On finding the thing you didn’t know you were looking for, and moving, and green gables

On finding the thing you didn’t know you were looking for, and moving, and green gables

Back in September I stumbled upon a really great purse at Costco. It was one of those catch-it-while-you-can flash designer sales they have sometimes; the price was low, it wouldn’t last long. It didn’t last long. Even though it was exactly what I wanted, I didn’t buy it, because I hadn’t gone to Costco that day with the intention of buying a purse. When I went back to buy it a few days later, every last handbag was gone.

(It was a plum Kate Spade, similar to this one, but for less than half that price.)

I thought a lot about that experience afterward, not because the purse was a crucial life decision, but because the process of decision making is important, and that experience prompted me to examine mine. I even drafted a blog post about it: when is an impulse buy not an impulse buy? My answer: when you find the perfect thing you didn’t even know you were looking for—whether it’s a person or a job or a purse or whatever—and you can snatch it up, do it. Or at least think about it. Don’t dismiss it outright because it wasn’t in your plan.

I never shared that post, because the timing never seemed right. (Also because I struggled with admitting deep thoughts about a pricy material good.)

*****     *****     *****

Will and I have known for a little while that we wanted to move neighborhoods. We just made a move a few years back; it’s been a good move. We really like our house. But we don’t think it’s the neighborhood—or the home—we want to spend the next twenty years in.

And so we’d been thinking. But we hadn’t been looking.

Maybe one day I’ll tell you the story about how a strange and improbable series of events led us to come this close to making an offer on a house my great-grandmother owned 70 years ago (although honestly, it sounds like the stuff of fiction, yes?). We weren’t in the market when we stumbled upon the (her) amazing house for sale; I knew my great-grandmother had owned a house on the street but it took a while (plus confirmation from my mom) for me to realize we were considering the very house my own mother had had many a delightful childhood sleepover in.

Long story short: we didn’t buy it.

But the experience made us realize that yeah, we were ready to make a move, not now, but in the next year or so. So we regrouped. We made lists. We had late-night conversations on the couch, glasses of wine in hand. We talked to our realtor, and decided to take it slow. We would start checking out what came on the market, so we could figure out what we wanted, and what it would cost, and be really smart and deliberate and thorough about it.

Long story short: we bought the first house we looked at.

*****     *****     *****

We went to see it right after Christmas. On the way out the door that morning, I told the kids, Dad and I are going to look at a house this morning, but we’re not buying it. We’re investigating. We’re just checking things out.

But then I walked in the door for the first time, and went Oh. Will arrived a few minutes later, and went Huh.

No house is perfect, right? But this one felt awfully close to perfect for our family.

*****     *****     *****

The moving truck comes today.

The important things: we’re closer to the library, and to coffee. And to work and school, but priorities. (Also: I didn’t realize it till our second or third visit, but the house has actual, factual green gables. I can’t make this stuff up.)

I’m intimidated by the blank canvas of a new-to-us house (where does the sofa go? the silverware? the library books?) but I think I’m ready.

I’d love to hear your moving advice, tips for settling in, advice on where to put the glasses and silverware and library books. Tell me everything I need to know in comments?

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70 comments

  1. Ginger says:

    My advice: Hang the curtains first. Because here’s the thing. Eventually, you’re GONNA get around to unpacking that box. But curtains go a LONG way to make a place homey. And you don’t want to procrastinate even a couple weeks on something that can start to make that process start.

  2. Donna says:

    Congratulations Anne! I love this story because it has a great message about how life can surprise you but also about being bold, open-minded, going with your gut instinct and of course feeling a bit overwhelmed once a big decision is made. It will soon truly feel like ‘home’, probably as soon as you see your books on the shelves. Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Susan says:

    My advice for setting up your kitchen cabinets: open the dishwasher door and stand next to it. Put the dishes in the cabinets you can reach without walking anywhere and where you don’t have to close the dishwasher to access them!

    • Lisa Z says:

      I love this tip! I always organize based on where the dishwasher is, but I’ve never thought to actually open the door and put things where I can reach without closing the door. That said, we moved in December to a house that we love EXCEPT that the kitchen has too few cabinets and is really inefficient that way. I can’t stand at the open dishwasher and reach any cabinets that will hold plates, bowls, etc. A kitchen redo is tops on my wish list, but that’s a price we can’t do yet. (For now, we put the dishes on the counter above the dishwasher, close the dishwasher and then put them in the cabinet above that counter. It’s the “make do” approach, I guess.)

