How do you feel “at home”?

Mr. Something and I moved to a brand new state and into a new apartment sight unseen. That was a terrible choice, but it was pretty much the only one we had–flying here, renting a car, and staying at a hotel just to look at apartments was way too expensive.

Because we didn’t actually see our apartment until the day we moved in (which is an entirely different, and entirely awful, story), it was a slightly different floor plan than we’d been promised. It’s smaller than it looks in the photos (gee,  you think?). Our front door goes directly outside, with no screen door or hallway to prevent our various animals from escaping. The management constantly starts projects (like restriping the parking lot) and never quite seems to finish them (I think they striped 10 spots and gave up). It’s an okay place, but it feels really temporary, which it is, because we’re looking into buying a house this summer.

Which brings me to this question: how do you feel “at home”? Yes, yes, family and love make a home, but in a more literal sense, how can you make a place you know is temporary feel like your own? We put up our wedding guest book photos, some of our engagement photos, and a few other things, which definitely helps. I cook a lot, which makes the place feel homey and cozy. This apartment is where I did a great portion of our wedding planning, and where we brought our puppy home. It’s the address on our marriage license and on my new driver license. All of these things should help… but I can’t wait to get the hell out of here.

I grew up in a house that was owned by my father’s employer. We weren’t permitted to make any changes to the house, like paint or thumbtacks, without express permission. His employer decided to redo our kitchen when I was 10, and I swear it took 2 years to finish because they hired the worst contractor ever and we couldn’t do a thing about it. Even then, he did a half-assed job. Our fridge was in the dining room that whole time. Our dining room light was busted because of bad wiring, and because we were the last priority, I don’t think it ever got fixed. We just used candles during dinner; how romantic. Because of these reasons and a million more, I have a definite need to have a place where I can feel secure–I crave ownership of place.

Most of us move around a lot between college and settling down. I went to three different colleges in three different parts of the country to get my bachelor’s degree, then I moved to a different state for grad school. While in grad school, and the few years after, I moved five times. After we get this house, I am done moving for a while. Done. 

Our home is going to be great, because we’ve got what it takes: love, family, furry beasts, and a desire to settle the fuck down. Let’s gooooooo alreaddaaaayyyy.

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2 comments

  1. The longest I’ve stayed in a place since high school was 1.5 years. The place I’m in now will probably only be a 3-4 year home but this is what I’ve been doing:
    “Home” is in an incredibly powerful concept and it’s impossible to synthesize but what I’ve found helps is to try to forget that a place is temporary. (Even though it undoubtedly is) don’t leave anything unpacked, any wall undecorated. Maximize every inch of your kitchen- hang utensils, put up a pegboard(those can be rehung in new place with little damage to wall and are useful in any room) find little ways to remind you of your last place (ie- set up your desk te same) but look for little ways to improve on it given your new environment. Take pictures of every room and make it look as magazine worthy as possible. Putting in a lot of effort will make you proud of the space, which strengthens your bond to it.

    But remember that most places don’t really feel like home until you come home from a trip, or in hindsight. So don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s not magically happening. You have to kinda brainwash yourself a bit. ^_^

  2. I love these tips!! I’m in the process of putting up a bunch of our wedding photos, and in a week or so, I’m going to go on a deep clean/decorating spree.

    Thank you for this–so incredibly helpful and kind!

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