Home again

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Well, the move went reasonably well—it wouldn’t have been my choice to change apartments on the first snowy day of the year, but what can you do?—and now I live on a peaceful, pretty Brooklyn street like the one here. It’s a nice change from the down-and-dirty Lower East Side; so quiet and peaceful. I’ve still got mountains of unpacking to do, though, and so this will have to suffice as today’s post. Apologies for that. But in the meantime, why don’t your share with me your tips on how to get yourself settled into a new home in the comments, OK?

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60 Thoughts on Home again
    bonnie r
    21 Dec 2020
    5:41pm

    The band-aid method: Rip it all off – fast. My husband moved 20+ times in a career in foreign service. I had moved about five before we got married and merged our stuff. There were hundreds of boxes -dozens in every room. I started to “place things” one box at a time. His advice – empty every box at once -and don’t stop until you’ve found a home for everything. Do one room at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. He was right!

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    bonnie r
    21 Dec 2020
    5:44pm

    The band-aid method: Rip it all off – fast. My husband moved 20+ times in a career in foreign service. I had moved about five before we got married and merged our stuff. There were hundreds of boxes -dozens in every room. I started to “place things” one box at a time. His advice – empty every box at once -and don’t stop until you’ve found a home for everything. Otherwise you’ll have boxes somewhere for years. Do one room at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. He was right! Good luck!!

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    CC
    21 Dec 2020
    9:55am

    Welcome back, Kim, from another Brooklynite. Walking with Mister and exploring and ordering takeout from the most promising local place will make everything feel great.

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    Jms
    21 Dec 2020
    9:25pm

    Turn on your favorite tunes (Otis always makes me feel like I’m home), find a place for your favorite thing, and then work on the necessities.

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    Sarah
    21 Dec 2020
    7:03pm

    I just moved myself last week; tomorrow marks a week in my new-old home. I bought a beautiful 1920 bungalow with 9.5’ ceilings and tons of windows that was miraculously in my budget. My unpacking method is: do it all as fast as I can, but always start with my bedroom. I need a nice “done” sanctuary to fall into after long days moving things around and sorting piles of books.

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    Meg
    21 Dec 2020
    8:54pm

    Excellent move. My father’s family moved from the lower East Side of NYC to Park Slope in 1928 when those brownstones were sold in units of 3. One for each of his Grandfather’s sons. He called it moving to the country in his childhood journal. Much happiness in your new home Kim.

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    Another Rebecca
    21 Dec 2020
    4:29pm

    Definitely set up bed first, then whatever corner of the house you want to do that gives you a place to be and feel settled.

    I get takeout with extra leftover meals to sustain me for a couple of days so unpacking the kitchen isn’t an immediate and dire need. I need at least one good day of rest before tackling that.

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    Michele
    21 Dec 2020
    3:56pm

    We are moving mid-January. Hopefully no snowstorms but still in the middle of a pandemic. Eep! I love all these suggestions.

    This move is all new territory for me. First, because of Covid safety considerations and any possible shutdowns that might impact services. And secondly, that due to Covid I’m now working from home so there’s no escaping Land of Boxes during the day. I’ll be cooped up in the chaos day in and day out. So all the coping suggestions are doubly useful.

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    Jeanine
    21 Dec 2020
    3:37pm

    Your beautiful new home looks like a movie set! Congratulations! Best wishes on making it your best home ever!

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    Betty Benesi
    21 Dec 2020
    3:04pm

    Wow, my son just moved from San Francisco to New York. He moved about a month and a half ago. He lives on 44th down near Times Square. Unfortunately, we now have to figure out how to get the rest of his furniture and house hold items out there. He’s just purchased the basics bed, mattress, desk, a couple of lights, but he did get a Christmas tree. My tip is when you move make sure you have a basket packed with cleaning supplies, hand soap, toilet paper and paper towels. Also get your bed situated and made up first thing. That way you have a place to sit and crash right away when necessary!

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    Mouse
    21 Dec 2020
    3:06pm

    Def lots of practical things like kitchen and bed first, but also unpack and/or put up at least one of your favorite pieces of art or something that has meaning to you and is not necessarily practical. Then take your time to furnish and decorate; you will find great things along the journey……best of luck and Happy Solstice!

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      Sara
      22 Dec 2020
      2:31pm

      I echo this advice! Get the bare necessities settled and then arrange little spots of beauty and joy even amidst the rest of the chaos. I have alway found that having those areas where my eyes can land on favorite art/personal items, or at least a fairly composed spot, makes my “claiming” of the new space happen more quickly. I also swear by painting closets if that hasn’t been done prior to moving in. Something about brushing on fresh, clean paint in the inner areas also facilitates the nesting process. Happy nesting!!