  4. karen says:

    Purge more as you unpack! Set up the “living area” and kitchen first. Be diligent but don’t expect yourself to get unpacked in a week!

  5. Kelsey says:

    Congratulations on your new home, Anne (literally) of Green Gables! I’m just barely out of grad school and still doing the whole “move-apartments-ever-single-year” game, so I have no moving advice for a family. But I’m looking forward to seeing your new digs!!

  6. Nadege says:

    Oooh, congratulations! I know privacy is important and all – but please you MUST, at the very least give us a small glimpse of the green gables.

  7. Michelle says:

    Congratulations! What a lovely post. You have used one of my favorite words before, and I think it applies here…Serendipity
    One of the hardest moves we ever made was five miles. There were a LOT of extenuating circumstances, but anyone who thinks a local move is easier is wrong. Give yourself the time, budget, and mental energy you would for any other long distance move. Packing up and moving is packing up and moving. It’s a big job so do not undermine yourself by thinking it’s less because of the distance.
    Other thoughts:
    – After the boxes are unpacked, take a family vacation (even if it’s a long weekend). Everyone is going to need it. We are very frugal, don’t vacation most years, but took a week off after our last move and never regretted it.
    – Wait for any improvements or renovations that aren’t absolutely necessary. Live in the house a bit. You may change ideas about what to do first, design, etc. (An exception would be refinishing hardwood floors, do this before your movers come!).
    – Go through your kitchen on the packing end. How many mugs do you need? How many casserole dishes do you really use? Have you upgraded small appliances (and therefore outdated a few you really don’t need). The space adds up! If you’re not sure about donating something, maybe you’ll use it again but don’t currently, pack it away in a ‘kitchen’ box that’s stored. It doesn’t take up precious cabinet space, but you can go hunt for something later. (Hint, label what’s in the box!). We ended up with nice things to send off to our kids first apartments this way…Pyrex dishes, hand mixer, etc).
    – Invest in nice wooden drawer organizers. Your new kitchen will feel custom, and you’ll be able to find things!
    – Where do the books go? Where do they NOT go? 😉 Look at a house based on how you live. If you don’t use a formal dining room, make it that amazing library you’ve always wanted! We never use a formal living room, so added glass French doors and it became my library.

    At the end of the day, as much of ourselves as we invest in a house, it is a roof over your head. Home is where family is, where you make memories.

    • Nicole says:

      I agree with taking some time away from the house after you move in.
      We just unpacked the bare minimum and left to see my grandfather for 5 days. When we arrived back home it felt less stressful and I wasn’t in the panic to get it all done at once. My perspective had changed to a proud homeowner with years to make it our own.

  8. Congratulations, Anne (of Green Gables)! How exciting. My husband and I have moved 4 times in our 5 1/2 years of marriage with 3 of those moves over state lines and we are about to move again. What works for me is to unpack all the boxes within the first week. I cannot stand having boxes stacked around so I put stuff away even if it won’t be its permanent home. I feel like I can relax faster if all the boxes are unpacked. Something I have not been good about but am going to try to do when we move this time is hanging pictures and wall decorations much faster. Those hanging decorations make the house/apartment feel more like home for me.

  9. Emily says:

    Put your bed together, or at least have your mattress in place, and MAKE it. You will thank yourself when it’s ready for you at the end of an exhausting moving/settling in day!:)

  10. Janet says:

    We were going to retire and we flew from California to Georgia to just look at houses and decide if Georgia was right for us. We’d lived there before when my husband was in the military, but didn’t know if we wanted to make it our retirement home. As you said, long story short, we didn’t buy the first one we looked at, but buy we did. Good luck in your new home.

  11. Jen says:

    Congratulations! What a great post and message!

    I like someone’s tip about unpacking kitchen items in close proximity to the dishwasher! I have my silverware in the drawer closest to my dining table, plates above that, and glasses next to the refrigerator.

    Best of luck and I look forward to pictures!

  12. Megan says:

    Congratulations, Anne! That’s wonderful! Here’s to many wonderful times in your house with green gables! 🙂
    I think giving yourself some time before deciding some things. Living in a space always helps give me perspective and realize the practical implications of certain space decisions (e.g., we really need a table here to set a drink down on while sitting).
    Best of luck! Hope to see and read more about your new place!

