Home is where the heart is

We’ve all heard it before, and when you move abroad you realise how true it is. 

One way you can make your new place feel like home is to your family settle in quickly. Don’t leave those last few boxes lying around waiting to unpack. Put out your favourite photos frames. Hang some art on the walls. Buy some plants. Add your heart to your new home and you will soon feel relaxed and happy in your new environment. 

Whenever we move, I give myself two full days to unpack – and I unpack everything. I always put things in similar places, so everyone (in particular hubby who has a ‘man look’) can find what they’re looking for. For example, all medicine is kept in the bathroom; and there is always a drawer in the kitchen with useful stuff like scissors, sticky tape and bottle openers!

I always focus on getting the bedrooms done first, then the girls books and games. There is nothing they love more than coming home that first day of unpacking and seeing all their favourite things again, I always make time to sit with them during this time and enjoy the sheer delight with them! Unpacking the kitchen is next, then everything else.

I allocate a weekend soon after unpacking for hubby to get his drill out and hang some art. Yes, it’s the last thing he wants to do, but I always insist he does it or I will do it myself on Monday… needless to say he gets on with it! For some reason, he thinks I’m clumsy!?!

I have a few favourite photos in frames around the lounge, but we have a large photo board that is always hanging in the kitchen with pictures of family and friends. And I put out my candles and lanterns as soon as possible, hubby and I have a ritual of celebrating our move and new home with a bottle of bubbles, and I love lighting them for that celebration!

Within the first week I start my ‘herb garden’. It is usually a few pots on a window sill, but in Taipei I have been lucky to have a balcony which a joke is my kitchen garden! I grow parsley, basil, thyme, sage, chives and rosemary. I have tried radishes, rocket and spinach… but I wasn’t very successful! 

Once you’re unpacked and added your ‘heart’, start to bring some ‘soul’ to your new home. Continue your family rituals – two of our family rituals are pancakes on a Sunday morning; and Friday night pizza night! Yes, we are a family of foodies 🙂 It is very settling for the kids to have the familiarity.

Be open minded about your routine. While you may have a system that works for you, you may find you need to adapt it slightly for your new location. 

One system that I’ve adapted but not really changed is out after school routine – homework, bath, playtime, dinner, stories and bed. And yes, the girls still go to bed at 6.30pm!! What is flexible though is the exact timings, in each location depending on our commute time from school we may start later, but the 6.30pm bedtime is my goal. I know, I’m a mean mummy. But what it does give me is then some time to do all my jobs before hubby gets home.

So in all the moves that we have done, this is one of my key learning’s, give your heart and add your soul, you and your family will enjoy your new family home sooner. 

Do you have some tips for settling into a new home? Please do share in the comments.

Are you interested in learning more about making your transition successful? Register here for my FREE 30 minute webinar “5 Steps to a Successful Transition” on 10 September 2019. 

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