Whether you're closing on a new home or renting a new apartment, summer is the season of moving. In the 13 moves I've made since college, I've learned a thing or two about making a place quickly feel like home.
First, though, here's why that's important. Moving to a new place can be overwhelming, exhausting, and stressful -- regardless of whether it's around the corner or across the country. Trying to live in a home that's just been moved into is akin to living in limbo -- half your stuff is still in boxes, you can't remember where you packed the shampoo, the cable guy is two days late, which means you miss the final episode of Mad Men... It's like living in a messy hotel room with a broken TV, but substitute day-old pizza for room service.
So, here are my tips on moving. As soon as you move in, ignore the boxes for a single afternoon. And do one or more of the following things instead. You'll immediately feel more at home -- and you'll feel less overwhelmed, less exhausted, and less stressed. As a result, you'll be more inspired to find that shampoo, unpack your stuff, and start really living in your home in earnest.
Tips on Moving: Six Ways to Quickly Feel at Home in a New Place
1. Hang art. My goal, within 48 hours of moving into a new place, is to hang at least two pieces of art in the main living area, and at least one in the bedroom. Art on the wall says "someone lives here." Art turns a house (or an apartment) into a home.
2. Make your bed. With your favorite bedspread or duvet. And a couple of throw pillows. A made bed suggests permanence. And it's oh-so-satisfying to fall into, after a long night of unpacking dishes.
3. Play some music. Set up your CD player (or tape deck, if that's how you roll), and crank up the tunes. Music makes us move faster and helps us daydream -- two things that are incredibly helpful during the more mind-numbing parts of unpacking.
4. Buy (or pick) some cut flowers. Put them in a vase, even if it's just a disposable paper cup. Put them where you'll see them while unpacking boxes. Because beauty begets beauty -- and one small, pretty thing (like cut flowers) will inspire you to more quickly organize the space around it.
5. Unpack your favorite things first. For me, that would be books. I ignore everything else until the bookshelves are full. I don't care about putting the books in proper order (that comes later), but merely having them out, where I can see them as I work -- it makes the whole space feel instantly familiar.
6. Invite someone over for coffee/brunch/dinner. Friends and loved ones fill our spaces with good energy -- over time, that energy is part of what makes a space begin to feel like "home". So get a head start by inviting someone over who doesn't mind eating Thai food takeout on upside-down cardboard boxes. Because that, my friends, is love.