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    Jax
    21 Dec 2020
    2:52pm

    And you moved during a snowstorm??!? Imprressive.

    More of a question from me… I think you moved from Manhattan, correct? What will you miss most in Manhattan? What do you look forward to in your new home and neighborhood?

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    ab
    21 Dec 2020
    2:41pm

    My friend says you should replace the toilet seat when you move somewhere new! I’ve actually never done it.

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      Sarah H
      21 Dec 2020
      4:23pm

      And put a fresh toilet roll (your brand) in the holder.

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    Amy
    21 Dec 2020
    2:40pm

    I am deeply impressed you made this post amid moving chaos. Congratulations on your new home! The kitchen is always the thing for me—once that’s functioning I feel like a human. And I’m not even a person who cooks a lot! Next thing is hanging stuff on the wall. Sometimes that depends on furniture and other elements, but having my art and photos and things on the wall makes it feel like home. Probably why wall hangings are the first things to come down when I’m packing! Best of luck. 🙂

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    Tamara
    21 Dec 2020
    1:48pm

    Make your bed and do your bedroom first. That way you can retreat from the mess. And then set up your bathroom. That way you can survive the rest of the process.

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    Carlene
    21 Dec 2020
    2:08pm

    Last time I moved, I moved all the boxes into the furthest room and brought them out one at a time so I wasn’t overwhelmed.

    (Plese note: there are still boxes back there, in the furthest recesses (which is a storage porch), and I’ve been here since 2014)

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      Amy
      21 Dec 2020
      2:42pm

      I recently moved and unearthed three boxes that never got unpacked from the previous move. Whoops 😂

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        Michele
        21 Dec 2020
        2:54pm

        This is how I decided I don’t need my vinyl when we move to our new place. It was still all boxed up from our last move, 5 years ago. It’s not coming with us lol. I also had photo backdrops that I haven’t used in 5 years (ok, one I hadn’t used since 1999, not kidding). All that is going away.

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    Jeanne
    21 Dec 2020
    1:44pm

    Welcome to your new home. What a great way to start 2021! Wipe down and organize drawers, closets and cabinets as you unpack. This avoids having to tidy up again later after you’re done and sick of the whole damn thing.

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    c.w.
    21 Dec 2020
    1:47pm

    Congrats on the move! I’m a terrible one to give advice as I’m manic until I have everything in its place––but I’m also a minimalist so I don’t have a lot of “stuff.” I agree that your bed should be first so you don’t have to dig around for sheets or comforter when you are most exhausted followed by coffee stuff and putting away every single thing in the bathroom. Then I tackle one room at a time breaking down all the boxes as I go and immediately storing or recycling those boxes which helps calm things down. And before it gets dark on the first day I take Betty out on a long walk so she can smell all the new smells and pee on all she wants to mark.

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      D.Morgendorffer
      21 Dec 2020
      2:17pm

      Right on about the coffee stuff! The coffeemaker and toilet paper are supposed to ride in the car with the dogs and cats on moving day. You have to know where the essentials are at all times.

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    Michelle
    21 Dec 2020
    1:11pm

    I just did this! Break down boxes as you empty them. Work on your favorite areas of a house first so you won’t dread coming home to it and will have something homey to look forward to each day.
    Let it be a chance to do a “Year of Less” style purge if you need one . I tend to collect.( I moved the first 5 years of Sassy mags with me.) So I don’t sweat a slower unpack since I’m streamlining.
    Hang art last so you get a feel for the place, where the best light is, if a wall even needs ornamentation, etc.
    Light candles, have a fun drink, and play great music while you unpack so it feels more like a ceremony and less like a marathon.
    Oh, and make time to take a walk in your new neighborhood each day for a little break.

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      Michele
      21 Dec 2020
      2:58pm

      I love these suggestions! I’m about to move, and this is brilliant. Yes, to the walk around the new neighborhood, and to playing music and making it feel nice when I’m unpacking.

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    HickfromStyx
    21 Dec 2020
    1:14pm

    Being there is the biggest thing. Winter moves are tough. My advice is to find the fluffiest towels you have, set up candles, and relax in the bath as needed with your favorite music and aromatherapy.

    Everything is in slo-mo right now anyways, so take your time.

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    Jenny
    21 Dec 2020
    1:20pm

    This may not be practical now, but I hired a decorator by the hour to hang my pictures. They would never have gotten off the floor otherwise, and he had all kinds of tools to deal with my impenetrable plaster walls.

