Updated: Nov 17
We just moved our little fam-of-four to a new home in a new state. It was one of the hardest thing this gal who is: (A) not a fan of change and (B) doesn't like change has ever done.
While we by no means did everything perfectly – cuz that's not a thing – there were several things we did that made the getting settled into our new home much easier.
1. Allow Time For Transition
This is the #1 mistake I see folks make when they move into a new space. They don't schedule enough time to unpack. Instead, they go straight into the office the day after they moved and wonder why they still feel unsettled months later.
Packing took a ton of time. Unpacking takes even more time. You are starting from scratch to create new systems and establish new habits in your new space, and meanwhile you still can't find your oven mitts (seriously – where did they go?!?!)
So allow as much time as possible to unpack before you return to work or start your new job. It's 100% worth it.
2. Have a Room Where the Boxes of Random Insanity Live
You know the ones I mean. The boxes that have no obvious place to land or category into which they fall. They contain living room decor wrapped in your husband's seasonal clothing and are topped with last year's taxes. You will get to them (see #4), just not right now.
For us, the Room of Random Insanity was our was our downstairs bedroom. We chose not to use our garage because it lacks climate control and to this day has an unidentified funky smell to it. If anyone can tell me what it is, I'll give you a pony.
3. Focus on One Room/One Category at a Time
Once you have your beds assembled and made up so you have a place to sleep and your kitchen unpacked enough so you have a place to cook and eat, it can be hard to know where to go from there.
I suggest choosing one room, and within that room, one category.
This is where the KonMari Method® (aka Marie Kondo Method) of home organization is your new BFF. Follow Marie's categories in order as you unpack the room.
The categories are: clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous, and sentimental.
I will use my daughter's bedroom as an example.
First, I found and unpacked all of her clothing.
Then, I folded, hung, and stored them until it was done.
Next, I moved on to her books. I did my best to find them all and give them a home.
I skipped paper, since she is a kid and her paper is mostly art supplies, and I moved on to miscellaneous, which for her is mostly toys and art supplies.
I ended with sentimental, which for most kiddos is primarily decor items.
A couple of things to keep in mind.
If you didn't like the way things were stored in your previous home, or your new place won't allow for your previous method of storage, now is the perfect time to experiment with some new systems. For example, in our old house, closets were hard to come by. Our youngest had all of her clothing stored in a wardrobe. But in our new home, her has her very own closet and we purchased a chest of drawers for folded items.
If as you are unpacking you come across items that belong in another room, which is totally normal because packing can quickly turn into a free-for-all of throwing things in boxes, either take them to where they actually go, or to temporary purgatory in the Room of Random Insanity.
Be open to the experiment. It's easy to get stuck in the mindset that whatever-I-choose-is-forever-so-I'd-better-not-pick-wrong (is it just me?) when really we are just trying something new and can change it if it doesn't work out. Your couch doesn't have to live on that side of the room forever. Maybe just for a few days to determine if you really like it there before you hang art above it. Which also doesn't have to be permanent. Because Command Picture Hanging Strips. This is not a paid advertisement. I'm just a fan-girl.
4. Create Positive Pressure/Accountability.
When you hit a wall with unpacking - and you will hit one if not several walls in this process - it can be incredibly helpful to create the pressure of a deadline or introduce some level of accountability.
A classic example of a self-imposed deadline with accountability that you may have already experienced is the manic cleaning that one does before company comes for a visit. This can work really well for unpacking as well.
We inadvertently harnessed the power of a visitor and accountability when we scheduled an electrician to replace our circuit breaker. While the electrician worked in the hallway, we allowed ourselves to literally become trapped in the Room of Random Insanity. And we worked on it for the full duration of his visit.
Y'all. We got. So. Much. Done.
Now, I don't recommend having a gold brick, I mean, a circuit breaker installed just so you can finish unpacking. But it worked for us!
5. Make Working on Your Home Your Shared Hobby.
I don't know about you, but I much prefer to work on house projects with other people. Especially my hubby, as our time together is limited with work and kiddos and all-the-things.
Although we are fully unpacked, we've still got PLENTY of home and yard-related projects to tackle. So, he had the brilliant idea to make all the house-related projects our shared hobby for a season.
Fridays are our day off, so while the kiddos are at school, we spend a few hours working on whatever task we picked for that day. It gives us quality time together, built-in accountability, and a sense of accomplishment.
Regardless of where you are in the process, give yourself a ton of grace. I mean it. Spread it around like butter.
You just moved.
It was so hard, and you probably lied to yourself about how it was gonna be smooth sailing once you were actually in your new home. You HAD to tell yourself that to get through the especially painful moments. I get it. I did it, too.
But now, you are in the process of actually transitioning into your new life in your new city in your new home. It's a lot! So cut yourself some slack. And don't forget to ask for help if you need it.