Your house should always feel like a home…even if it is only for six months. After living in two cities for about 8 months each, I have come up with some tips on how to make your temporary house a home. The sad fact of early military life is that even “more permanent” housing still means 3-4 years.
Deep clean before you move in. This is something I picked up from my mom. I am always the eager beaver who can’t wait to start unpacking and organizing so this tip is always very hard for me. However, it is crucial. Since we move so often, we opt to rent. Side note: make sure your lease has a military clause that allows you to break a lease with orders. Renting is great, but it usually means the previous tenants (and even the apartment complex) do a subpar job cleaning. In our most recent move, I found dog hair in the bottom kitchen cabinets. Gross! Wipe down counters and line your shelves and drawers. I get my liner at Walmart before the move for two reasons. 1. I already have it when I am ready to tackle the kitchen and 2. if I need more (or buy too much) there is always a Walmart near by. Bathrooms are another touch and go area that require special attention. Three words: bleach the tub! I always make sure the cleaning supplies are the first thing off the truck. Lysol wipes are great for wiping down everything because they are easy to pack and easy to dispose of. I also make sure to vacuum before furniture goes down because let’s be honest, who moves the couch when they clean? About a week after the move I always do a good deep clean of the entire apartment since moving itself tracks in a lot of grime.
Unpack. Nothing makes a house feel temporary like boxes sitting around and a bunch of empty walls. Dedicate a few days (weeks maybe) to get all of the boxes unpack, broken down and recycled. I still have china in boxes because I knew I wouldn’t use them at this duty station, but I neatly stacked it all on the top shelf of the pantry incase I do need to pull some out.
Since we knew this duty station would be short-lived (fingers
double triple crossed) we got a small apartment with a garage. The garage is stacked with boxes of stuff we won’t use here (like Christmas decorations and our guest bedroom stuff).
Decorate. My favorite part of moving is decorating a new place. All of my old stuff feels new again when I see set up differently. I always make sure to mix things up – don’t put the same picture in the same arrangement on the same shelf. We had a cheap Target shelf in our closet in Charleston that we used for t-shirts and running gear. In Saratoga Springs, the same shelf is a “bar” in our kitchen and now holds wine and bar supplies.
Bring pieces of your last home(s) with you. Like windows, carpet or fixtures. Kidding. Do make sure you grab something that reminds you of the area. From Charleston, I have a huge seashell that I found on a jet skiing trip with the hubby’s family near Isle of Palms.
I also have a picture I bought at the Market of Folly Beach which hangs above our couch. From Saratoga Springs, I bought a $2 vintage postcard at an antique store. I kept the subway map from our visit to NYC to frame. My goal is to make a wall gallery of our travels.
Explore the area and get involved. I did a bad job of this in Charleston because I had my husband, his family 1.5 hours away, and my work friends. When the hubby left for training in Connecticut, I felt like I had lost my only real friend. Workdays turned into days I enjoyed because I got to see girls I enjoyed being around. I started to fall into the same trap in New York (I am still working on this) so I decided I needed to break the chain (as Bethenny Frankel would say). I looked up a running club in the area and I now run with a group of ladies every Saturday morning. It’s not much, but it makes me feel like I have something that is my own. The hubby and I are also trying to do as much local stuff as possible while we are here.
What are ways you make your temporary house feel like home?