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    Shannon
    21 Dec 2020
    12:57pm

    Been in our house for 15 years, so no recent moving experience or tips! But your photo reminded me of this Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/madufault/ – when you’ve had enough of unpacking and want to mindlessly scroll, these images, many of your new borough, are soothing 🙂 Congrats! And Happy Holidays 🙂

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    Kathy O
    21 Dec 2020
    12:43pm

    I have hired real estate stagers to arrange my furniture and hang pictures. They are very reasonably priced and do a great job. They will recommend pieces to buy and inexpensive sources. There are also professional unpackers that will unpack and arrange your furniture and housewares in a couple hours.

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    Viajera
    21 Dec 2020
    12:30pm

    Oooooh so pretty! Good for you, Kim. … … … This may not be helpful, but for your historical records, you might want to take a photo of how the place looks now, in order to remember how you felt at the time. It can add perspective. Anyhow it seems to me that the hard part is over – I hope so, anyway.

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      Hodgko
      21 Dec 2020
      1:06pm

      Taking photos is a great idea! We moved to our current location 18 years ago and have made many small changes that didn’t seem to add up to much until we compared photos of our first year here.

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    Tahe Z
    21 Dec 2020
    11:51am

    I haven’t moved since 2000 so not the person to give advice, but I’m sure tucking away everyone else’s for when that day comes. Congratulations on your new pad. It looks adorable from the outside. I’m dreaming of moving and have been purging in preparation for that day. In fact, just yesterday I found TWO copies of Sassy in my attic- June 91 and Aug 92-which, of course, will stay in my possession until I die. #sassygirlforever

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    Kathryn
    21 Dec 2020
    11:58am

    Unpack and set up bed and bedroom first, then the kitchen. Being in a new place feels weird for about 6 months then it feels like home.

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    Debra G
    21 Dec 2020
    12:02pm

    First of all, hearty congrats on getting it DONE. If possible, take it slow and use the opportunity to weed out any additional stuff that needs to go. It will give you a boost to know that you aren’t hanging on to anything that weighs you down. (I’ve never been able to do the fine-honed weeding out before the move. Too much decision-making under pressure for me.)

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    susanm
    21 Dec 2020
    12:11pm

    enjoy the neighborhood! I lived ibn Park Slope for 12-15 years and the walks in brownstone Brooklyn are the loveliest–as is prospect park, the Brooklyn botanic garden and the walk around the museum. even in winter, it’s so good.

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      Dawn
      21 Dec 2020
      12:53pm

      Making memories in your new place with those you love is the best and fastest way to make it feel like home. In pandemic times that will have to start with your pod lol. At least you’ll have a few months to get it in shape for your housewarming party! 😁

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      Barb
      21 Dec 2020
      12:39pm

      Welcome to my hometown…don’t buy anything for your new place, until you see how the light falls in the rooms…

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    Cindy
    21 Dec 2020
    12:11pm

    Congrats on the new digs Kim. As a Professional Organizer I feel uniquely qualified to comment on this post!

    My suggestions are:
    Set up your bed and kitchen first (you may have already done this)
    Line shelves as needed in kitchen, bath and linen closet
    Examine the layout of the kitchen to determine what should go where, knowing space restrictions may require trying out a few options. Use prime real estate (accessible shelves) for everyday items. Use higher shelves for seldom used items.
    Maximize vertical space.
    Break down boxes and get rid of them quickly.

    Feel free to contact me for more tips or if you have questions. I’m also a big fan of containerizing to maximize space and keep things orderly.

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      Amy
      21 Dec 2020
      12:34pm

      What do you use to line shelves with? Would love to get recommendations. Thanks!

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        sally
        22 Dec 2020
        1:52am

        My preference is cork! Works amazingly and looks retro but clean and modern at same time

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        Trish
        21 Dec 2020
        1:28pm

        Shelf lining paper. There are a number of types.

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        ramonaquimby
        21 Dec 2020
        1:21pm

        Not the original commenter but you can line drawers and cabinets with anything! Contact liner you can buy in the hardware store for the kitchen. Lining with a roll of pretty and inexpensive wallpaper is another option (they even have peel able options) . There is also drawer lining that is heavily scented which I tend to stay away from unless I’m buying in person.

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    Alex
    21 Dec 2020
    11:18am

    1) Flowers or something green;
    2) Put up some artwork;
    3) Make a cozy space where you can read and have your coffee in the morning, a cup of tea in the afternoon and a glass of wine to unwind at the end of the day — best if you can sit by a window and get to know your neighborhood;
    4) set up your desk with books and supplies handy’
    5) set up your nighttable — more books and whatever else you like having at your bedside;
    6) tackle the kitchen.
    Then, find a place in the neighborhood where you can become a regular — a coffee shop, grocery store, book store, restaurant, whatever . . .

