I was thinking back to when we made our most recent move; leaving the home that I raised my children in, in a town that my husband grew up in; to move 600+ miles away to a new state, town & house. Changing houses can be an exciting, yet difficult thing sometimes, the house changes everything about your life—how you cook, relax, sleep.
Moving is about so much more than just changing your address. It also means leaving the house or apartment you've spent years molding into a home, and starting new with a blank slate somewhere else.
Being a New Home Sales agent and working with clients who are moving either a few blocks or hundreds of miles had me thinking about how to help them feel at "home" as well as part of the community.
So here are a few tips to help make that new house feel like "Home"
(tips include personal experience as well as very insightful blogs & websites)
Hang artwork and family photos. Empty walls are ice cold and rooms echo, so take the time to display your favorites for instant warmth. To save some time try installing a shelf or two where you can lean a variety of artwork alongside knick-knacks. It’s something different, and you can easily rearrange things in creative new configurations for a quick refresh later.
Get comfy in the kitchen – With all of the stresses of relocating, you've probably had your fair share of take out, pizza and Chinese start to get old fast. Unpack kitchen essentials and any other box labeled “Kitchen”. Not only will your favorite foods cooking remind you of home and old routines, but using the kitchen as you’re unpacking it will help you figure out the best places to put everything.
Try some aromatherapy. The sense of smell has a powerful connection to emotions, and filling your new house with favorite scents can help bring comforting memories into the new environment. Light candles in your favorite fragrances like cinnamon and vanilla, and wipe down surfaces with fragrant natural cleaning supplies.
Have an unpacking party – Instead of putting off the process and living with boxes scattered here and there for month, invite your friends & family to come help you get settled. Tell them that you’re willing to exchange a home-cooked meal for a bit of help with the unpacking process, then you can invite the neighbors over for dessert.
It’s all in the details. A cozy throw blanket, a coffee mug, a favorite saying hanging in the kitchen — sometimes the key to making a house feel like a home lies in unpacking all your favorite belongings and putting them in familiar places.
When you prioritize unpacking, everyday essentials obviously come first. But follow with your coziest favorite items, then onto the rest. Keep non-essentials in storage, and know you can always move things around later.
And most of all....
Spend Time In It: It's almost a badge of honor these days to rattle off your itinerary for the day which leaves little or no time spent at home. You can't have the feelings of a safe harbor within your walls if you're never there. Take some time during the week to just stay in and enjoy time in your new home.
A house, according to the dictionary, is a "place that provides shelter, living space." That's easy. A home is more complicated. A home is "where one likes to be, a place thought of as the center of one's affections, a restful or congenial place." There is a reason for the cliche "Home is where the heart is."
Do you have a favorite chair, a favorite view, a spot for morning coffee that you go to and know you are Home?