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If you are relocating soon to Ottawa or the surrounding area, you’re in for a treat. Canada’s capital is a wonderful place to live, full of architectural and natural beauty.

You’ll find many top-notch schools and all kinds of fun, family adventures in every season. Once you’re here, we are sure you’ll love it. Getting here, however, is another matter.

Relocating to a new city isn’t always glamourous or exciting.

There are many details to remember, and the process can feel stressful and overwhelming for everyone involved.

At the Wright Team, we’ve helped many clients ensure a smooth transition to a new home. The sooner you start planning, the more streamlined your move will be, and the easier it is for each family member to adjust. 

While each situation is different, many items on the to-do list are the same.

Before you even begin packing a single box, create a master list and divide it into three sections: 

  • Before
  • During
  • After

Post the list somewhere easily accessible so everyone in the family can contribute. Be sure to leave lots of space under each heading because you will be adding to it constantly as you remember the details. The earlier you begin this list, the better. It will help you stay on track and make sure you don’t forget something critical. 

We’ve put together an example of a comprehensive checklist to help you get started.  

Before Your Move 

Create a packing list. Another list? We don’t recommend getting bogged down with list-making, but this one is essential. A packing list helps you move only the items you need to. It prevents you from mindlessly showing everything into boxes in your rush to pack. This will save you time in your new house when you unpack, and money if you’re hiring movers. A packing list forces you to consider what you truly need to bring to your new home.

Pack items in the order of how often you need them. Items used less frequently get packed first, and go to the back of the pile.

Label each box thoroughly. Take a few seconds now to label everything that’s in the box. You’ll be glad you did if it turns out you need something you’ve already packed and have to tear through every box to find it again. If a box contains fragile items, be sure to make a note of it.

Update your address. Your driver’s license, health card and credit cards will all have to be changed. Same with student IDs, memberships, newsletters and everything you want to reach your new home. 

Forward your mail. No matter how thorough you are when updating your address on all of your correspondence, you will inevitably forget something. You can forward your mail for up to a year to ensure nothing important gets missed.

Coordinate utility hookups. You’ll need to hook up cable and Internet in your new home. And if you’re moving into a brand new build, you may need to hook up your heat, hydro and utilities.

Register your children at a new school. Research which schools are available and easily accessible, either within walking distance, public transit or on a school bus route.

Learn more about your area. Moving can be emotional for the whole family, particularly for young children. Kids in school often feel sad about leaving their friends behind. You can alleviate some of the stress by getting excited about your new neighbourhood. Is there an epic skatepark or sports centre nearby? What fun activities are there for children their age? If you can get your family excited about the move, the process suddenly feels much less daunting.

Want to know more about Ottawa and surrounding areas? You might want to check out some of our community guides below:

During Your Move

When moving day finally arrives, it’s normal for everyone to be on edge and a little emotional. Set the alarm a half-hour earlier to start the day with a hearty breakfast and to enjoy the calm before the storm. Here are a few other tips to make this day as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Pack a box of essentials. Everything you need for the first day or two should be in one box that is easily accessible and clearly labelled. This includes medications, toothbrushes, personal items, pillows and favourite toys. Unpacking at your new house takes time, and nothing is worse at the end of a long day than a child upset because they can’t find their favourite toy!

Make arrangements for pets and young children. Anyone too young to help with moving should have a safe place to stay. Keep pets away from open doors so they don’t wander outside unexpectedly. And having a relative around to keep children entertained makes the moving process safer and more enjoyable for everyone. 

Leave time for cleaning your new place. No matter how well-intentioned the previous owners were, there will inevitably be some dirt and dust left behind.  We recommend budgeting for a deep cleaning of your new home before you settle in to ensure a smooth transition.

Make it a pizza party. You’re moving anyway, so you might as well make the process as much fun as possible. In any case, everyone involved will be much more efficient when well-fed.

Make a quick grocery stop. Organizing and unpacking will likely take a few days, at least. In the meantime, you’ll need a few essentials to help everyone settle in peacefully. Tissues, paper towels, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, dish soap, laundry detergent and enough food for a few days are a few items that should be on that list.

After your Move

Once you’ve moved into your new home, you’re almost ready to explore and enjoy your surroundings. There are a few more items high on the priority list.

Locate the smoke detectors and put in new batteries. These batteries should be replaced at least every six months, and you don’t want to assume that the previous owners have done this.

Find the water shut off. This isn’t something you ever think about until a gasket breaks, and you have no idea how to turn the water off. Locating the main shut-off valve can save your floors in the event of an emergency.

Change the locks. While the previous owners are expected to leave all their keys behind, it is best to be safe. You never know if they gave a key to a friend or neighbour and then forgot about it.

Update your voter registration. Update your new address now to ensure you’re allowed to vote on election day. 

Establish your healthcare needs. Depending on how far you’ve moved, you may need to find new practitioners. This includes family doctors, dentists, and veterinarians. You can arrange to have all your files transferred and avoid any disruptions in care.

Keep your comprehensive relocation checklist handy. You’ll want to refer to it often to check things off and make sure you don’t forget anything.

Now that you’re moved in, and things are settling down, it’s time to get out into your new neighbourhood to have fun and explore.

Here are a few fun activities you can enjoy with your family in Ottawa and the surrounding areas: