Five things you can do the day after you move in to help your home feel like YOURS

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House move- 18th & OliveYou’ve just finished moving the last box to your new place. Or you’ve plopped your suitcase down on your new bed. You’re a few blocks from your old place, or you’re on the other side of the planet. Even the smoothest of moves is stressful — but what can you do as soon as you move to make your space homier?

There are probably a TON of moving experts among the Offbeat Homies. My credentials? I once moved 6 times in 12 months. It was hard to find “home” then. But even when you don’t know how long you’ll be staying, these tips will help you feel more comfortable.

  1. Add your scent. You know when you’ve been gone for a few days and you open your front door and become suddenly aware that your house has A SMELL? The smells in homes come from so many sources — perfumes, aerosol sprays, air fresheners, cleaners, foods, pets — so if you’re able to, grab a little something that you can set up to give your new place a familiar smell. If you’re clueless as to how to pack your scent, consider baking. Nothing makes a home smell cozier than fresh bread. Not a baker? Cheat with a freezer pack of oven-ready rolls. Kelly and Lesa (Prom - May 1978)
  2. Speaking of food, you can also eat a favorite meal. Cook it or order it or pop it from a Pringles can — I know it’s hard for me to feel ill at ease with a steaming baked potato and sour cream on my table.
  3. Prepare photographs for display. It’s kind of weird nowadays to have actual printed photographs, so it will be helpful to select digital files beforehand. Upload a few different sizes of favorite photos — family members, you and your partner, your friends with your iguana, a funny art car you saw at a music festival — pick them up at your local Walgreens (or what have you) and pop them in frames or pin them on boards. Heck, tape them to your door. Having familiar faces around will make the new place feel more like your own.
  4. Decorate the walls. Hang posters. Scarves. Get your photos up. Make a painting if you have to — having goodies on the walls instantly warms a room.
  5. UNPACK. You don’t have to go crazy; unpacking sucks. Focus on putting your most important items in their place. My husband loves to do this as soon as he lands in a hotel room: socks go in drawers, dress shirts hang in the closet, toiletries are in the bathroom. The sooner you can get into a routine of interaction in your space, the more at-ease you’ll feel. Put things in your linen closet, organize the silverware and get your hula hoops on the hook.

On your next move or extended stay, put these into practice to make your home feel like YOURS. Now. What one thing did we forget to include on this list?

Comments on Five things you can do the day after you move in to help your home feel like YOURS

  1. Put me in the “make the bed first” camp. When I moved into my first dorm room, it was a little overwhelming and lonely. I made the bed and instantly felt more at home. In my dozen or so moves since then, I always make the bed first.

  2. Grab your partner (if you’ve got one), and systematically “deflower” each and every room;)

    • This is why leaving my partner was so crap! No wonder my new place doesn’t feel like home yet. I’m going to fix this asap!

    • Yes! I was wondering if anyone else was going to post this. Fill your new home with figurative good vibes (and literal ones if that’s your thing 😉 !

      My boyfriend and I moved to a new apartment a couple weeks ago, and we did just this. We did feel a little embarrassed for the old lady who lives downstairs though, because the floors are hardwood and there was no furniture yet to muffle the sound. 😉

  3. I thought I was a moving expert having done it oh…3o some odd times. And then we had a baby. Almost a month in our new place and barely feeling ‘moved in.’

    First things first, a place for the little one. And it is still the most functional room in the house with the idea being that having him all set up will allow us to get the other stuff done. Eye roll.

    But I’m inspired to start making it feel like home! I’ll put up our coat hooks so we can stop hanging things on the kitchen chairs.

  4. I’m a sophomore in college, and therefore living in a temporary dorm living situation during the school year. I ran into this problem last year when I first moved in to the dorm. I was living with the idea that I would be moving out at the end of the year. Because I was thinking this way, I never really felt at home in my room. At the start of this school year, I decided that I couldn’t live like this again. So, I started by moving the furniture around so it worked best for how I was living, and decorating the shit out of everything. We even have a couch made out of some under bed storage! It’s going to take awhile to pack everything away at the end of the year, but it is so worth it!

