There isn’t much more exciting than moving into a new home…or anything quite as stressful. While we were staying in Houston for my husband’s radiation last year, one of my sisters was settling into a new home with her family. Day by day, there were hiccups to deal with and design decisions to make. I enjoyed watching (and hopefully helping a little) as she turned a beautiful new house into a lovely new home.
Because there’s a difference between the two, you know. A house is bricks and mortar, paint and plumbing. A home is so much more. It’s the place where hospitality becomes holy.
To ease the transition from house to home, there are a few things you can do before you move the first piece of furniture or open the first box.
First, do a deep clean. (Or pay someone else to!) I’m not one of those people who instinctively knows what needs cleaning so a deep cleaning checklist is very helpful to me. You can find one here. There’s also a handful of helpful tips for keeping your new house clean long after you’ve settled in.
Second, to purchase your home, you probably had to check for pests, but you want to be sure to protect your house from them, especially if you, like me, live in an older home with more than enough ways for unwanted guests to invite themselves in. Our older home is in a rural area so that’s all the more reason to find pest control. In the heat of Mississippi summers, they try to come in looking for water; in the winter, they’re looking for warmth.
Third, get organized. There’s nothing more overwhelming than having a roomful of boxes to unpack and no idea where to put them. A little organization goes a long way. My sister has mastered the art of organization. In her home, everything has a place, and everything is actually in it. She inspired me to try to get my life together and create these spice jar labels and pantry labels.
Fourth, make your home a haven. Fill it with things that bring you joy and promote peace. Meaningful art is one easy way to do this. I’ve been enjoying doing block printing for the last year or so, and I love framing small prints of special people or places and putting them in little spots all around the house. I created one of the Lyceum at Ole Miss for my dad last Christmas, and I love seeing it in his den when I visit. It offers a pop of personality and a personal touch. Framing your kids’ artwork works in much the same way. Another special touch is artwork or items from your travels. There’s a painting of Mt. Kilimanjaro across from me right now. Sometimes, I sip coffee and look at it, remembering special times long ago. Artist Kathryn Wiggins captured a very special memory for my family, recreating a photo of my four sisters and me with our mother and grandmother. It’s a treasure!
Finally, to make your house a home, open it to others. It doesn’t have to be Pinterest-perfect. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart. Pizza and paper plates are perfect. Coffee while kids craft is cool. It’s not how things look or what you do so much as why you do it. Love. No matter what’s on your menu, it’s the one ingredient you can never leave out. People will forget the piles of laundry. They’ll overlook the overgrown garden. They’ll ignore the kids crying. They’ll even be merciful about burned muffins. But they will never look past the love. After all, it’s the thing that truly makes your house a home.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links.