If you too are having difficulties adjusting to your new house or are planning to pack and unpack cardboard boxes, then I understand your dilemma as I have been through it too. But here is a guide which will suggest ways to make your new place comfortable and feel more like a home.
Mix Old and New Furniture
This is one of the best ways to make your home feel like your own. It is obvious to bring your old belongings to the new place, but make sure to keep some stuff that reminds you of home too. It can be anything like paintings and decoration pieces. When I moved to New York City, I brought along some furniture, a few painting and ornaments that had adorned my London house.
As you cannot move your entire furniture to the new place, make sure to unpack the old furniture as quickly as possible and shop for the new one. But do not rely on Ikea entirely or it will make your home seem like it came in a box. Ikea is only advisable for a few practical things like Billy bookshelf, pans, pots, cutlery, dinner sets, bedsheets and pillows.
Unpack on Priority Basis
Make unpacking your priority as it will help in the proper setting of everything at its place instead of being stacked on top of one another. But make sure to recycle the boxes and to take out every bubble wrap and packing sheet so that nothing gets out of sight and hence none of the wanted stuff gets discarded. My parents once, during moving, cast away a valuable miniature painting accidentally along with the waste packing papers.
Decorate with Pictures, Plants and Candles
Unpack the pictures and paintings that you have brought with yourself and put them up as soon as possible. They will make your current home familiar to the previous one and hence develop a homely feeling. But make sure to frame them before putting them up otherwise, they will give the home a “temporary” feel.
Buy plants and good table lamps to make the house livelier and cozier. Also, scented candles with their familiar, comforting fragrance and the welcoming glow will help you feel at home.
Mix and Match
Do not go on a single shopping spree and get all the furniture and home goods all at once from a single store. Buy them from different stores and mix and match a variety of things so that it feels like you have invested time in putting all the things together. Urban Outfitters has high-quality mid-century style furniture that goes well with a New York house. West Elm has great aesthetics too and is best for great, reasonable-priced lighting.
John Lewis in the UK and Room and Board in the US have sofas which although are costly, yet are much better than their Ikea substitutes. If you are up for the hassle of wading through its massive inventory, then Overstock and Wayfair provide amazing value. The struggle is worth it.
Plan to Get Rid of Things
Moving is a great way to discard unwanted things that had been piling up. But it is not as easy as it seems to be and the selling of furniture is all the more difficult when there is a deadline. There are numerous websites, ranging from low-scale to large scale, for selling things online. But it is important that your buyer picks up the things from your house just when you need them to. As some furniture like beds and sofas are needed till the last day of moving, there can be a chance that your buyer does not pick them up at the proper time.
Donating is another way to declutter things you do not need but again, your timeline might not match with the timeline of the organization you are donating to. For this, you have to plan ahead and choose an organization which can pick your stuff up at the right time. I too struggled to find a charity, to donate my London sofa before moving to America, that could commit to picking my stuff in time. Larger organizations like British Heart Foundation in London and Salvation Army & Housing Works in New York arrange pick-ups for larger items. But again, you have to plan it ahead effectively.
Selling and donating are better ways than to just leave your stuff or throw it away. They both take time, effort and extensive planning which is probably the last thing you want when planning a big move. But since they are crucial, you should always start the process early.
Sell your Clothes
Moving is a great excuse for getting rid of things you do not need. My thumb rule is that if I have not worn something at least 3 times in New York, then I am not taking it to London, be it clothes or shoes. Therefore, a lot of stuff will need to be washed and folded before it can be sold. Concession stores like Buffalo Exchange and Beacon’s Closet take only clean and in-season clothes and this cleaning and folding takes time.
You can also take your unwanted clothes to the major stores which offer new year discount vouchers in exchange for recycling your clothes. But this really does not solve the decluttering problem ultimately.