From the ages of 18 to 41 I have moved 18 times. It’s not really that bad. Only 6 of those moves involved LARGE moving trucks. The rest involved multiple trips via a car, and/or rental furniture, or just living without. I moved around a fair amount before becoming part of a military family. I’m ok with moving. The world is big.
On the other hand, I hate moving. It’s hard work. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
So here we are, 3 1/2ish months from moving, again. I had a nice break in Virginia for 6 years so I was a little rusty when I had to pack bags this last time. I was so settled. Now, I’m unsettled–in a settled kind of way. People who come into my house think we’ve lived here for years. This either means one of two things: 1. I unpacked too much and am currently delusional over the amount of time we are living in said house OR, 2. I’ve got this down.
Let’s go with 2.
So how do I make temporary housing feel like home?
I have rules. Let’s use my house for examples.
Little stuff is bad. Unpack it and put it all together in like categories. Then repack it. Put it in rubbermaid storages totes. Label the totes. Say good-bye. Who the heck has time to manage baubles, curios, doodads, ornamental items, knickknacks, trinkets, and…tchotchke? (Yes, it is all the same thing but I’m trying to make a point.) UNLESS it’s your kid’s small stuff-let them have what they want if it makes it feel familiar.
Little pictures are even worse. What makes a statement is one nice size picture per room and leave it at that. Easy. I’m talking poster size or larger.
Bigger is Better. Little pictures get lost on walls unless hung correctly. And if they are hung correctly that means they are grouped with quite a few others and, oh, all the holes and measuring, and then patching and painting. Now don’t get me wrong–I think you should USE the walls. But most people I encounter are too afraid to hang anything–so what I’m saying is if you are falling in this category, buy big art. One large piece in a room is awesome. One teeny postage size picture is so so NOT awesome.
Stick to 3 or 4 colors throughout the house. I don’t mean the whole house including the kids rooms have to match–but I kind of do. Don’t be afraid to paint your stuff either.
Paint now comes with built in primer. It’s getting easier. Stick to a strict palette. Choose either white OR cream. You can’t have white and cream next to each other without the cream looking dirty. I’m doing more with blue, green, and white. Most of my furniture is neutral. Camel couch, white painted furniture, shades of blue painted furniture, dark wood, lots of accent pillows that I recirculate. The blue armoire from the craft closet is now my youngest son’s dresser, my youngest son’s dresser is now my oldest’s…it all works because the colors are all in the same family.
Which brings me to my next point. Think outside the box with furniture. Bedside tables could be end tables. Craft closet from laundry room can turn into dresser (blue armoire from above), side table from dining room (from before marriage) can be turned into changing table for babies which evolves into a dresser for big boys. Small old dresser can become office storage. Front porch table can become desk. Garage storage can be turned into shelves for office.
Only display and use what brings you joy. If this is a temporary space–life is too darn short to display stuff you hate because someone gave it to you or because you are too lazy to replace it. Your home is love. It has no time requirement. Own your space now.
Gorgeous Lamps. No one pays attention to lamps! I’m going to write a whole post on this whole topic. It will be called Lamp Love. They are the jewelry for your house! Yours are too small. I’m not even at your house but I just know they are. And the lampshades?! They need to complement each other. You have lamps on either side of the couch? One shade cannot be white and the other cream…I told you why above. And are they old? Do they look like you bought them at the Dollar Store? Are your lamps boring? Oh my gosh I can just tell you need help. Not here, but later. Just remember, lamps are worth it.
Keep ONE rubbermaid tote with sentimental items that make the cut. You can display family pictures or trinkets that mean A LOT to you and that make you SMILE. Keep it simple. One large tote of baubles and what nots and snapshots. Go crazy and sprinkle them throughout to make your heart sing. ONE tote. Keep the tote empty. When it’s time to move pack it up again and keep it with you–it’s one of those “Movers Do Not Take” boxes:)
Books. I’m guilty of this and I’m working on it. Why do you have the books if they stay in boxes where you can’t get to them anyway? What are they accomplishing? I like books to be out. They make a house nice. Keep the nice looking ones and arrange them in shelves by color. Just try it.
See the books organized by color? See what they are on? Fake mantle. One of these from a junk shop/antique store etc… can come in really handy for temporary housing. Have a wall you don’t know what to do with?
Trays. I use trays all over to corral clutter and make piles look purposeful. Moving is busy. Who has time to stay on top of papers? At least they will look nice.
Plants. Buy them. Fill the gaps, the lonely corners, and the awkward room layouts. And, bigger is better. If you have lots of small ones invest in pretty pots and saucers–they don’t need to match, just be unusual. (Go to Goodwill.) One piece of greenery per room at least.
Just because it’s temporary doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty…and pretty goes a long way to making it feel like home.
A final note. You know what really makes a house feel like home? Pets.
We were blessed to have our sweet cat for 15 1/2 years. She made 9 moves with us. Yesterday she died, taking a little bit of “our home” with her. Bless you Bella. We miss you so much baby cat. Thank you for making everywhere you were feel like home.