There’s always a little sadness when you’re leaving a home that holds years of happy memories. The memories travel with you but not that comfortable, happy home feeling. That takes time to create. Meanwhile, the first few weeks in a new house can feel strange and awkward, almost like you’ve moved into someone else’s space. Fortunately, there are some tactics that can help everyone feel just a little more comfortable about settling into a strange, new place. Try out these tips while you’re unpacking boxes and getting the furniture arranged just right.


The kids

Children often have the hardest time getting used to a new home. After all, they’ve left behind friends, familiar surroundings and the only home they’ve ever known. Make things a little easier by getting them settled in first. That means unpacking their bedrooms and locating favorite toys, stuffed animals and collections. The idea is to make their new room as much like their old room as possible and as quickly as possible.

Duplicate your routine

One of the best ways to get everyone feeling at home is to maintain your family’s routine. If dinner’s at 6 and homework time is 7 to 8:30 every night, keep it that way. And don’t change family movie or game night, especially when you’ve first moved in, when familiar scenes and activities are most needed. A routine also means little things, like where you hang your coat or put the car keys when you get home. Try to keep everything just the way they were in your previous home.

Organized unpacking

Everyone wants to get the job of unpacking done as quickly as they can. It can be an arduous, time-consuming task if you’re not organized. Try taking it one room at a time beginning with furniture, then working down to smaller items. If you’ve made an inventory of everything beforehand, use it as a checklist while unpacking.

Curtain call

Curtains and drapes are much more than an element of your home’s decor. They’re a great way to bring life to your new home. Depending on where you hang them, they can be used to make a room look larger, function as a faux bed canopy or used as room dividers. They can even be used to help hide storage space. Decorative drapes add texture, warmth, color to each of your rooms.

Unpack your must-haves

Set up your favorite things right away, those items that make a house a home. Set up your iPod speakers and play your favorite music while relaxing in the hot tub or bath. Light your favorite scented candles. If cooking is your thing, don’t wait to get the pots, pans and cooking equipment out. Nothing says home like the smells of cooking. Whatever you love to do, do it and make yourself at home.

Out and about

Avoid the inclination to stay cooped up inside until everything’s unpacked and where it belongs. Go for a walk around the neighborhood and meet some of your new neighbors. Get used to the new surroundings and get some fresh air. Taking a break now and then by getting away for a while will help take the edge off while you’re getting settled.

Find your groove

Everyone has their favorite restaurant, bookstore, park, dry cleaner, coffee shop or places they like going on a regular basis. Take some time to get to know your new area. Find out who makes the best latte, what restaurant has the best takeout and which park has the best facilities if you have a dog. If you attend church on a regular basis, spend some time finding a nearby church that meets your expectations and needs.

It takes time to transition to a new home. It’s a process that’s part physical, part mental and part emotional. Don’t be disappointed if it takes a while to get used to the idea. In the meantime, keep everything as familiar and comfortable as you can.

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