Settling in your new place is what turns it from a house into a home. Preparing the house and making it suitable to your way of living will set the tone for your life in your new home.
To make the whole thing seem like a great new adventure, it is best to think of as many aspects as possible before you settle into your new place. Dedicate some time to making it just right rather than rushing it.
If you rush, you will only end up with half packed boxes and a completely disorganized house.
Here are some tips I have collected over the years that make this transition as smooth as possible.
How to make the new place your home
- Do not rush into getting rid of boxes. Focus on unpacking in the opposite order you packed. Start unpacking the boxes you packed last.
- If you have any helpers, give them very clear instructions about your preferences and do not be tempted to go with their suggestions. Unpacking can be a very tense job and many people do not feel assertive enough to say no to suggestions. Nevertheless, stick to what you have planned. You will only be upset later when things are not arranged the way they like them. Be especially clear on this with people that put pressure on you.
- Go grocery shopping for the first 3 or 4 days. Do not be tempted to fill up the fridge. Stick to holiday quantities – pick easy-to-prepare food. Give yourself and your family a break from well prepared meals.
- Stick a shopping list on the fridge and make note of items you need to buy. Do not be tempted to go to the shop for each new item. It is better to accumulate the items buy all of them at once.
- Say hello to the neighbors. We used to make a card with our names, address and phone number to give to the neighbors. Having good neighbors can make your move a fantastic experience. May you find such neighbors in your new place.
- While you are unpacking, flatten all your cartons/boxes and put them underneath or behind a bed so they won’t be an obstacle. If the removing company wants them back, you can collect them all this way and call the company to come pick them up. If you can keep them, and you are feeling creative, you can use them for all sorts of artsy things e.g. play house for the kids, cardboard furniture, shelves and decorations. Otherwise, just recycle them!
- Try to clean the floor every night before you go to sleep. Unpacking spreads lots of dust and it is better to clean each day so you don’t move it around from room to room.
- Decorate the kids’ rooms as soon as you can to make them feel they are “home”. If you plan to do something totally different and need extra time, make sure they have special items in a visible place so it carries the smell of home and gives them a sense of security.
- If kids do not feel safe at night, leave a light on the way to the toilet. A new home can be pretty disorienting for adults as well. They know the route to the toilet off by heart but it is completely different in the new house. It will become easier in a week or two.
- Write down your new phone number and your contact details on a note next to the phone. That way, when you talk to people on the phone, you can give them your new contact details over the phone without having to memories them.
- Try setting a new routine as soon as possible though it is important to remember not to overdo it. If you create a routine and can’t live without it, the routine is a burden and limiting. If you create a routine slowly, it will serve you well. Yes, it’s better for kids to go to school but be flexible and allow them time off to enjoy the new house if it is possible.
- Try hanging your photos, pictures and decorations during the first month of your move. Don’t do it on the second day or before you have figured out where the rest of the furniture goes, but try to do it within the first month. It will give you the feeling that the house is really yours. It does not have to be in the most perfect place and it does not need to be there forever but it needs to feel like home.
- Have a house warming. It may take time to have everything in the right place but when you are ready, have a party. Having a house warming is a celebration of your big move that you can share with others around you. It is an opportunity to bless your life in the new home. In some cultures, it involves ceremonies that form relationships between the tenants and the spirits of the house. When we lived in Thailand and Singapore, this was something we tried. It was truly fascinating. House warmings are another way of saying “I did it!” – you made it through your move in one piece. Congratulations!
Wishing you a happy life in your new home.
This post is part of the series Moving House Made Easy:
- Moving House Made Easy: Spring Cleaning
- Moving House Made Easy: Packing
- Moving House Made Easy: Telling the Kids
- Moving House Made Easy: The New Place
- Moving House Made Easy: Movers
- Moving House Made Easy: Pack a Holiday Suitcase
- Moving House Made Easy: Food
- Moving House Made Easy: Bills and Services
- Moving House Made Easy: Changing Address
- Moving House Made Easy: Just in Case
- Moving House Made Easy: Moving Day
- Moving House Made Easy: Unpacking
- Moving House Made Easy: Making the New Place Home