  13. MissKrys says:

    So many of these tips are great and wholeheartedly agree with making your bed / bedroom a priority – its wonderful to have a small sanctuary to retire to after the chaos that is moving.
    I found the best tip given to me applied more to the packing stage – a friend recommended that I pack a suitcase for a 3 day vacation – clothes, toiletries, charges, etc are all in one place and easily found without having to root through a bunch of different boxes to find the things you need at the end of a long day.
    Congratulations on your new home.

  14. Gail Wood says:

    I always pack a few “open this first” boxes which include bedsheets, pillows, toiletries, pajamas, pet supplies, and everything you need on the first night. Dishes, drinkware and stuff to eat. You will be very tired (and cranky) and you will want to fall into bed.

    I always make sure the bare bones of the kitchen and bathrooms are set up and the beds are made; the animals are inside/safe/fed. The rest can go as it goes. Of course you have children and a husband, so they can take care their own spaces. Even little ones can participate some. I moved around a lot as a kid, and then some as a mid-career adult.

  15. AngD says:

    I love this post – we are also in the middle of a move. Local is not easy as it can drag out. We have access to our new home so can “take our time”. Oyyyyy. But we are having some things done to our new home like painting and closets and I’m having vents cleaned before we move in. It’s an older home so it needs refreshing. I have also been trying to purge. I’ve loved reading the other advice and can’t wait to see what else everyone else posts. Even though this is probably my 10th move in 28 years of marriage it doesn’t get easier. We always seem to accumulate more stuff.

  16. Janet Miles says:

    Congrats! I, too, want to see the Green Gables! When we moved to this house 20 years ago I was 5+ months pregnant and we moved in one weekend. I do NOT recommend that. We also did not take any time off from work during that time and I don’t recommend that either. I do recommend making it fun. Don’t stress too much about getting everything perfect the first time. Good luck!

  17. Jená says:

    Congratulations and welcome home! Here’s an unusual silverware solution: consider placing attractive drawer-organizer bins/boxes on an open shelf instead of in a drawer. When we were in a temporary kitchen set-up during our current remodel, the flatware bins ended up on a shelf, easy to get to no matter how many people were milling about and working in the kitchen, and I was amazed at how much “friction” this eliminated. In all my other kitchens, the silverware drawer was inevitably at a workstation, meaning that if more than one person was working, someone always had to move out of the way if someone else needed some flatware. I don’t know why this hadn’t occurred to me before, but now I’ve designated a flatware shelf in the brand-new kitchen.

  18. Oh, I have a lot of thoughts about moving… since we just did it over the summer. Bought the third house we looked at, not in our neighborhood or school district. No front porch but an incredible back deck. I just painted the front door green. And we haven’t felt settled yet… sometimes I think we never will. But at the same time I know this is where we were meant to land, at least for now. Everyone told me to take it slow and I didn’t–so after about a month, when I was so run down, I hated this house and this move, I stopped. And let everything fall where it may. And slowly, slowly, over the last six months I’ve been able to figure out what should go where, and what we still need, and which color to paint the kitchen. And I’ve been getting to know myself better, and that has made all the difference.
    https://lindseypbrackett.com/2016/07/26/what-happens-when-you-move-10-miles-down-the-road-and-everything-changes/

  19. Kathleen says:

    I’m not sure how old your children are, but have someone other than you or your husband be in charge of them during the busiest parts of the move. My younger son had an accident and could have died when we were packing up our house. Both of us thought the other one was keeping an eye on him.

  20. Nancy Giammaria says:

    Place cleaning supplies and paper towels in a tote in your car on move day so they are readily accessible. Have paper plates, solo cups and garbage bags ready too because take out is much easier the first few days and you may want to feed family and friends that help with the move.

  21. Ellen Cole says:

    We have moved several times as well, and there’s a lot of wisdom in the comments so far. Make beds first! You’ll need a cozy place to collapse after a long day of moving! I think not rushing into anything else is good advice. Just do the basics that will allow you to live comfortably. Clothing in closets/drawers, toiletries in the bathrooms, etc. Otherwise get the feel of the house before you commit to placing everything. For example, hanging that _______ on that wall may seem perfect today, but what happens when you end up moving that piece of furniture a few days from now (because you now realize that the flow of the room improves with moving it) and it now blocks the wall decor? Take your time while you and your new home get to know each other. Resist the temptation to get everything settled and you will avoid doing things numerous times. Good luck in your new home!

