Getting ready for a big move, or just completed one? As exciting as all new beginnings are, this change brings with it a certain level of stress. As you prepare to move – or as you sit in your new living room, surrounded by mountains of boxes – here are seven tips to help you smoothly settle into your new home.
Pack (and Unpack) Strategically
When your new space is cluttered with boxes, movers, takeout boxes, and friends and family, the chaos feels never-ending. The first step in organizing that chaos: carefully packed and labelled boxes. As you pack, try to not only organize things by room, but also by location in the room: vanity cabinet items go in one box, towels in another, shampoos and soaps in another, etc.
As you unload your U-Haul, have your movers (or, you know, your buddies helping you move) place all your boxes in the correct areas of your home, rather than dumping them all three feet from the door.
Before you begin unpacking boxes, assemble your large pieces of furniture in their proper rooms; after all the chaos, you’ll want a place to be able to sit and relax. Don’t skip this step, or you’ll be left fumbling with screws and Allen wrenches after an exhausting day of moving and unpacking; worse, you could spend your first night in your new home sleeping on blankets on the floor.
Once the furniture is assembled and the immediate necessities are unpacked, think about what you have planned for the next week. Will you be going into work the next day? Start with your closet so you’re not rifling through boxes in the morning. Potluck brunch on the weekend? Getting your kitchen functional is top priority. Maybe you’re like me and will stay up all night wondering if any valuables were damaged in the move, so it’d be best to start with any box labeled “fragile.” Thinking about the coming days and your own inclinations will not only give you some structure and order, but also help ease future stress.
Take the Time to Downsize
Ideally, you downsized before or as you began packing, so you don’t waste time and energy moving items you don’t want. But the process of letting go also helps new homeowners settle into their home after the move.
As you unpack, regard the contents of each box with a level head and think about what your intentions are with this new space. If the pink and lime green decor from your apartment’s bathroom isn’t going to transfer to the new house, don’t save them “just in case” – set up a “to donate” box and toss them in. There’s no need to use up valuable storage space for items you’ll never use again.
Think of the Children (and Pets!)
Moving is difficult for everyone, and more so for those who struggle to communicate, e.g., children and pets. Whether it’s a surge of indoor accidents, tantrums to raise the dead, or vindictively destroying items, these family members may have a hard time getting used to a new space.
With little ones, do your best to maintain excitement about the move. Although it can be difficult, given how exhausting the process is, looking to the bright side is infectious and helps ease tension. Giving kids manageable tasks is another great way to keep them engaged. Ask them to unpack a couple of boxes, put together their new bookshelf, or direct the movers to where their bed will go in their new room.
As much as we’d all love it if our pets could unpack their own boxes, they’re (probably) not so skilled. When possible, try to bring your cat or dog to the new home before the move begins to have a sniff around, and bring along a toy or favorite blanket. For caged and tanked pets, try to immediately set them in the space that will be their permanent home so you don’t have to keep uprooting them.
Take a Hammer to Those Walls
No, we’re not talking about turning Moving Day into Demo Day. Rather, grab a hammer and some nails and get started decorating. Whether it’s family photos or artistic canvases, give yourself something happy and comforting to look at – a reminder this place is home and will, gradually, start to feel that way.
Prefer to save the décor for last so you can get a sense of the space to make the right interior design choices? Set up a few standing photo frames on shelves and countertops instead of nailing anything to the wall; just because you want your home to look designer-ready later doesn’t mean you have to feel like you’re unpacking a stranger’s house right now.
It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Mister Rogers was full of sound advice, and perhaps some of the best comes from the opening jingle: It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor… Sound familiar? The point is, sometimes, the best thing to do when you’re overwhelmed by your home is to take a break and walk outside.
Grab the family and go out for dinner, or take a quiet walk in a nearby park. Window shop at your favorite store, go to a movie, or head to a dog park. Whatever it takes, remind yourself that while your home is a big part of your world, it’s not the whole world. You’ve got a new neighborhood, entertainment centers, and people to get to know; you might be surprised by how quickly a house becomes a home when you’re familiar with the community.
Channel Your Inner Gatsby
You don’t need to welcome guests by throwing silk and flannel shirts from your two-story closet, but think about inviting friends over for an easy meal and game night, or something more glamorous. What better way to feel comfortable in your new home by welcoming people into your space?
Hosting a party is even better if it happens before your home is 100 percent guest-ready. This way, you’re not setting the precedent that your home will always look pristine. You’ll be living in this space, not showing it off to friends; having loved ones around when there are still boxes to unpack will relieve some of the pressure we’re all susceptible to of trying to make our lives look perfect.
Give it Time
Like any budding relationship, it’s going to take time for you to get fully accustomed to your new home. Even with every feature you could ever dream of, this home will have new sounds and spaces to explore. You might change photos dozens of times over before you’ve found the perfect arrangement, or a bookshelf could travel to every corner of the house before you realize it was best where it started. That’s okay. As you grow to fill the spaces of your new home, your connection with it is only going to get better.
Mia Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Mia is passionate about the written word and making connections. Outside of work, Mia also serves on the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas.