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10 Chores for Your First Month of Home Ownership

You’ve just finished moving. Congratulations! It must feel good to be done with negotiating, closing, and relocating, and to have all of your possessions in your new place.

But the work isn’t finished yet. Now comes the challenge of turning someone else’s former residence into your new home. That means changing, tweaking, and altering many aspects of the home’s interior and exterior.

So where should you start? Here are 10 chores to focus on during your first month in your new place:

1. Painting rooms. If you know what colors you want, it’s a lot easier to paint rooms which are not yet furnished or only contain boxed items. That way, if you happen to drip a bit, the damage is likely to be minimal.

2. Putting in carpet or flooring. Again, empty rooms present less hassle for pulling up and/or laying down carpeting, wood flooring, or tiling. Plus, the longer you procrastinate on this, the less likely it is to actually get done.

3. Rekeying locks. No matter how sure your realtor or the previous homeowner is about accounting for all house keys, chances are there’s still one or two floating around somewhere. So err on the side of caution and ask a locksmith to change all of the locks in your home.

4. Changing or installing fire alarms or carbon monoxide alarms. If they’re looking old, it’s a good idea to swap out these alarms with new ones (or at the very least change their batteries). Also, check for areas in your home which might need an additional alarm unit.

5. Putting in crown molding. It’s a simple touch which adds beauty and value to a room. And it’s much easier to move a ladder around a room that isn’t fully furnished yet.

6. Configuring closets to fit your needs. Don’t feel obligated to accept the closet configurations as they are. Before you stow your clothing in them, put in extra curtain rods, shoe racks, shelves, or cubbies to suit the way you will use your closets on a day-to-day basis.

7. Cleaning gutters. Scrape, spray, or vacuum out the leaves, twigs, and other debris that could be clogging your gutters. Neglecting your roof’s gutters and drainage system could cause water-related problems for your landscaping and foundation.

8. Cleaning the chimney. This may not have been done for some time by the home’s previous owners. But it’s one of those chores that you should probably hire someone to do for you.

9. Adding or reconfiguring storage areas in your garage. Do you want to park one or more cars in your garage, or do you want to use it as a workspace? The answers to these questions will determine how and where you will store all of your tools, seasonal items, and other miscellaneous stuff.

10. Installing a pet door. Imagine not having to get up every time your dog or cat wants to come in or go out. Pet doors are relatively inexpensive and can be put into walls, doors, or sliding glass panels.