  22. Heather says:

    13 houses in 12 1/2 years of marriage, and we just accepted a counteroffer on a house this morning — your post could not have been more perfect or timely since we weren’t expecting to buy until the summer! 🙂

    We leave all of the boxes in the garage and put the furniture in the house immediately. We usually end up having to move a few pieces of furniture over the next day or two until we feel like it’s right, so at least it’s easy to do that without navigating around all of the boxes. We unpack a box at a time and put everything in its “place”, and most of the mess stays in the garage. It’s tempting to having all the kitchen boxes in the kitchen, bedroom boxes in the bedroom, etc., but we’re always happier when we do it this way.

    Good luck!

  23. Jen says:

    What perfect timing! We’re moving in four days, so all the advice in the comments is appreciated!
    Congrats on your move Anne! Can’t wait to see any glimpses you share of the new place!

  24. Tara says:

    BIG CONGRATS! What an exciting new adventure!

    I have a tendency to become paralyzed at the thought of having to plan where everything will go (I’m a perfectionist, by nature, so it’s hard to imagine not doing it “right” the first time); the last time my husband and I moved, I decided to TRY to let that go. Things were moved in, I placed them in the general area that I assumed I’d like for them to be, and then, after all of the boxes were unpacked (mostly) and I could find the basics, I began to really explore and think and get a feel for the way I would move around in our new home. It took a little longer to get settled, but now I really like where things are and, thankfully, I gave myself permission to change my mind after the fact instead of being stuck in this all-or-nothing mentality.

    I hope things go well for you; it sounds like a wonderful place to call home!

  25. Congratulations! My husband and I unexpectedly began house hunting last summer and ended up buying the first house we looked at too! It’s nerve wracking, but so exciting. Looking forward to hearing more about your new house!

  26. Congrats on the new house!
    We’ve moved many, many times– first apartments, then buying homes, now renting homes as we’re older and becoming empty-nesters this year — 5 states in my life, some states multiple moves in them (!) However, I can’t give you much advice because every family is different, and we aren’t a great example on how to do it. I agree with the story on the purse. If you stumble upon a great choice in whatever it is, from purse to house, grab it! I believe in serendipity!

    But… get the beds set up first so you can get a good night’s sleep– you’ll need it– and everything else can wait until morning… unless you make coffee at home, then the coffee maker and cups too. Yes, and curtains or blinds at least as someone mentioned.

    Also, take your time unpacking boxes. It’s frustrating to see them still lingering after a certain time, but I’ve had moves where we shoved boxes in the corner of the garage or closets, and somehow they never got unpacked. I even have on occasion had to replace items I couldn’t find. So… take your time and do it right the first time. The couch can always be moved around later, but where you place your kitchen items, for example, will probably stay put, so choose wisely. My books went wherever I wanted them– bookshelves, side tables, closets, all over. But now to expedite moving and space, I sadly rely 90% or so on my Kindle instead and donated most of my print books. Good luck!

  27. Jess says:

    Congratulations! Your words and winsome life hacks are always so inspiring and relatable. I am feeling stuck in several parts of life and today this fresh perspective is the inspiration I needed!

  28. Mary says:

    I have a hard time shopping unless I’m absolutely in love with an item I usually don’t buy right away. I walk away, leave the store, and think about the purchase. If I can’t live without it, I will go back to buy it. I’ve missed out on a lot of great deals because of my indecisive nature, and it looks like I’m not the only one. I can’t believe you almost purchased your great Grandmothers house! Good luck on the move, my moving tip is to label boxes, even boxes that don’t need to be labeled.

    • Katy Reeve says:

      My family moved over a year ago from a bustling city in England to a quiet country village and we couldn’t be happier. I found the move itself ok – lots of clearing out, labelling and happy memories. However it was the after move that took me by surprise, so much so that I had to write about it in a blog. I discovered that making sure you keep your family routines going and work out what it really important for each member of the family before you move kept us happy.

  29. Leslie Dupont says:

    Hi Anne, I envy you buying a home and it being the perfect one! My husband is active duty military so we have move around quite a bit. We leave our current home this summer, destination unknown. Hopefully, we’ll be finding out soon. We rent the home we live in now and our next duty station is the last. Moving is a hassle, but even our rental homes are a canvas to make into ours. We hope to be on the buying market in about 3-4 years to settle down permanently. Because we’re such frequent movers, it makes cleaning out all the unnecessary things pretty easy every few years. While moving, get rid of the things you no longer use. Donate them, have a garage sale or whatever you choose. You feel a little lighter knowing you’re not going into the next home with quite as much stuff! Good luck on your move and have fun making your new home yours!

