Moving to new places is an integral part of my life. After many military moves, my family and I have gotten pretty efficient at getting up and running after moving in to a new place. Moves can be so challenging! Not only is your life literally turned upside down, but you have to architect your entire life all over again from social circles, to jobs, and even new schools. I always say it takes about six months for a new house to feel like a home!
A successful move begins several months before the actual move date. Declutter, declutter, declutter- I can't say it enough! Moving boxes upon boxes of items that are just going straight to storage is such a waste of your precious time, energy and space. Before a move, we systematically go through every single room and get rid of things that are no longer going to be of use in the new place. We rid ourselves of anything that is either broken, outgrown, we are tired of, or is not going to be practical in our next house. We accomplish this task in one of three ways; give it away, have a yard sale or list it on Craigslist. Let those at work and in your social circles know of the items you're selling and donating as this is also a very quick way to get rid of stuff, too. Really think about how you're going to live in your new house and keep only those objects that make sense for your new life. When we moved to Northern Virginia, we sold our large freezer chest as we were moving to an urban area and knew that we wouldn't be hunting and stocking up like we did when we lived in the rural area we came from. A little forethought goes a long way!
After you've decluttered and paired down your inventory, you're all ready to move! I could write another entire article on how I organize to get ready for the movers and packing process, but that will wait for another day. I want to focus on what you can do after you've moved into your new home that will make life easier. Today, I thought I would share my insights, which explains our move-in process, in hopes that you can feel at home more quickly after moving to your new place. Here are ten ways to accomplish this task:
1. The absolute, very first thing I do when we move to a new house is put together all the beds and make them up with sheets and blankets before we spend the first night. There is nothing like sleeping in your bed again after being displaced!
2. Put all storage furniture together & place it in the room where it will stay – especially in the children’s rooms (if you have them). This way you'll have a place to put all your items (like books and clothing) as you unpack them. A mantra to remember is to put away as you unpack - it will save you so much time and decrease your work load.
3. If you have them, let your children put their own clothes and toys away. Allow them to set their rooms up themselves. It will save you time, and they’ll have ownership of their new space. Plus, this will keep them busy while you’re working on the next few tasks. Put all your clothes & shoes away quickly while the kids work in their own rooms. Put coats in a coat closet, hang your hanging items and fold/put away the rest!
4. Next, you’ll need to work on the kitchen. Unpack the kitchen boxes first, and set this room up completely. Pay attention to workflow and put things where you’ll use them most. Work quickly and aim to spend half a day doing this room. You can always go back later and tweak your organization. Having the coffee pot set up is a number one priority in our house!
5. After the kitchen is done, work on the bathrooms next. Find all the towels and toiletries, and put them away. As with the kitchen, you’re simply trying to put everything away – you can always go back in another week or two and reorganize. Again, if you have older children, let them organize their own bathrooms.
6. By this point, your children are getting restless, so let them ride their bikes & meet the other neighborhood kids. While they are doing this, you can set up the garage and outside areas. Again, you’re aiming to simply put things away. Don’t get too picky about the setup because you can piddle with these individual areas later as time allows.
7. Schedule phone, Internet and cable services to be hooked up the day you move in. Hook your televisions and computers up while the technician is there to help you. This will allow you to avoid any configuration problems later. This will not only entertain the children for a short time if they get bored, but can connect you to the outside world more quickly!
8. Have a staging area for all your decorative items like art, home décor & accessories. A guest bedroom or basement is great for this (out of the way, but easy to get to). These are the very last things I find a place for after I’ve organized my house and set my furniture placement. As I finish each room, my decorative items are all in one convenient place ready for me to pick from. It’s like having my own decorating store in my house! When I'm finished decorating, I simply pack up the remaining items I'm not using and store them or give them to Goodwill.
9. Unpack everything and aim to get all the cardboard boxes out of the house within a week. (This is also a great time to make forts for the kids.) Have the moving company then come back to retrieve the boxes, or take them yourself to be recycled. People will even come get them if you list your stash of moving supplies on Craigslist for free. Cardboard boxes give you an unsettled feeling and can breed insects, so you want them out of the house as quickly as possible.
10. Throw yourself and the children into activities as soon as humanly possible, so everyone can start making new friends. Teams, clubs, and generally hanging out in the front yard are a great way for kids to connect with other kids in the neighborhood. Have lots of juice boxes and snacks to welcome new little friends in your home. For the adults in the family, sports teams, religious activities, professional groups, or a beer with new neighbors are great ways to connect socially. This is pretty hard for me (as I'm pretty introverted), but working on your surrounding support group is a must-do for your future happiness in your new place - the sooner you get out there the better! You’ll be able to start enjoying your life again while making new connections in your new place!
A move shouldn’t impede your daily routine for too long. The sooner you're home is settled and organized- the happier you'll be in your new place. Everyone needs a safe and relaxing place to come home to. When we don't have this, it can really affect our mental state. We have honed our moving process over many years and many moves. Even our process is still evolving as we are always trying to do better with each subsequent move. Please share your moving tips with our community of readers here by commenting below, so everyone can benefit from your knowledge, too! By following these simple tips, you’re new place will start to feel like home in no time! Good luck with your next move and as always - Happy Designing!