Guide to setting up your new home

A woman working on a laptop on the ground while a stack of moving boxes sit behind her

RACV Staff

Posted May 11, 2023

Take some of the stress out of moving with this handy guide to unpacking your new home and connecting your gas, electricity and water services.

There’s nothing more exciting than moving into a new house but that’s not to say the process is without its challenges. Whether you’re moving into your own home or a rental, there’s a knack to minimising the stress of unpacking the piles of boxes and arranging your furniture. From switching over your services to unpacking your boxes, these handy tips are sure to have you setting up your new home for success in no time.

If you’d rather leave it to the experts, professional moving services can take a lot of the hassle out of moving homes, letting you enjoy your new space without having to stress.  

Guide to setting up your new home

Undertake home and safety maintenance tasks 

High five to you if your home is in pristine condition. If not, set aside time to give it a once-over before you begin putting away your belongings. Complete the usual tasks as well as the often-neglected jobs, such as cleaning and servicing heating and cooling systems, dusting the skirting boards and wiping down cupboard shelves.  There are also some home maintenance and safety jobs that are great to get done upon or soon after moving in, such as cleaning your gutters and checking your smoke alarms. Doing so will help start you off on the right foot (and on a clean slate) when settling into your new home.

Sort out your utilities and services 

Moving house means having to move across all your utilities and services, such as your electricity, gas, water, internet and even pay tv. Switching these services over often means calling each provider and arranging connection at your new property, as well as scheduling these services to cancel at your existing place. If you’d like to take some of the hassle out of this time-consuming process, consider a service like Arcline Move that can shift your utilities over for you.

Lock in the layout 

Pressing pause to plan can help you consider how to best use the space in your home. The key here is to maximise your floor space - start by placing big items like couches and tables where they make sense, leaving the smaller items and decor in one dedicated box in each room until you’re ready to style. Be sure to make your high-traffic areas functional. In the kitchen, for example, lay out where you’re going to store your crockery and appliances so they’re easily on-hand to complement your cooking. If you work from home, create a study nook where you’ve access to good lighting, fast internet and enough quiet to work efficiently.


couple hanging picture in living with child in orange shirt

Unpacking each room is a task made easier by first working out where large items will go before moving onto small items and decorations. Photo: 

Consider your pets

Shifting houses can be as stressful for pets as it is for humans, if not more so. Before moving, think about how you will manage your pets and where you will keep them while unpacking at the new location. For pets like cats and dogs, it may be helpful to show them where their food and water bowls are, as well as the location of their litter tray for cats. Make sure to update your pets’ registration with your new local council as well. When arranging your new home, think about how you can make the space as dog-friendly or cat-friendly as possible.  

Unpack room-by-room 

Focusing on one room at a time helps beat overwhelm and keeps you on track. Begin with the bedroom, because you’ll be needing some serious shut-eye in this sanctuary. Position your bed, set it up with clean linen and avoid piling stuff on top that you’ll have to clean off later. Next, move on to the bathroom, kitchen and living room.  Divide and conquer with your family, housemates or the very kind friends you’ve roped in to help.  

Set up security 

Secure your surroundings so you can feel at ease from the first sleep. Switch on your home alarm and check window locks are secure. Consider changing your locks, particularly if you’re taking on a rental lease, as you can’t be sure how many keys have been cut for your home before you were given yours. It’s a good time to sort out your lock-out solution, which may be storing a key in a portable combination lock outside or giving a spare to a loved one. 


solar panels installed on a house roof

Solar panels are a great feature to have at your property, but it pays to have them checked when moving in. Photo: Getty.

Suss out your solar panels 

Australia has the highest per-capita uptake of solar panels in the world. That means it’s increasingly likely that your new place may have solar panels installed – a boon to you, but it's important to get them serviced as soon as possible after moving in to confirm they’re working and effective.  

It’s a good idea to find out as much about the panels from the previous owners if possible, noting what company was responsible for the installation. It’s important to check that this company is still in business as they’re responsible for any problems or maintenance issues that may arise.  

You can check with ASIC to see if they’re still in business or try contacting the product manufacturer. As a last resort, Consumer Affairs or Fair Trading may be able to assist you.  

Meet the neighbours  

These days, it’s not as likely you’ll be greeted with freshly-baked cookies from your cheery neighbours so kick-start a connection with your community by dropping by and introducing yourself. Make a special effort to remember their names. Pro-tip: write them down in a notebook or store them in your phone for later reference. Knowing your neighbours is more than just being polite – it's also an important safety measure, with Neighbourhood Watch noting that it’s one of the simplest things you can do to improve home security.