    • Tracy G says:

      We were in the same boat for 29 years! 14 moves 🙂 My husband has been retired for seven years now, but old habits are hard to break. I still “purge” every spring🙂AND…we are still moving with his civilian position. Our kids are all grown, but grateful for what they got to experience as children.

  30. AMY REASONER says:

    We moved into a new house last Monday, and I’ve already moved the silverware once since unpacking it. So I have no tips.
    I realized, actually, as I was packing up my last house, that this was my first real adult move. My husband already owned a house when we got married, right after I graduated from college, so I just moved my clothes and a few dishes from my parents’ house to his house. And then we stayed there for nine years.
    So I have no advice. Best of luck to you!

  31. Sally says:

    I don’t have time to read all of the comments so I might be repeating advice already given. Coming from someone that has moved a bunch 6 times with 4 kids in the last 17 years, I made it a priority to get the kids life as close to normal as soon as possible. Whether that is setting up the play room, their bedroom or the place where everyone hangs out at the end of the day, just have a space for them without any boxes and where they can come to escape the unpacking. Also homes for things are not permanent. In one house the glasses might have been to the right of the sink but maybe in the new house it makes sense to store them closer to the dish washer to the left of the sink (true story: my husband was perplexed after our last move when I did this exact thing. He thought the glasses would always be to the right of the sink because that’s where they always had been in every other house. He just didn’t realize that in every other house it made it easier to have them there…now not ao much. In fact it would be really inconvenient.) Just be flexible and willing to change things till you find a happy place for everything

    • MissAndi says:

      Your glasses story is so funny. I similarly confounded my husband moves ago. To the left of the sink (where our glasses had resided every other time) was a wall. He came in the kitchen to get a glass of water and stood at the sink for some time before he finally asked where I put the glasses. It was pretty funny. Oh…. moving. 🙂

  32. MissAndi says:

    Congratulations!
    I so look forward to the day we move somewhere and put down roots. I’ve moved 22 times in my life (I’m 41). Most of those were across state lines but many were actually country to country. My husband of 11 years and I have moved 9 times to 3 different continents and 5 countries. It’s, um, a lot of moving… 🙂
    You’ve received some great advice here. I think my biggest piece of advice is to take a few deep breaths. Not everything has to be put away at once. I usually get the kitchen and bedrooms situated and then the bathrooms — all functional areas where people need to find things quickly. The one time I put things in random places in the kitchen promising myself it was “just to get it out of the way”, ended in disaster. I finally got around to rearranging the kitchen only to discover that every time I tried to find a particular pot, I had to visit several cabinets because my body was already conditioned to find the pot in the first spot. I always put my glasses next to my fridge or my sink and my dishes close to my dishwasher. That’s my motto.
    Then bedrooms — getting my kiddo set up is usually a pretty high priority. He doesn’t do well with change (poor kid!), and so we work hard to get his things put up. He helps now that he’s a little older and that’s a huge bonus for both him and us. It also gives him ownership. So, while I deal with the kitchen, my husband usually assists our son getting things put away.
    Once I’ve got kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms done (by that, I mean sleepable and sock-findable), I move onto our living areas. I usually go slow with these areas because I really want to live in a place for a bit before I start putting pictures on the wall. I want to get a feel for flow.
    I also put a box in the living room of “lost articles”. This is for items that got packed randomly and are necessary (TV remote, etc.), but the matching item is not yet out and set up.
    I also put a carry-on sized roller bag in the living room. This, I use for all the important papers that are coming in like cable guy paperwork, mail that’s being delivered, mover’s paperwork, etc. It’s bigger and bulkier than a collapsible folder, and everyone in my family knows exactly what it is. It’s a place to corral important paperwork that I don’t have a good place for yet. After about a week to two weeks, I’m generally unpacked enough to know where these items should live permanently.
    But really, I think the best piece of advice I ever received was, “Moving is horrible. But eventually it ends. Not everything must be done right away.”
    The other piece of advice I got which I really like is that if a box isn’t opened in a year, there’s a fairly decent chance you don’t need what’s in it. I put these boxes in my car and drive to Goodwill unopened. At Goodwill, I open the boxes and start tossing things into their bins one item at a time. I usually find one thing I’d been looking for (it’s usually a lost lid to a pot for some reason), but otherwise, everything goes to the charity to find a better home. If I unpack it at home, I end up trying to find a place for things I don’t need and don’t use. If I’m already at Goodwill, I tend to purge more things.
    Good luck and enjoy your new home!!

