Surviving a New Neighborhood

By February 23, 2015 November 9th, 2018 No Comments

moving to utah

Ah, the new neighborhood. Moving into a lovely new home, smelling the new carpet, seeing dust-free surfaces and clean windows. What’s better than that? The answer to that question is… your old home in the neighborhood where you know every crack in the sidewalk, every dusty, fingerprinted surface, and almost every face that walks down your street.

To make matters worse, the kids are whining about their friends and how you’ve ruined their life and they’ll never make friends here, and the teachers are mean, and “I want to go home!”. And your brain is thinking “I want to go home, too.  But this is home and I don’t like it any more than you do.” But you don’t say it because you are the adult. Darn it.

It’s not unusual to feel ambivalent about moving to a new home in a new neighborhood. Mourning the close relationships, that are now long distant relationships, should be honored. Even if the move is nothing but a positive step forward, it’s not unusual to feel a little blue.

So here’s a short list of things to do to get into the groove of your new home quickly:

Set up a personal space for everyone.

Find the beds and get them made quickly so everyone has a comfortable nights sleep in their own bed. Hopefully, each person has a bag of personal stuff like toothbrushes and pajamas and a fresh pair of undies for the morning. Set out clean towels and make sure every bathroom has toilet paper and soap.

Set up a family space.

Everyone may feel a little off kilter so it’s important to have family time to keep balanced.  Set up the kitchen table and chairs or get the comfy sofa unpacked so you can meet and eat as a family.

Meet the neighbors

It’s important to get the house set up, but it may make you feel better about a new neighborhood if you get to know it. Let your kids take some breaks from unpacking to walk around, play a little basketball or ride bikes around the block. Have a picnic on your front lawn to encourage neighbors to drop by. Wave to everyone and shout a friendly hello. Your neighbors are probably looking out their windows wondering what excuse they can make to come over to meet yours. Make it easy for them.

Make daily tasks easier.

Buy paper dishes and eat TV dinners. Unpacking a house is a gargantuan task. Make it easier by eliminating some daily tasks like cooking and dishwashing. Make goals to unpack a certain amount of boxes or a specific room each day and then give yourself time off to rest your sore muscles and refresh your brain.

Get into your new routine

If you normally do laundry on Tuesday, do laundry on Tuesday. If you sleep in and Saturdays, sleep in on Saturdays. No one ever died from not unpacking boxes. Yes, it needs to be done, but look on the bright side, you may discover that there are things in the boxes you may not really need and you can just throw it out or take it to a thrift store. One less box of things to worry about.

Invite neighbors over

Even if your house isn’t completely put together, have a get-together. What cares if you have a sack of unpacked boxes in the corner. Print out a simple invitation and have a few neighbors over for a simple dinner or snacks. Walk them over personally and introduce yourself. Even if you don’t become fast friends, it will make it easier when you pass them on the street every day.

Keep busy

Until you’re settled in, it’s good to keep busy. Don’t give yourself too much time to sit and sulk. There will be plenty to do. If you find yourself getting blue in the evenings, find a project; hang pictures, rearrange your furniture, or shop for curtains. Include your kids in your projects, especially if they are having trouble finding friends.

Find where you fit in

Did you have a church you liked to attend at your old home? Take some time to find one in your area. Were your kids in 4-H? Find a club in your area. Doing familiar things will help you feel a part of your new neighborhood. If you can’t find something to do, consider volunteering. Stock shelves at a food bank, read to someone in a care center or offer to babysit. Doing things for others will help you focus on something more positive than how miserable you are.

According to the census, the average person moves 11 times in their lifetime. Your kids will take their cues from you.  If you’re anxious, they will be anxious. Try to focus on all the positive aspects. It may make you closer as a family. Your kids may find new confidence. You may find a great new friend. Take some time to think about everything that has improved and try to downplay the negative aspects.

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