By Alicia Hutchinson
We moved across the country and into a new place about three months ago. The boxes are all gone and things are mostly put away, but to be honest, things still feel a little out of sorts and out of place. Having four kids, our biggest priority was to get things out of the boxes and into the general vicinity of where they needed to go. And we did, and that’s great, but now we’re at the next phase of a big move—the phase before our family really starts to settle into a good routine and mama gets her groove back. We’re in the “gray area” phase of a long move when we’re surviving, but not thriving—yet. This article contains my moving tips and tricks to get us to that next level.
Moving Tips and Tricks for Making Your New Home Feel Like a Home
Have you ever really thought about the title “homemaker”? I have, and sometimes I relish it and other times the pressure feels overwhelming to be the one to make your home really feel like home. It’s not an easy task. Especially after a move, trying to make this foreign space really feel like home can seem like a tall order that might never be filled. We’ve moved a handful of times, but enough to know that this adjustment doesn’t happen overnight.
Usually, after a big move we work, work, work to get the boxes out. We just want them out! The next phase is to set up rooms, arrange furniture, and make the space livable. At this point, I am usually itching to get out of the house and explore! I love this part of living in different places—seeing new sites and opportunities. Then life starts again—you find new doctors, new schools, new groups, new church, and the activities start coming again, meals start being made again, and life gets rolling.
This is great, but while life is picking up again, your home—that space you were assigned to make cozy and homey and nice—is still sitting a little cluttered in the corners with nothing on the walls, nothing primped or loved on. This is right where I am in our move.
I want to walk into my new home and feel like I’m home. I don’t quite feel like that yet, but here’s my plan to make it feel like home:
1. Reconcile with myself that I can only do so much.
When it comes to moving tips and tricks, this is a biggie, and I know I’m not the only one out there who puts too much on themselves—whether you just moved or not. I have four kids who need me and having a hundred projects going on at once is not good for any of us. I’ve decided to take my long list of things I want to do to our new house and re-title it: TO DO AT SOME POINT. The last little tag “at some point” takes the pressure of a timeline away and gives me more time to work on things little by little. As much as I want it all done, I don’t need it all done at once.
2. Divide my project list into rooms.
At first, I sat down and made a list of a whole bunch of stuff I wanted to get done in my new house. This list went on forever and just put me in panic mode. After I calmed down, I went back over the list, reminded myself of point #1, and organized my list room by room. Under each room that I wanted to work on, I listed the different items I wanted to do, ex: paint walls, hang certain art, swap bedroom rug with living room rug, etc. Then at the top of each list, I left a space for the month—each room is assigned a month and I am not doing more than that. The go-getter in me really wants to do more than that, but I know I’ll drive everyone crazy. So, one room at a time, one project at a time.
3. Prioritize my list
What rooms needed to be addressed first for functionality and for achieving my initial goals the quickest? For example, the carpeting in the room where we will do school had gotten wet and was really starting to smell, so we removed it and put in new flooring. We also painted and got new shelving for all of our school books. Currently, the school room is in total disarray. There’s lots of organizing to do, there’s still a few things to purchase, and it all just needs to be put back together. Since school will be starting before we know it, I have put this room at the top of the priority list. Next is probably the garage where we will add benches and hooks to better organize all the kids’ shoes and jackets. When I put things in order like this, it all seems more doable.
4. Continuously reassess our furniture and décor.
When you move into a new space, all of your things fit differently—the rooms might not be the same size or the furniture might be styled differently than your new space. I think it’s important to not a) settle for everything being the same and not change anything, or b) go out right away and buy all new things to fit your new home. Sometimes we just need to look at our current things with a different eye.
Maybe you now have built-ins in your living room and don’t need your old TV armoire. But it might look great with a fresh coat of paint in your girls’ room for extra clothing storage. Or maybe your old buffet doesn’t fit on any walls in the dining room, but it would look great in the kitchen as a butler’s pantry. Just be open to changing things around and tweaking your current items before getting rid of everything.
After these moving tips and tricks of reevaluating, prioritizing, and reassessing, I feel so much better about this wonderful task of making our new house a home. I am constantly reminding myself that it takes time to do this and little-by-little, it will become more and more ours.
Alicia Hutchinson is called “Mama” by four kiddos; two boys and two girls. They have been homeschooling for seven years, and history and good literature are their favorite subjects. They have recently completed a long relocation process from the mountains of North Carolina to the busy city of Minneapolis. Alicia can be found blogging on her corner of the Web, Investing Love: www.aliciahutchinson.com, where she talks about making a home, current projects, creating, reading, teaching, and enjoying the little things that come with being a mom/wife/teacher.