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If you’re moving into a new place, you’re probably trying to get a hold of any and all information that might be helpful – about the place, about the landlord, the neighbours and the neighborhood, about transport and life in the area. This is always a good idea, researching the place you’re going to be living in can only make the transition easier. There are, however, some missteps that you might make along the way, as with any first time experience. And while you probably won’t be able to avoid awkward situations altogether, this article will provide some advice on what to do and what not to do during the move and your first couple of weeks at the new location, to hopefully ease you into the situation as gently as possible.

Do move your things into their final location. If you and your flat mates are moving within days of each other, you don’t want your things getting mixed up, cluttering up the common areas and generally complicating communal life. Even if you’re the first to move in, try not to delay unpacking. Do it as soon as possible, so that you do not find yourself three months from moving in with half your boxes still unpacked – it isn’t fun living out of a box or suitcase.

Don’t put in anything that you haven’t discussed with the other inhabitants in the common areas. You don’t want to incite any conflicts this early. Always discuss the furniture arrangement and decor with everyone else. The only room where you have total control is your own bedroom and, where applicable, your en suite bathroom.

Do talk to your flat or housemates about the cleaning – when to do it, whether you should take turns or clean together, what kind of cleaning products need to be bought. It’s best to get this out of the way early.

Don’t stay stuck in the house or flat in your first few days. Try to explore the area as much as possible. Some key things to locate – a grocery store or supermarket, a pharmacy, a bank and post office, a park, etc.

Do go shopping on your first day. Make a list of all the things you need – groceries, cleaning products, grooming products, bedding, curtains – anything that you haven’t taken with you on the move. Some items can wait a couple of days, but the sooner you get all of the basics, the sooner you can begin to settle into your new environment. There’s nothing like a full fridge to make you feel at home, after all.

Don’t leave clutter lying around. You don’t have to throw away all of the boxes and bags you used to move in, in fact, you will probably benefit from keeping them. However, find a place to keep everything where it’ll be out of sight and it won’t get in the way. Recycle anything that you’re not certain you’re going to use again – try to keep the new place as junk free as possible.

Do open up the windows, if the weather is warm. No matter how clean the house or flat is, a place that hasn’t been lived in for a while tends to get a certain kind of smell. Letting it air out for a few hours should take care of that. Naturally, skip this step, if the weather is clean or you live in a noisy or polluted area.

Do relax. Sit down. Read a book. Go out for a walk or a coffee. Bond with your new housemates over a game of Monopoly. Try to establish a ritual and feel comfortable in your brand new home.