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    Linda V
    21 Dec 2020
    11:19am

    i would concentrate on unpacking boxes for the bedroom i.e. fill up the closets and the kitchen! If you can cook and also get dressed in the morning without rooting around for stuff you will be fine. and also, in my house, set up the TV! for a laugh, I have to tell you about a friend who two years later after moving, still had boxes in her living room that had not been opened! yuck!

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      Eloise
      21 Dec 2020
      11:31am

      Errr, your friend could be me….we are 3 years in…..(Can’t believe I just admitted that.)

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        mlinky
        21 Dec 2020
        12:33pm

        LOL, I have moved a lot, and I have never not had an orphan box or two.

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    Nancy
    21 Dec 2020
    11:14am

    Congrats on your new place…sure its lovely. Would love to see pictures when /if you feel comfortable doing so.

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    Bobby
    21 Dec 2020
    11:15am

    It looks gorgeous! Any chance of an apt tour? I wish I could offer you tips, but I don’t have any worthwhile ones. I tend to be a bit manic about moving, and can’t settle down until everything is unpacked.

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      Molly
      21 Dec 2020
      11:41am

      1. First order of business: set up your bed with your favorite sheets. No matter what time you finally collapse in bed IT WILL BE READY FOR YOU!
      2. Find the most satisfying takeout you can and have it delivered at a time you normally eat. You’ll keep putting it off if you don’t schedule it, and will be a hangry person by then.
      3. Put on some music or podcasts for neutral company. Good luck!

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    Mamavalveeta03
    21 Dec 2020
    11:17am

    What a day to move! We’ve done that before during a snowstorm in northern Wisconsin when my hubby was a forest ranger. I remember wanting to cry as I saw these big burly guys that worked for my husband at the ranger station dragging my couch through two feet of snow. Glad it’s done for you! My advice is get stuff in its place ASAP so you’ll feel settled. I agree with Candy – kitchen and bedroom first.

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    LisaC
    21 Dec 2020
    11:07am

    Congrats on the move. I’m about to go through this myself the first week of Jan (from IL -> GA. Wonder how quickly I can register to vote in the upcoming GA senate election?) My advice is to fix your place like you want it ASAP. I spent years on my previous house, room by room, only to get it like I wanted it 6 months before we decided to move again (after 15 years, but still…). In my case, I’m calling a decorator immediately.

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      suz
      21 Dec 2020
      11:29am

      You missed the cut off to register in GA, it was a few weeks ago. My Dad always said when you get the house just the way you want it…then you wind up moving. So incomplete may be best?

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        LisaC
        21 Dec 2020
        2:28pm

        Damn.

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          ab
          21 Dec 2020
          2:40pm

          You could volunteer with some GOTV orgs instead!

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    SlyBK
    21 Dec 2020
    10:09am

    Welcome back to Brooklyn, Kim! xx

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    Candy
    21 Dec 2020
    10:18am

    Congrats are your new home, Kim. From my many moves, I’ve learned to unpack the kitchen first. It’s so depressing to be unable to easily prepare a quick meal because I can’t find the coffee grinder/spatula/pan/fork/salt I need. Then the bedroom. Those seem to be the two most important places for me to feel like I’m not just camped out in a temporary place. A fragrant bunch of fresh flowers in a vase also makes me feel the place is mine.

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    Laura
    21 Dec 2020
    10:35am

    It looks absolutely lovely! I need to confess that my pro tip for getting settled in is to hire an organizer to unpack and put everything away for or with you. I’ve done it in my last two moves and it was well worth it. Also I’m a huge fan of the site end of the podcast!

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    Cora
    21 Dec 2020
    10:55am

    Get an electric screwdriver, preferably cordless. Best thing we got for the move, will save your wrists and fingers. I also like to fix one rooms first (bedroom and places for the dogs to sleep), then I … skip the kitchen and do the desk and workplace. Moving is take-out time anyway 🙂 The street on the picture looks just like Sesame Street, what a lovely environment to be in!

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    Loree
    22 Dec 2020
    8:45am

    Use the opportunity to put “like” things together to remind you of what you have (light bulbs, matches, extension cords, candles, etc). They always drift across the house over time. Make a list of new things you need for storage and sizes (ie, a little cart for cleaning supplies in the closet). Husband and I are on house 11, and each one has slightly different storage capacity. The Container Store and Overstock are great for basics. Throw out, recycle, or donate the things you threw into boxes NOW before they find another nest in the new place.

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About

Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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