Thursday, 19 November 2015

What if your new house feels weird and strange...?

Almost all of us move house at least once in our lives. Many of us will slot right into the new house but what do you do if your new home feel strange? Feeling like a fish out of water? Read on, my poppet....

When we very first moved into our old house, I absolutely LOVED it. From the moment it was ours I couldn't believe our luck. The location, the garden, the house itself filled me with love and joy. 

And when we first viewed our current house? I felt the all the excitement of having a new project! A rambling period home to make my own? What could be better? ...or so I thought.

You see, I've come to realise that it's a whole different kettle of fish moving out of somewhere you can't wait to move on from than it is wrenching yourself out of a home you love and cherish, even if you are moving to a place that's actually a better fit for your family.

I've ummed and aaahed about whether to share this little mini-series. I don't normally get up close and personal here on Modern Country Style but I wanted to reach out to the many people that I know have had the same struggles and just need someone to give them a virtual hug and tell them everything is going to be all right. That's what I wanted, what I I'm here to do that for you. You will get there....

Let me take you back to the day we were officially given the keys to our beautiful Georgian home. I felt as high as a kite, tail soaring in the warm wind...until, that is, I stepped over the threshold. It was at that moment that, out of the blue, this huge surge of reluctance and fear and adrenalin and nerves and the feeling of being waaaaay out of my comfort zone hit me at full force. I felt sick, I felt afraid, I felt as though I wanted to run away and hide. Now, nothing had changed in those few footsteps, nothing at all...but, let me tell you, I was shaken to the core. 

Having been through that experience, and emerged the other side alive and not just well but dancing, I'd like to give you some tips to haul you through those first few days, weeks and months. These are ideas that really helped me when I felt at sea, and I know have helped many others too...

Number one....Get stuff done. I can't emphasise this enough. In those first days of uncertainty and chaos, don't just sit there crying...get your furniture up and ready and unpack. As fast as you can, especially the kitchen and the bedrooms. It doesn't matter if everything is not in its final position. Just get your treasured possessions out of those ugly and impersonal cardboard boxes.

Secondly, concentrate on making one room or at least one area feel as similar to your previous home as you can.  It's the lack of the familiar that can leave you feeling completely at sea but, let me make this clear, you can and should create this familiarity as much as you are able, even if it feels a little artificial. So put out your best pillows, prop up lovely pictures, play your favourite music and see it as a little retreat to escape to when it's all getting a bit much.

Following on from my last point, make it a priority to clean like you've never cleaned before. Not only will this help your new house smell like home, it'll psychologically help you make your mark, as well as making each room a pleasure to enter. 

Be picky about who you invite into your home in the early days. You want to choose friends and family who will be enthusiastic and joyful on your behalf. Not those who'll drag you further down ("How will you manage the cleaning?/Won't you miss the short walk to school?/Your heating will cost a fortune/blah, blah/blah"). Slightly insensitive comments can lodge like a thorn in your heart and fester there in your vulnerable state. Be on your guard.

It's worth getting hold of all the fairy lights and lamps you can and turn them on as soon as dusk shows the first hint of falling each evening. Soft lighting covers a multitude of sins, my friends, helping you to look past the cracks, the bumps and previous people's decorating choices and to enjoy the intimate pockets of warmth you've created.

And, lastly, I know this seems contradictory but make time to do lovely things in your new home in those first few days. Watch films with popcorn at the ready, enjoy dinner dates and generally get on with your life. Treat it this new place as your home, even if it doesn't feel like one...yet.

But what to do if lasts longer than a few weeks? You're all unpacked and it still doesn't feel like home?

Let's look at that next time...

Images va Transferwise, The Times, Your Home

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laney said...

...what an absolutely wonderful and thoughtful post...I have never visited you before...and last moved 35 years ago...yet your wise and encouraging words brought back many memories...cannot wait to read your next post...blessings laney

Lily said...

Yes to getting the familiar around you! Several years ago we moved from a sweet starter home with hardwood floors and paneled doors to a large 1970's fixer upper with shag carpet and harvest gold appliances and bathrooms. I so disliked my house at first - but we were only supposed to be here for 3 years. When it became apparent we were going to stay in this area, I finally started making an effort to really make it more my style (which no surprise is cottage /country) - replaced doors and tiled bathrooms etc. I did initially set up the living room / dining room L just like my starter - but no hardwood floors:( Many years later we started installing traditional hardwood. This spring I got hardwood upstairs and in my bedroom. My husband said that it reminded him of our room in our first house and I smiled and said that was the look I was going for:)
I try not to be overly attached to stuff, but having the familiar around is so helpful after a move! You may even find yourself recreating bits of your former home, but just on a larger scale.

Kathleen said...

I know exactly what you mean. My daughter just went through the...Oh no what did we do?....panic after she and her husband got the keys to their first little dream home. I know for me until I've scrubbed a place several times so I know all the little nooks and crannies it feels and smells like someone else's house. There's something very strange about living in a home that still has what seems like the presence of the previous owners. Even when we might get our dream we feel the loss of what we left even if it was a cosy apartment. This is such a wonderful topic! My previous home was my dream home. I have to say I loved it and I'm so thankful I had the wonderful experience of living in it but I never actually got over the overwhelming feeling of responsibility for it. I discovered my limitations. It's changed my entire outlook on what's important to me as far as a home goes.

Veronica Roth said...

Oh yes, I know that feeling. The Vancouver house felt so very strange and not like my own for the first year or so. What helped me was to get rid of absolutely everything belonging to the previous owners, and to walk thru the rooms saying "this is my home" over and over once or twice/day.

Sue @ Quilting the Green Star said...

What great photos, it's a few days since you posted this so I hope you are feeling better. I remember sobbing in my new kitchen as there were so many empty cupboards and I didn't know where to start putting the saucepans... I phoned my best friend and bleated at her and she told me to put them near the cooker and they haven't moved home since!
I really enjoy your blog

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

I love these ideas..thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment.

I do feel so much better now..but it's been an unexpected journey for me! I truly didn't see the homesickness coming!

I really hope that by sharing the things that helped me, there might be others who will benefit.


Claire Potter said...

I enjoyed that! And I am pleased to be one of the people invited to your house in the (relatively) early days. I hope I was positive and joyful enough - I DO love your house!!! xxx

Julia Stewart said...

I agree that sometimes buying a new home is weird and can be a difficult process. This is why I always work with a buyers agent so that I know exactly what I am getting and do not have to worry about being surprised when I actually move in and begin to get my family living there with me as well.

Julia Stewart @ Daytona Buyers Agent

Jefferson said...

I am the complete opposite when it comes to moving. I dread it and don't look forward to it at all. But then again, I'm not really much for change. I still have the same car I did in high school, much to my wife's chagrin. LOL. She has her own car, of course, but I just can't seem to part with my little old car.

Jefferson @ T.J. Lamb Real Estate

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Samuel said...

Thank you very much for your recommendations. You are right, as soon as you move into a new house, you need to try to relax in it, just enjoy your new space, forget about everything. you do not need to start immediately repairs and long work on the move so that your first days were not busy with these emotions. When I moved to my house in the country, it needed a good repair urgently, and even roof repair, it was worth looking for a good contractor in Houston right away. but I tried to forget it all for a couple of days and just enjoy the rest and home

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