After a somewhat arduous move across the country, my family is finally settling into a temporary residence.
We’re blessed that we’ve been able to begin searching for a new house right away because our previous one sold quickly. However, until we complete our search, we’re residing in a small apartment.
Many of our possessions are in storage and we’re limited in what we can do to decorate the apartment. It kind of feels like we’re in a hotel and not at “home.” After searching for ideas, I’ve tried a few simple things that have made a big difference.
Making home of a temporary residence
- Avoid living out of suitcases or boxes. Because we will only be in our apartment for a few months, it seems like the most efficient thing to do is to leave most of our possessions boxed up so they are ready to be moved again. While this is efficient in many respects, it detracted from efforts to make our apartment feel like home. In order to feel comfortable in our space, we had to unpack enough items that we could open a cabinet and pull out a favorite mug, see framed pictures of our family out on tables, and have clothing organized in closets and dressers.
- Introduce familiar scents. Scents have a powerful way of bringing back memories and creating a sense of comfort. We have certain scents that we like in our home, so a very easy and affordable way we’ve created a homey atmosphere is by diffusing oils and burning candles of these scents. Another way we’ve introduced familiar scents is by cooking foods that we love and brewing a pot of coffee.
- Set out favorite items. As noted above, it seems counterproductive to unpack inessential items while living in temporary housing. However, the presence of a few favorite items goes a long way in making us feel comfortable. By selecting a few items we really enjoy (throw pillows and blankets, shower curtains, mugs, etc.), we’ve been able to make our previously unwelcoming apartment feel more personal.
- Keep up routines. It takes more than familiar possessions to make a space feel like home! Routines and traditions play an important role in fostering this familiarity. We’ve found that our space feels homier when we stick to our usual routines and behaviors. This means using our usual menus (which contain many of our favorite meals), keeping our daughter’s typical routine, and taking part in our usual recreation activities.
- Use curtain rods and wall hooks that won’t damage walls. We’re unable to paint or put many holes in the walls of our apartment, but we are able to decorate our walls a little by using tension curtain rods and adhesive wall hooks. These curtain rods were so beneficial in helping us hang curtains to darken my daughter’s nursery!
- Listen to favorite music. Music can have impacts similar to those of scents. By simply putting on a favorite CD, we can create in our apartment whatever mood we need at the moment (celebratory, peaceful, etc.).
Hopefully these strategies will continue to keep our apartment feeling like home until we get into a house that will serve as our long-term residence. Do you have experience living in temporary housing? What things did you do to make this space feel like home?
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