    • Sabrina says:

      Love the advice to take the boxes to Goodwill and then go through them! I’ve read of folks who took the first part of the advice and donated or tossed unopened boxes after a couple of moves only to realize later that they held important papers. But checking them at Goodwill? That’s great.

  33. Jeanine says:

    Good luck with your move! Hopefully, by the time you read this, you will have had a chance to relax in your tub, glass of wine in hand, and reflect back on a long day. I know you’ll need it! We just moved a few months ago so I have lots of advice:) Put the silverware as close to the table as possible. Put the glassware as close to the refrigerator as possible. Put the books as close to the places you read as possible. For me, that means that some books are in the family room and some are in my bedroom. I also keep a basket on top of my washing machine to store my library books (all except the one I’m reading), so I know where they are. You probably already know this, but the best organizational idea I’ve ever tried is hanging clear shoe bags on the inside of closet doors for things like gloves, hats, scarves, extension cords, batteries, etc. Also, if possible, store kitchen items that you don’t use often in a shallow cabinet/closet with shelves so that you can just open the doors and see everything. Keep these items nearby, but preferably not in the kitchen, so that you have only what you use on an almost daily basis where you need it. In other words, keep it simple so that you can find what you need daily and cut down on frustration. Hope you enjoy your new home!

  34. Jess says:

    My husband and I got married 4.5 years ago. Since then we have moved 6 times. I’m an organizer. I need everything in it’s place almost ASAP in order to be able to think straight. I hate having moving boxes just sitting around full of my stuff. So, I just start unpacking and placing things where it makes the most sense for the time being. But that doesn’t mean it has to stay there. In our newest home, I think I moved the living around three times before I was really satisfied (even though that also meant taking all the books off the bookshelf several times too). It’s a lot of work, more than some might deem necessary, but that just suites me better than leaving everything in boxes until I’ve settled the furniture 🙂

  35. Odette says:

    Great post. I have a story concerning not buying something on first look. When my husband and I were about to get engaged, I looked at engagement rings and told him which one was singing to me. He went to buy it, and it was GONE! So he picked out another and gave it to me around Christmas. When we went back to school in January, I learned that my roommate had also gotten engaged. WITH MY RING!!! Unfortunately, she got divorced about 5 years later, and my husband and I have been married for almost 41 years. Good/bad luck? Who knows!

  36. Holli Petersen says:

    I love your thoughts, Anne. We went through something similar.

    I’m majorly indecisive, especially about big purchases. A few years ago, our family of 5 was living in 800 sq. feet. It was AWFUL! We were house-hunting, but I just couldn’t commit. After a year of looking at houses, I thought we found our perfect home. It was beautiful, great neighborhood, had all our needs and many of our wants. It even HAD A LIBRARY with a FIREPLACE! I kid you not. It felt meant to be. Each time we toured the home, I would sit in the library and just dream of how amazing this home would be for our family (and my many books!)

    We started the process of buying the home, but… long story short… we made it to the inspections and realized it was a mistake. It looked great, but it wasn’t built great. The cost to get it up to code just wasn’t worth it. It hurt to walk away from that house, but it helped shape our priorities in an important way. After the heartbreak of that house, we agreed to look at a house we’d previously said we wouldn’t like (before seeing it). It was perfect and we LOVE living here. There isn’t a library, but some built-in bookcases in the living room suffice for now.

    My experience reminded me of what you went through. Sometimes we need to go through certain experiences before we have the clarity to make the right decision. 🙂

  37. Mary in Tennessee says:

    Best piece of moving advice I got in Chicago more than 25 years ago-
    Assemble everyone’s beds immediately. And having packed the sheets, comforter, pillows, in a clearly labeled box or in a bag in your car, make up the beds immediately.
    Even if you end up moving the bed to a different location in the room, this will begin to make the house feel like yours. And when it’s time to collapse in the bed at the end of the day, it will be ready

  38. Allison says:

    We impulse-bought a house seven months ago! Totally not in my or my husband’s nature, but it’s turned out great, and the stars happened to align just right so it could happen. We had moved to a neighborhood we love just a couple of years ago, but the house itself wasn’t working out great for our family. We weren’t actively looking for a home, but I occasionally like to peruse listings and came across a house just a few blocks away that looked perfect.

