Moving is a fun adventure. There is the excitement of a new location, a new house, new neighbors, and new opportunities. Along with that comes the stress and overall hassle of moving, which can be minimal or extreme, depending on your circumstances. After the dust settles, it can feel like you are living in a place that isn’t yours. We have owned two homes in the past few years, and throughout each process I have learned a lot about making it feel like your own. When we bought our first house, it took us some time to unpack our stuff, and we didn’t even have that much to begin with. This left us with empty rooms and bare, lifeless walls for a while. Everything felt very sterile, maybe because it was all white or gray. Not exactly a homey atmosphere. On top of that, we were new to the homeownership thing, so we had to figure out a lot about general house/yard maintenance. It all felt overwhelming, and the disorder and newness kept that house from feeling like our home for a long while.
I think the two biggest obstacles to it becoming homey was that it was a sterile new construction home, and it was our first house. I didn’t fully understand the value in quickly using those personal touches to make the house have more warmth and personality. We just didn’t have a lot of stuff to fill the spaces either, but my how that has changed! Having a kid ensures you will not lack for stuff!
Fast forward to our second home, and it has felt like home after about a month and half. Maybe that seems like a long time to you, but compared to our first house, it’s a short amount of time. Here are some of the things helped me to make our new house feel like home.
- Clean the house from top to bottom. If you are a clean freak like me, you will appreciate this. There is something very satisfying about getting into the nooks and crannies of the new house. For one thing, you familiarize yourself with the new surroundings, but it also allows you to get a feel for 1) how clean the house currently is, and 2) where dust and dirt tends to collect. After all, you can’t be sure that the people who lived there before you (if it’s a resale) share your standard of cleanliness. If this doesn’t bother you, more power to you. I bet you have a strong immune system (ha). Once you are done, you have a house that is clean and ready for you, your family, and all your stuff.
- Unpack quickly. Nothing says unsettled, pending projects, disorder, or stress to me than boxes being everywhere. Get rid of those boxes quickly, and start putting your house together. This move, we unpacked approx 90% of our stuff within the week. It was great. When you are surrounded by familiar things, the environment as a whole will feel warmer and more inviting. Another benefit to this is that you will have less of those “that thing I need is in a box somewhere” situations.
- Tackle a few inside projects. Make the house feel like yours by personalizing it. Paint a few walls, upgrade lighting, add curtains, change out sink fixtures, etc. As you do this, the house will become more of a reflection of you and your tastes, rather than the person that lived there before you. I have always found that getting my hands dirty in a new home or car translates to feelings of ownership for me. It is a process that I truly love, and it’s a major creative outlet. Projects are fun!
- Decorate. This goes hand in hand with unpacking quickly. Getting familiar things on the walls will make it feel more like home. You will enjoy being in the spaces more if you like how they look. Make your home inviting my adding those familiar trinkets, and maybe some new ones too. After all, half the fun of a new house is decorating!
- Do some yard work. This goes hand in hand with the inside projects. Getting your hands dirty outside will make it feel more like home. Dig up the dead plants, and plant new ones that you like. Decorate the front porch, rake the leaves, add walkway/driveway lighting, lay down some mulch, etc. The possibilities are endless! One of the best return on investments when it comes to your home is making sure the yard and exterior of your house look good. Simply keep it tidy and add some green life, and you will love pulling up to your house every time.
- Go Away/Travel. This seems like an odd one, so let me explain. Sometimes, we need a change of perspective when going through the whole moving/transitioning process. When you are away from home for a while, you will probably begin to miss the convince and ease it offers. As Dorothy famously said in the Wizard of Oz, “There is no place like home!” We moved to our new home about a month and a half before Christmas, which is also my husband’s busiest time of year at work. It was and has been a total whirlwind. We go home to Maryland to spend time with our families around Christmas each year, and we always look forward to it. This year, we were able to spend about a week, which was great. However, everyone in our little family became sick with ailments ranging from ear infections, to a simple cold, to the flu. Yikes. That was difficult to address while not being in our home environment, where everything we need is right there. After dealing with that for a few days, plus traveling from Maryland to Florida with a sick hubby and a sick toddler, our new little house was such a sight for sore eyes! I honestly cannot remember a time where I felt more excited to be home. I guess I just needed a little perspective adjustment.
Since doing these things, I have felt an enduring attachment to these four walls that we call home. A feeling of ownership is present and accounted for, and what a blessing it is! Now, wish me luck as I paint walls, plant flowers, paint cabinets, and generally upend the house 🙂