have relocated to, you never know who else had keys to a home, and its always a good idea to replace the locks. It might be a good time to consider a keypad entry rather than keyed entry. However, if you prefer a keyed entry they can be very economical, and models are even available that allow you to rekey without removing the lock, in case you need to leave a key for a repair person or babysitter and want to temporarily change it (see Kwikset Juno Entry Knob beaturing SmarkKey).
Once you’re in your own home you will need to buy an outdoor garbage can to haul your garbage to the street. A 35 gallon garbage can, filled, can weigh over 100 pounds. Generally for a family of four a 35 gallon can may not be big enough. If you’ve ever had a poor quality can, you know how uncomfortable life can be when it spills, leaks or loses its lid. Wheels, an attached lid, and a flat side for close-to-the-wall storage are things to look for. You’ll want to check your city bylaws in case they have restrictions on what you use.
Even if you have energy efficient appliances in your new house (and if you don’t, you may want to check those out), it makes sense to consider an outdoor clothes rack or clothesline. Many cities who were banning “unsightly” clotheslines in trendier neighborhoods are now reversing this mistake and promoting “green” drying. Outdoor laundry may be a bit stiffer than that taken out of a dryer, but the smell of it can’t be beat. Sunlight is a natural sanitizing and bleaching agent, and your clothes will last longer.
Eventually, you’ll invest in a multitude of gardening tools, including a variety of rakes, shovels, hand tools and pruning tools, hoses, and sprinklers. In the meantime, you’ll need a few things to get you started caring for your new lawn and gardens.
For lawn maintenance, you’ll need a mower, lawn rake, hose and sprinkler to get you started.
For garden maintenance, you’ll want a shovel, garden rake, hoe and hand trowel to get you started, as well as a spray nozzle for your hose. If you have a large garden and yard, you’ll likely want a wheelbarrow or garden cart as well. Depending on where you place planted containers, you may also want a watering can.
Shrubs and Trees
For shrub and small tree maintenance, you’ll want some loppers and a hand pruner. If you have hedges, you’ll also want some hedge trimmers.
Also see: Winter Pruning
Until you gain experience, any high overhead work or major pruning would be best left to the professionals. For light pruning of trees and tall or dense shrubs, you will likely want a pole pruner and a ladder.
Snow clearing is a bit like gardening, over time you will probably end up with a variety of tools for different specific purposes, but start out with a general pusher/shovel.
Please also see “Best Snow Shovels for the Job”
Often people buy a house with existing window coverings, but in a new home the windows are usually bare, and sometimes previous owners take them. It doesn’t cost much to buy basic drapery panels to cover windows, and they come in a wide variety of fabrics. It is a good way to bring trendy new styles into a room, and easy to change when styles change.
Please also see: “Hanging Curtains”
Before you fill your closets is the time to install any additional shelving or closet organizer systems you want. There are many low cost options.
For more storage and organization links click here: Organization and Storage
Please also see: Shoe Storage and Organization Ideas
Maintenance and energy improvements
If you are buying an older home you may need to check the attic insulation R factor. Improving the insulation in your home can save a lot on your heat and air conditioning bills.
Insulating the pipes that carry your hot water from the heater to the various faucets can save up to $12/hear in heating costs by increasing the delivered water temperature by about 4% due to reduction in heat loss, allowing you to turn your hot water tank down to save money.
If your hot water tank is stored in a cool location in your home, and you can feel heat when you hold your hand against it, you can also reduce heating costs by using a water heater insulation blanket and reducing the heat setting on the heater.
Low flow faucets can provide dramatic savings on water bills, not to mention the cost of heating the water. This Delta faucet (click picture for details) reduces water used in an average shower by 36%. If you have multiple people showering daily, the savings can be substantial.
You might be surprised how many people will take their light bulbs when they move. In any event, its quite likely you’ll find some missing. Compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes bulbs (LEDs) use up to 75% less energy than regular light bulbs, and last a lot longer.
A few other maintenance and energy savings features you may want to check out:
- Furnace filter
- New energy efficient appliances
- Ceiling fans to improve heat circulation or cooling
- Power strips
- Door mats – keep the dirt outside! – see Outdoor Rugs
New House Checklist
o Exterior door locks
o Exterior garbage can
o Clothes rack or clothesline
o Snow shovel
o Window coverings
o Closet organizers
o Lawn rake
o Garden hose
o Garden rake
o Watering nozzle
o Wheelbarrow/lawn cart
o Watering can
o Hand pruners
o Hedge sheers (if you have hedges or bushes requiring shaping)
o Pole pruner (if you have trees)
Maintenance and energy improvements:
o Attic insulation
o Water pipe insulation
o Hot water heater blanket
o Replacement faucets or washers
o CFL and LED light bulbs
o Furnace filter
o Energy efficient appliances if any require replacement
o Ceiling fans
o Power strips
o Door mats