At this stage of my life, I’m a veteran of the whole moving thing. I’ve moved around from crappy apartments to shared homes. From house-sitting gigs to back home with my mom. From sketchy neighborhoods to enviable ones. I’ve been moving, like a lot of folks in my peer group, for all my adult life.
Over the years, my approach to these moves has varied. There were times I left boxes packed, stacks of possessions strewn about with no dedicated area to call their home for the whole span of my lease. Moves met with detailed sketches of furniture floor plans drawn days before the moving truck showed up. Houses left stark and undecorated. Apartments with pieces of art hung on every wall.
It’s easy to forget that moving to a new home is actually considered one of the top life-stressors that can trigger anxiety. With this in mind, I knew for my most recent move I wanted to take gentle care and a few precautions for settling into our new home with ease. Here are a few of the things I learned during the process of making our new house a HOME…
1. Start with the bathroom. There’s no way you can get your house looking exactly as you want it in 24 hours. There’s furniture to fuss with, frames to hang, and no doubt some bits and bobs need to be bought. However, getting one room to completion can boost your morale! You’ll no doubt need to *ahem* use your bathroom right from the start. So, focus your first purchasing and decorating efforts here. Once we arrived in Miami I immediately purchased a new shower curtain, bath mat, and waste-basket. My mom mailed me a bright new set of towels as a house-warming present. I then arranged all my necessities on the sink vanity and bingo-bango my bathroom was done!
2. Focus on areas where you’ll spend the most time. After the bathroom, direct your next efforts on the spots in your home that will see the most use. The bed is an easy one. Set it up. Make it! But maybe the rest of your bedroom isn’t as much a priority right now. Is sitting down to a table for dinner important to you? Need a cozy nook for knitting? Maybe you’re a fashion blogger who needs an organized closet and a full length mirror. For us, home work spaces were top of the list. We brought a lot of the necessities, furniture-wise, with us. Think: bed and kitchen table. But no desks. We focused our early attentions on these areas because, not only do we spend a lot of time at our computers, our jobs depend on it.
3. Cook dinner at home. It can be REALLY tempting while you’re in transition to eat out at restaurants a whole bunch. Resist the urge!!! Knowing you need to cook your own meals will force you to unpack those boxes of pots & pans and utensils, get them washed, and up in the cupboards. No need to reinvent the wheel. No shame if you must balance your plate on a moving box for a picnic on the floor. Focus on simple ingredients that come together easily. Nothing feels like home quite like where the FOOD is. Especially when that food is chicken soup, meatloaf, taco bowls, or spaghetti. *get in my belly*
4. Give everything a proper place. The sooner you start unpacking all the, what I call- littles, the sooner you’ll be able to start chucking cardboard boxes in the dumpster. The sooner you start chucking cardboard boxes in the dumpster, the sooner you’ll start to feel like you don’t LIVE in a dumpster. Plan your storage solutions and start putting them to use. Stack your towels and extra bed sheets in the linen closet. Stow your basket of hair items in the cabinet under the sink. Put your vitamins in a neat little row in the medicine cabinet. And place your spatulas, spoons, and tongs in a kitchen drawer. Now I know, moving is EXPENSIVE. There may be furniture pieces you can’t buy right away; like a chest of drawers or your desk or TV stand. There may be littles that need to get tucked away into one of these eventual purchases. If that’s the case, stack them where you intend the new piece to go. They can hang out for awhile until you get the funds!
5. Let go of what doesn’t work. Sometimes you cart an item over MANY state lines only to realize it doesn’t have a place in your new abode. Chuck it! (Like donate it or give it to someone who might be able to use it.) I brought along an over the door shoe rack with me to Miami that I’ve had since my VERY first apartment only to find out my closet closed by way of a pocket door. I’m not gonna hold onto the shoe rack for potentially years just because SOME DAY I might be able to use it again. It was time to let it go.
6. Shop your belongings before shopping a store. This is where you can start to get creative! Just because you used something one way at your old home doesn’t mean you need to replicate in your new home. Perhaps something is better fitted to a different room’s decor this time. Maybe that nightstand needs to take on a new life as a TV stand. Perhaps your cute coat hooks can become a place to hang pot holders by the stove. My old bathroom (straight out of the 50’s) had one of those built in toothbrush holders by the sink. Here, not so much. Not to worry. I dug out a gorgeous pottery cup that held fake flowers in my past living room and put it to work doing its new job.
7. Invest in consumables. I’m of the belief that unless you’re a MILLIONAIRE you should go about decorating and furnishing your home slowly. If not, you’ll blink and whoops your house looks fantastic but you’re flat broke. Find other (read: cheaper) ways to beautify your place through investing in meaningful consumables. Think: candles, fresh flowers, post cards, even STRIPEY STRAWS! They’ll make your home pretty without breaking the bank.
8. Create simple routines around doing things that make you happy. Once you start developing sweet rituals inside your new homestead it will be that much easier to associate what started out as some walls, windows, and a front door into a place you associate with comfort, family, and joy. For me this means; reading a chapter of a book each night after dinner, unrolling my yoga mat during breaks from work, and splashing around in the pool in the late afternoon each weekend. Your house will definitely feel like home in those moments you find time to do the things you love.
Anything you’d add to the list? Leave it below…