10 Tips for Settling in After the Big Move

By: Keith Lutz

1) Plan a proper goodbye to your friends and neighbors. Chances are you've spent a few years in this place and you have emotional ties you don't even realize; a proper goodbye will give you the closure you need to make a clean break. This can be as simple as an informal open house where you can exchange email addresses with close friends in your community. Make sure you visit some of your old haunts one last time, just for the memories.

2) Every family member should pack a box of essential items that can be easily accessed to help them settle in. For the kids, maybe it's that comfy pair of pajamas and their favorite teddy bear; or the coffee pot for mom. It's those types of articles that create a sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar place.

3) Unpack gradually, but prioritize according to bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, and other well used areas. The kid's room(s) should be a main concern, it's important to get them set up and comfortable as soon as possible.

4) Give the children a sense of ownership in this new home by allowing them to help plan their new rooms. Have fun shopping (budget allowing), for new furnishings or decorations.

5) Check out the new neighborhood by taking lots of walks and drives. Make it an adventure to discover new parks, restaurants and fun places to go.

6) Pets need to settle in too! It's not always the best idea to give Fido immediate free rein of the house. Especially cats do better when confined to one room, with frequent visits from family members. When we first moved in to our new home, one of our cats discovered an open door into the depths of the house - she disappeared for 3 days. Don't let this happen to you.

7) Especially right after a move, it's important to feel some sense of familiarity; so it helps to stay in touch with your old friends. You may want to purchase a long distance rate plan for those lengthy late night calls. At the same time, start meeting people in your new community; you may have to take the initiative by introducing yourself and the children to the neighbors.

8) Try joining a club, a church, an organization, a newcomers group, or participate in volunteer work. Your local web site, paper or phone directory is usually a great place to start for ideas. Check out your local schools for any courses that may be of interest. You're starting a whole new life, now is the time to try something totally different.

9) Learn about your new community and become part of it. Make certain you subscribe to the local paper and support the different sponsored events in your town as well as neighboring communities.

10) If you have any old friends or relatives in the area, now is the time to contact them and say "remember me?" You'll be surprised at the new friends you'll make just from catching up with old contacts. They have friends, and their friends have friends, etc.

It can be difficult to feel part of something after a big move, especially if you've relocated to a new city, or state, but how well you adapt, depends on your state of mind. If you consider this change an adventure, a chance to meet new people, try new activities, then you will thrive in your new environment. At the same time, it's important to give yourself time to adjust to your surroundings, be patient and move ahead at your own speed, and you will find your niche and maybe discover a whole new lifestyle

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