    We went to the open house, had two days to decide and put in an offer, and it was accepted a day after that. The market was crazy and there were seven other offers–fortunately, this meant that our house also went very fast. We basically found a house, sold ours, and moved within 6 weeks–without really planning to. It was crazy and stressful, but several times a week we look around and say how much we adore our new house, so luckily this impulse buy happened to work out–though I don’t really recommend our approach. I hope to never move again 🙂

    Sounds like you’re past the packing stage already, but I recommend labeling all boxes with bright labels (on the top and at least one side of the box–easy to see when you’re carrying it or if it’s stacked in a pile). Include the room where the box goes and a brief list of what’s in it. The list doesn’t have to include everything, but definitely list anything you could see yourself searching for in the coming days or weeks. It also helps with prioritizing what needs to be unpacked now and what can wait.

    If you can, map out (either mentally or write down) where all kitchen items will go before moving anything in. It’s one of the first rooms to set up, after the kids’ rooms, but the last room I ever want to rearrange.

    Keep toothbrushes, PJs, favorite pillows/stuffed animals, etc., handy, for when everyone collapses into bed that first night. 🙂 Happy moving!

  39. Amy says:

    It’s probably too late for this bit of advice: don’t throw anything away (or sell it in a yard sale, etc) until you’re settled in the new house and are *sure* you don’t need it there. I made the mistake of “consolidating” before my last move – got rid of all kinds of things I didn’t think I’d need in the new house, because I hadn’t used it in the old house, and I didn’t want to pack it or move it, blah, blah, blah. Turns out I could have used some of that stuff I got rid of, and the other stuff could have gone to the Goodwill here instead of the Goodwill there. Better to pack it and move it than to have to go buy it again.

  40. Leyla says:

    I don’t think I have wise things to say about moving, all I wanted to tell you was share pictures with us. But perhaps the one thing I could tell you is that moving is a chance to pack light, to get rid of the clutter; take what is essential.

  41. Shar says:

    We are military and move every 2 to 3 years (and twice after 3 months each). Best advice I can offer is to set your beds up first! Then at the end of the day when you are exhausted, you aren’t scrounging for a screw driver and trying to put beds together. Wish I was there to help, I am great at unpacking. We own a lot and I still have the house totally unpacked in 24 hours.

  42. Christine says:

    Hi Anne of Green Gables,
    I had a similar experience in that the house I was in before was fine, but the neighborhood had gotten a little iffy. I talked my realtor about just looking around to see what was out there in my price range, and after a few trials and tribulations, I finally ended up in what I hope is my forever home, and I could not be happier. A lot has happened since I moved in (needed a new heater, two trees had to be taken down and one just came down on its own, and water under the house), but I am in love with my house!
    The best advice I can give is to get the kitchen and then the kids settled first. After that, depending on the amount of time you have, just tackle a room at a time. Sometimes you have to live in the house for a little bit, even if it’s all in boxes, to understand it. You need to see it in all the different lights and all different times of day. And, as many others have said, don’t be afraid to change things around if you don’t like things where you initially put them. I’m still rearranging! Kids can be a great help too, depending on their ages of course.
    Most importantly, have fun! It seems like a hassle in the beginning, but as you explore your new neighborhood and meet new people (and go to the library!) you realize just how lucky you are. Embrace that!

  43. Katie says:

    Anne, congratulations on making the move, I am sure that you are all going to love the new place. If you read this in time– here is my advice. Clearly mark the box with the bedding when you pack them. Whatever you need for the first morning in the new house- write on the box– Open Me First! Each time we move, this saves me. I learned the hard way that sending children to sleep in sleeping bags in a new home is not the best thing when they are a little anxious about a new house. It does add to the sense of adventure, but it made for a long night that planning could have prevented. Enjoy! I have loved every home that was close to the library, school, work and most importantly coffee!

  44. Theresa says:

    How exciting. Moving is always a new adventure and it is funner if you look at it as an adventure. Unpacking always takes some time, so don’t get frustrated when a few weeks out, no a few months out, you haven’t yet decided where everything goes. It can be a brain taxing process trying to unpack everything. So just be patient and give yourself time to figure it all out. Have fun!

  45. Kelty says:

    What a great story! Congrats y’all! I have no advice as we are terrible at moving and hope not to do it again ever…well, at least not for a while, Lord willing. Hope y’all settle in quickly and thoroughly enjoy your green gables!! (how cool is that?!)

