All the planning, shopping, doubts and fears of moving abroad are behind you. Now you’re finally moving to a new home abroad, and you will start the New Year off with a bang! Moving is a huge change, so you might think you do not need to make other New Year’s resolutions. But, that is totally wrong – you need to make at least 7 more resolutions to make your new home “yours” right from the very first day.
1. Be practical: International relocation is stressful, no matter how well prepared you are. But the first rule is: “Don’t rush or panic!” Just be practical. The most important rooms you will need to get set up quickly are the bedrooms. After all, this will be your first night in a new home, and at the very least you want everybody to be comfortable and get a good night’s sleep – which by the end of day #1 in your new home, you will all probably need!
Being the practical person you are, for your international move, you will have packed the family’s favorite linen, duvets, quilts, and bedspreads within easy reach so that you can make the beds and get the bedrooms looking neat and tidy. Take out the kids’ toys (particularly the fluffy ones) and place them on the beds, on cabinets, even on the floor. Hang up their favorite posters, and make the rooms bright and inviting.
Then deal with the kitchen and bathrooms. Unpack those new appliances you bought; connect your dishwasher and stove, microwave, and coffee machine. In the bathroom, unpack your favorite towels, cosmetics, scents, soaps and shampoos: Get these areas sorted out as quickly as you can and it will already begin to feel like home.
2. Cleaning up: Moving overseas can be messy: try to get as much of the clutter of out of your living space as you can. It will be a day of hard work, but try not to let packing cases become a permanent part of the furniture – that will just make it take even longer until you feel at home and settled in. Get the entire family involved and make a game or a challenge out of it: whoever moves the most gets a reward.
3. Unpacking and arranging furniture: With a bit of planning for your overseas relocation, you will have decided more or less where you want to place your furniture. But before you start moving furniture around, get the feel of the place and the space; take time to walk around. You might have considered putting that favorite cabinet over by the window, but now that you’re actually in the place, perhaps it will look better on the opposite side of the room. Once the furniture is placed, and it feels right and comfortable for you, you will feel even more at home – like you have been living there all along.
4. Decorating: Painting the walls, hanging pictures, and finding places for your tchotchkes, are all going to be a work in progress. But you can start the process right on day #1 (or at least during your first week in the new home). Decorating your new home in your own personal style and flavor is a key ingredient to feeling “at home” in your home.
5. Explore the neighborhood: Get out and get a feel for your new neighborhood. Find out where all the facilities that you need are located – a gym, a hair salon, restaurants, bars, parks, banks, and medical centers. Getting familiar with your neighborhood and having “your” coffee shop or “your” corner market will quickly make you feel at home.
6. Change your locks: Call a local locksmith and get all the locks changed. If you need alarms and more sophisticated systems, hopefully you will have sorted this out before your international move…or if the home already has a system, make sure you know and understand the codes and procedures.
7. Get connected: Connect the internet and get your local cellphone services up and running, so you can contact your friends and family back home to tell them that you have arrived and settled in – safe and sound.
And while you’re at it: take pictures…lots of pictures. Pictures of your goods arriving, being unpacked, being set up…the mess, the cleanup. You’ll have lots of memories – and even more laughs – about this wild and wonderful day when you moved into your new home in a new country.