Moving house is a significant upheaval. It’s often featured on lists of the most stressful things that we will ever do. One of the worst things about it is how long it all takes. Moving day itself is a big physical and mental strain, as well as a ridiculously long day. But, that’s not all of it. The stress starts as soon as we decide to move. We have to look at houses, figure out what we can afford to rent or to buy, find mortgages and deal with all of the legal steps. We have to pack, to let everyone know about our change of address and set up new utility contracts. You might even have to find a new job or schools for your children, or at least figure out your new commute.
It’s sometimes months, or even longer between viewing the house that we’d like to buy and moving in. As searches and surveys tend to take a lot longer than we’d like and issues with chains crop up. During this time, the thought of moving day and of your new home keeps you going. When you are wearing yourself out packing, and every spare second is going in to preparing for your move and packing up all of your worldly goods, the idea of that first night in your new house is what drives you forward.
But, unfortunately, that’s not where it ends. When we move into a new house, it can take months to feel settled. Boxes surround you, nothing is where you want it, you can’t find things that you need, and you’ve got no idea where the gas meter is. It might smell funny, especially if it’s been empty for a while, the decor won’t suit your tastes and you might find that as excited as you’ve been, you feel stressed out and unable to relax.
During this time, you might find that your mood is affected. That you can’t sleep, and that your children’s behaviour changes. Whether your new house is brand new and looks the same as every other house on the street, or it’s older and still filled with someone else’s tastes, it can be hard to settle and relax when your new house doesn’t feel like your home. When it still feels like someone else’s house, or just not yours. You can feel as though you are staying with someone else, and you might find it hard to be yourself.
You might find that you are able to settle much faster if you make the house feel more like your home. You might not have the time, or budget to decorate or take on big DIY tasks as soon as you move it, especially if it’s been a tough move or a big upgrade. But, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing that you can do to turn this strange house into your home and help you and your family settle down.
Find the Right House and Do What You Can for a Stress-Free Move
During this uncertain time, it’s easy to start having doubts and second thoughts. You might find that you are unsure of yourself or that you start to wonder if you’ve made the right decision. A stressful move makes this even worse, and if it drags on, you might find that you can’t even remember when this house that you are spending lots of money on looks like.
The best thing that you can do here is to start on the right foot. Take the time to find the right house. If you need a 4 bedroom house for sale, look for one. Write a list of things that you need, and things that you’d like but are willing to compromise on and view as many houses as you need to until you find the one. Don’t rush such an important decision. When you find a home you like, view it again and take some photographs and measurements so that you can start to plan before you move.
Then, take your time with the move too. Organise your packing and your finances, keep on top of things and do it slowly. Get help where you need it and aim for a stress-free move.
Take Your Time Unpacking
It might seem as though the best way to settle down is unpacking. But, rushing your unpacking can actually make things worse. You’ll put everything in the first place it fits and stress yourself out when you are already tired and achy.
Then, you’ll always feel as though things are wrong. Your kitchen cupboards won’t be how you want them, and nothing will feel as though it flows naturally. Instead, take your time. Unpack the essentials that you need for everyday life but take your time with everything else, so that you get things how you want them in the first place.
Have a Good First Night
Your first night in your new home sets the tone for the next few weeks. If you are tired, unhappy and grumpy, you might blame the house, and if you try to do too much, you’ll only get upset.
Plan for the first night to be relaxing, and a celebration of everything that you have achieved. Pack a separate first night box, with pj’s, toothbrushes, medication and anything else that you might need so that you don’t have to try to find anything that you desperately need. Then, treat yourself to a takeaway and a bottle of wine. If your TV is set up, watch a film or your favourite TV show and just let yourself rest.
Add Some Personal Touches
It’s often the personal touches, more than the big DIY projects, that turn houses into homes. It might seem as though unpacking your boxes or painting your walls should be a priority, but while these jobs are essential long-term, sometimes it’s the little things that improve your mood that matter the most. Prioritise putting up family photographs and keepsakes, or your favourite accessories.
If putting your rug down, adding your photos to the walls and buying some fresh flowers makes you feel better, and more at home, then that is what you should do.
Change the Smell
A house that’s been empty for a while might smell musty and stale. A new house might be filled with plaster dust and the scent of paint. A recently vacated home might still smell like the previous owner. You’ve probably noticed that all houses have a specific smell, one that you identify with their owners. You’ll never settle in a home that doesn’t smell like you.
So, open the windows and let some fresh air in. Light some scented candles or add your favourite air fresheners. Cooking, washing and other day to day tasks will over time give a home your smell, but giving it a helping hand to get there faster won’t hurt.
Don’t Change Your Bedding
Do you ever find it hard to sleep on your first night in a hotel? Or at a friends house? Part of this is the strange atmosphere and the feeling of the bed. But, it’s also to do with the bedding, how it feels and smells. You might want to use clean bedding on your first night in a new house, but keeping the old on for a few days can help you to settle and sleep.
Playing music, or having the TV on in the background even when you are working or unpacking can make a house feel more comfortable and familiar. Quietness is often the enemy to homeliness.