  46. Teresa says:

    We moved out of state about 18 months ago. My husband and I had a saying for all the “stuff” we just weren’t sure we wanted to move. “Thank it for it’s service and take it to the curb.” We were brutal, but it was so worth it. Thank goodness for The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. 😊

  47. Katherine says:

    My moving/unpacking advice is kind of counterintuitive, but don’t hang pictures right away. You’ll start out with furniture and a layout you think you want, but chances are you’ll rearrange at least once, and it’s a lot easier to do that without having to move all the decorative things too. Plus, you know, patching nail holes.

  48. Jaime says:

    One of the best moving tips I’ve gotten is to take the time to cook a favorite meal in the midst of the chaos. Even if it’s eaten on paper plates with disposable utensils, there is something about this partaking that makes the house seem much cozier and more familiar. Congrats on the new house!

  49. Kim says:

    How exciting…. the picture looks like your new neighborhood is sooo very inviting! We’ve thought about moving many times in the last couple of years but out neighborhood is what keeps here where we’ve lived for nearly 39 years!!! Our kids are now grown & we certainly could use more space when everyone is home. However after looking around we never quite have found the right new place! I feel the right place will eventually come along!!! Your story makes me feel so good…. when you find the right place… you just know!!! Thanks Anne!

  50. Miss Mary says:

    I’m so jealous! For the last two years I have felt the desire to find some place new, but all of our searching hasn’t worked out yet. Sometimes I think I’m being too picky, but then I hear someone else talk about how they fell in love with their home and it gives me hope. That’s how I felt about our current house. And it has been perfect. But our family has grown larger and I feel like it’s time for a new adventure!

  51. MelissaJoy says:

    Congratulations on your move! My advice is to remember yourself as a previous house dweller. Meaning: your natural rhythms and habits will resurface eventually. You’re not completely restarting. It may seem like it but it’s really just a happy disruption of all of your earthly possessions. It can definitely be intimidating to figure out which cupboards to stow your plates and glasses. This last move of ours I spent a few hours making pretty with our dishes and glasses. I even did a photo shoot to remind me of the progress. It was really soul nourishing and helped me chill out for the rest of the organizing phase of the move in. Remember…it’s phases, never really final 😊 Enjoy!

  52. Patricia says:

    We lived very happily in our house for 32 years (we moved in the same month we got married). We just moved out last month. We moved in with almost nothing, one truck, two friends and one hired college student. After 32 years of spreading out into every nook and cranny in a two story brick English Tudor with full basement we hired a moving company and it took a professional crew three full days to pack, move and unpack.
    We downsized before we moved. I was downsizing leisurely at first because I had several years. Thensuddenlymyhusbandneededtomove. Now. But one week after we moved, everything was pretty much in place and pictures on the wall and bookshelves filled with books and it’s home now.
    But the first day unpacking all my clothes. And more bins of clothes kept getting delivered into my closet. And more bins. At one point I crawled out and said if it weren’t winter. I’d seriously consider becoming a nudist. And that’s after seven trips to consignment and three trips to vintage shops and multiple bags to cousins and sister and friends. I wear the same clothes all the time. How can I have so many of them?
    Downsize. Downsize. And downsize a bunch more.

  53. BVaeth says:

    We moved (in our 60s) from a small home to an old farmhouse on 3 acres. Best move we ever made. But before we moved, a friend said, “Paint before you move in”. We did hire someone to do it, but boy was that good advice! If you move first, then everything has to be moved around/covered in each room as you paint it. It’s a bit like moving twice 🙂 We moved into fresh rooms and just had to unpack and enjoy them.

  54. Maureen Benke says:

    Ohhhhhhhh……..YOU are Anne of Green Gables! How FUN is that?
    Congratulations! I was a military brat and a military wife. Many MOVES in my life.
    I became a nomad in this process. I love a good move and reset. Embracing the process and knowing perfection is NOT a goal will help. Organic life goes on within the process of a move; so, take it one day at a time and try to make it a fun experience for your family. You may need a pizza night here and there as well. My mother, also a military wife, always said to first, get the beds set up and fresh sheets put on for sleeping and secondly, to set the kitchen. All else could happen over time. This advice has worked well for me. I would add that once a week during the weeks before and after the move that you should exercise every day even if it is just a walk around the block. Also, drink water and set a massage appt. for the week before, during and after that move.
    If MAMA ain’t happy…noone else will be either.
    Also, addressing you as Anne of Green Gables, find a MARILLA in your life to share your woes.
    Best – Hang in there – It will ALL be just fine!

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