Whether you’re downsizing, looking for a fresh start or relocating for a job, moving to a new city can be exciting and scary at once.
Even if saying goodbye to what’s familiar is hard, the good news is a new adventure awaits. Still, you may find yourself wondering, “will it ever feel like home?” While it may take some time, there are some things you can do to speed up the process, embrace your new surroundings and settle in with confidence.
Nothing makes you feel more unsettled than living out of suitcases and boxes. For one thing, you can’t easily access the comforts of home. That’s why setting up your new digs as soon as possible is key. Rather than see unpacking as a chore, turn it into a positive thing. Start by giving your home a good once over — cleanliness, a fresh coat of paint and a bit of forethought lay the foundation for a fresh start.
- Sketch your furniture layout or try using a design app that helps you visualize and bring your space to life.
- Move around your kitchen as you would when it’s in use, planning the placement of your belongings based on how you “work.”
- Create a restful space where you can go to unwind.
- Incorporate meaningful things from home, mingling them with new touches that lend a sense of place.
Meet your neighbors
Unless you already have an “in,” it can be hard to put yourself out there to make new friends. A great place to start? Your neighbors. After all, nothing lends a sense of security like knowing you’re not alone. Who knows, you may even become the best of friends; they may introduce you to friends; and they already know what’s what.
Take a neighborhood tour
Be a tourist for a bit. Whether you’re passionate about food, architecture, history or culture, a neighborhood tour can both acclimate and help you see your new home through a local’s lens. Plus, your tour guide can be a wonderful resource for uncovering hidden gems, finding your go-tos and getting an overall lay of the land.
Hit public and farmers markets
There are few better ways to familiarize yourself with a new city than to visit the public and farmers markets. Beyond offering prime people-watching, it’s one of the best ways to experience the pulse of a city and see how people go about their daily lives. Immerse yourself in the experience and chat with vendors and fellow shoppers. And don’t be afraid to ask a well-placed question. A simple, “how do you use this ingredient?” could be just the icebreaker you need.
Dine out — and linger
Not everyone enjoys being a solo diner and that’s fair. When you move to a new city, though, you often need to step outside of your comfort zone. Put your shyness aside and belly up to the bar or stay at the dinner table a tad longer to observe your surroundings, fellow diners and imbibers — striking up a brief conversation has the potential to open doors.
Head to the community center
Have kids? Typically offering classes and activities of varying durations — not to mention one-day adventures — community centers are a great place to meet other families, foster a sense of place and have some fun. From summer movie nights and concerts to crafting, sports and campouts, you’re sure to find something you’d all enjoy.
Join a gym — and take classes
Visiting and becoming a regular at places where common interests are shared is one of the best and most effective ways to make new friends. It is, understandably, easier to talk to others with similar routines, passions and lifestyles.
Check out flyers for local events
The next time you grab a cup of joe at the local coffee shop, be sure to look at posted flyers. You may learn about new events, cultural organizations, meet-up groups and services that resonate. Seem out of character? Remember that others have been — and are — in your shoes.
Adopt a dog
Another great way to interact with new people, pressure-free, is to take a dog for a walk. Already have a pet? You have a proverbial leg up. Don’t have one yet? Visit your local shelter to adopt, provided you have the time and ability to do so. While you’re at it, consider volunteering for a good cause (it’s another great way to connect with local residents).
Find those with shared interests
Maybe you’re into sports. Perhaps you enjoy painting or gardening. When you move to a new city, connecting with people who do what you do serves as a common denominator for conversation, making friendship-forming both easier and less intimidating.
Whether you’re in a new city right now or considering finding a new home, we’re here to not just move you, but to also help you along the way. Check out our blog for more ideas on helping your new house feel like home.