My family is moving tomorrow (!!!), and when we started making firm plans I reached out to Jenn at A Simple Haven for advice. For better or worse, Jenn’s a pro: she’s moved approximately twenty times more than I have, and her tips made me feel so much better I asked her to share them here on the blog. Please join me in welcoming her, and go grab her free guide Loving and Sharing the Home You Have when you’re finished here.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American will move 11.7 times in their lifetime. So unless you’ve already met your quota, chances are you’ve got one coming.
I logged eleven moves in my first eight years of marriage and nine before I turned 18. I’m not sure if that qualifies me for an award or counseling services.
Be assured I’ve taken advantage of the latter.
Mild PTSD aside, all of this uprooting and replanting has taught me a slew of life lessons: that leaving a place with deep sadness is ok—even good.
That with some paint, sprucing up, and dinner guests, almost any new house can feel like home.
That “blooming where you’re planted” requires real work but yields the very best of gifts.
So the next time you find yourself amidst piles of boxes—or getting settled in a place that still doesn’t feel quite like home—here are my best tips on leaving, settling in, and planting roots.
Our beloved Dallas home that we remodeled then lived in for a whopping ten months.
From what I hear, moving is the third most stressful life event after death and divorce.
Make it easier on yourself and ask for help. Invite a friend over for coffee and packing kitchen stuff. In a crazy-busy season of life, it’ll be an easy way to hang out and check off some to-dos.
Going away party three of four. It was a good one.
Have a party.
A party is never a bad idea. But the going-away kind is super practical: it gives you an opportunity to say goodbyes and anything else that needs saying.
In my experience, the best goodbye parties are full of laughter, encouragement, and even prayers. There’s nothing better than being sent off with the love and support of friends and family.
When my walls are covered, it feels like home.
Plan to grieve.
Even if you’re not going far, moving can be seriously hard.
I tend to experience emotions pretty intensely (the whole HSP thing), so my grief used to freak me out a little. Was I going to feel this sad forever?
Experience has taught me: no.
But I have to let myself feel all. the. feelings. if I’m going to get through a hard season in a healthy way.
And that grief? It’s probably a sign that I’m leaving behind deep relationships and a rich life.
On Settling In
Cover those walls: with pictures, paint, whatever. The sooner you personalize your space, the sooner it will feel like home.
Balance getting it done with getting it done well.
Nothing says “settled” like conquering that mountain of boxes. And yet it may take time to find a workable place for everything.
So I tend to unpack like the wind, putting obvious stuff in its new home right away—while chucking the “who knows what to do with this?” stuff in a pile.
The pile then goes in the basement or garage. The rest of the house is in order and I can go through the randoms as time allows.
Thanksgiving dinner in one of our many apartments.
Invite people in.
Fill your home with guests as soon as possible. While it’d be wonderful if everyone extended invitations to the new kid in town, such is not always the case.
If you meet someone you connect with, take the initiative and invite them over for coffee, a play-date, or dinner. (And while you’re at it, use your fancy stuff.) A house (apartment, etc.) feels much more like a home when it’s full of friends-to-be.
Embrace your new home.
Even before it feels like home, act like it’s home. Get a return address stamp with your new address. Plant some flowers or a garden.
Unless you know for a fact you’ll be moving in less than a year, do permanent-feeling things.
On Planting Roots
Put yourself “out there.”
This may simply mean introducing yourself to neighbors or other parents at your kids’ school. Or it could mean attending one of those awkward speed-dating-like-church-small-group-finding functions.
But if relationships are what make a place feel like home, the effort (and awkwardness) is worth it.
Those friends you left behind? Call them. Email. Facebook.
It may be awhile before you feel loved and known in your new town. In the meantime, an old friendship can be a real comfort.
Give yourself grace.
Remember: moving is hard. Don’t expect to feel settled or to stop feeling weepy right away. Give yourself time and space to adjust.
Your new home isn’t perfect. But it can be good.
Please share your best moving tips in comments. Goodness knows I need all the help I can get! And thank you.
Jenn is the mommy of two small children + one obese cat and wife to The Hubs. She enjoys making pretty things out of random bits, filling her home with guests, and elevenses. She is not afraid to lead a one-woman crusade against the rampant misuse of the apostrophe. Find her blogging at A Simple Haven, and grab her free guide Loving and Sharing the Home You Have right here.