After the movers have gone, the boxes are unpacked, and you’ve crossed off the items on your safety and security checklist, you may feel an unexpected trepidation. How long, you might wonder, before this new house or apartment feels like a home?
Try not to worry. Settling into a new home takes time, and you can only move through the process so fast. There are some easy, fun activities you can do to help accelerate the transition:
1. Send a “new address” card
When you move, it’s customary to share your new address with everyone important to you. These days, it’s easy enough to send a mass email to your network of family and friends, but why not go old-school and send it through the postal system? It’s easy enough with services like Shutterfly and Snapfish to take a photo from your virtual house tour and turn it into a postcard.
2. Give a virtual house tour
During and after your move, take lots of photos so that later you can give a virtual house tour on social media. Showing off your new house or apartment is a great start to making it feel like it’s your home. Plus, it’s an incentive to finish unpacking, organizing your stuff, and decorating. After all, you want your new home to look good in those photos.
3. Throw a casual get-together
It’s not just that you’ve moved to a new place. It’s that you’ve joined a new community, and few activities will make you feel more at home than getting to know the people who live around you. Throwing a party is a great excuse to knock on your neighbors’ doors and introduce yourself.
If hosting a party and knocking on people’s doors isn’t your speed, consider reaching out to those who live immediately adjacent to your new home. Even if you don’t become the best of friends, they’re people you’ll probably interact with the most often.
4. Plant a tree
If you have a yard, planting a tree is another fun activity that helps your house feel like a home. It’s a nice ceremonial way of commemorating your move. As it grows, a tree marks the passage of time and becomes a symbol of your own deepening roots into the community.
5. Write a letter to yourself
Every relocation is a change, the kind of change that’s accompanied by strong emotions. Writing a letter to yourself is another way to commemorate your move, channel those emotions, and initiate the transition from house to home. Try to describe what you can about this period of your life, and it will become a treasured document as you accumulate memories in your new home.
6. Put up a Little Library
A cool way to participate in your new community immediately is to build a Little Library outside your home, so your neighbors can take and leave books. Projects like this help build ties to the neighborhood by encouraging spontaneous encounters. Also, it’s a great way to recycle books that you’d rather share than keep.
7. Get lost on purpose
If you’re new to the neighborhood, another fun thing to do is to go for a drive and get deliberately lost. When you reach an intersection, pick a direction at random and see where it takes you. It’s an exciting way to explore your new surroundings while building confidence as you learn to navigate new roads and traffic patterns.
8. Go geocaching
Part of feeling like you have a home is knowing a place better than visitors and passerby. That’s why geocaching is such a great activity to try after you move (especially if you have children). As you hunt for hidden caches, you’ll start to see your neighborhood in a whole new light, as someone who knows all its secrets. And once you start to feel comfortable with your home area, another fun activity is to plan your own cache for others to find.
9. Celebrate your move like an anniversary
Moving is special occasion, so treat it like one and have dinner at a nearby restaurant. Not only can you enjoy this celebration every year if you want, it’s also a great way to get familiar with a new neighborhood.
10. Host out-of-town guests
Invite friends or family members to visit as soon as it’s feasible after you move. After all, a house truly becomes a home when you open your doors to others, and this is especially true when it’s with the people closest to you.