  5. Please forgive my little jaunt into the hectic world of personal spiritual beliefs, but for me, everything else can wait. I can fall asleep on the floor in a new place and wake up surrounded by boxes and feel perfectly at home, as long as my Alter is assembled. I am pagan, and first put together my personal alter when I was 13 (I’m in my 20’s now). It has changed some over the years, but a home is never mine until the whole things stands neatly in a corner, it’s 5 shelves covered in hundreds of small, fragile, perfectly placed items.

  6. Having moved roughly once every 6 months for ten years till we got the boat 3 years ago I find it hard to know what “feels like home” feels like. Even now the boat feels rather temporary.
    I guess the top three would be make the bed, have tea making stuff out (i’m a Brit 😉 ) and radio and tv mostly just to have some back ground noise to work to.

  7. We (husband and French Bulldog and I) just moved into our new home yesterday and I was so excited to read this article! I was so thankful that we had a full week to move in so that though we did procrastinate until the very last minute on most things, I did manage to carry over all our kitchen stuff that has been sitting in the basement for the past 8 months (we’ve been living with the in-laws) and unpack it, so that though every room in the house is stuffed with boxes, the kitchen is useable.
    Also, the two days before Moving Day were spent shopping for and putting up curtains. You have no IDEA how good it feels to have a) a bit of privacy and b) a touch of decorating before anything is unpacked.
    Hot tip: even if you plan on putting up mounted curtain rods, it’s worth getting a whole bunch of spring rods in different sizes so that you can get them up right away!
    Also, I didn’t think about it until now, but I just realized that I do have one small ritual that helps me feel like we’re home. I grew up Orthodox Christian, and though I’ve moved away from it as an adult, I still have a couple icons sitting around, including one small one of the Virgin Mary. She goes on the top of the front door frame and I always feel comforted when I notice her up there.

  8. First things I do to make myself feel at home is to burn my mix of incense, and make myself a cup of tea.

  9. I’ve moved twice a year since I was 18. College and all that. I’ve developed my own little routine for making myself at home. I have to set up my bed first. If I get nothing else done, I have to have my bed made with clean sheets. Then I set up the bathroom. Everything else can wait. I just need a comfy bed and my shampoo.

  10. I totally agree about making the bed first. Other than that, I like to go through each room and turn on the lights, and sort of announce myself to each room- not so much “I’m here”, but more “And this is my bedroom”…like saying it aloud will help the reality sink in. I just did this last week when my husband and I moved into our new place. He laughed at first, but cheered with me when (after turning on all the lights) I yelled “Hun, this is OUR HOUSE!” from the top of the stairs.

  11. Over 8 moves in the last ten years I have a fine tuned way to move in town that sounds tedious, but helps me feel at home.
    I unpack the one load at a time. I have five plastic bins that fit in any small sized sedan. I pack everything from the living room including all of the stuff on the walls, the weird stuff I keep in the coffee tables and the dvd collection in. I get to the new house and unpack everything and put it in it’s place before I get the second load. I systematically do this for every room and the presto-change-o the house is yours. Plus you get to enjoy that lovely new house feel without having to live out of boxes for any length of time.

  12. It sounds weird to me since I am such a big hot mess, but the absolute first thing I did when we bought our home was clean. Not that it was particularly dirty, but damn it if I didn’t scrub every inch of that house. My messes I can handle, but I don’t know I just felt like I had to clean out the previous owners before we could really settle in and unpack. It’s funny to see pictures of when we first moved in now. Everything–walls, counters are so bare and empty. Little by little we’ve taken over and somehow looking back at the house before we took it over, it looks almost alien.

  13. My book shelf, all colorful things, and my castiron cookwear. Done!

  14. first thing, i fill my fridge with what i had, set up my bed, make it, get nekked and have a much needed nap. couple hrs later i get a drink, some food then start unpacking my kitchen (my most important room). i dont really worry about the best organizational whatsit cuz about every 2 weeks i reorganize everything anyway. I’ve moved 8 times in 2 years, and ive tried just diving in. this works for me.

  15. Clean the bathroom and put all your toiletries away in the place where they’re supposed to go! Whether I’m moving or unpacking in a hotel room, I know I’m at least temporarily home when all of my toiletries are in their proper place. 🙂

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