When you first move into a new house, it feels like just that — a house.
Without the years of memories, the familiar smells, and the comfortable mess, your new place hasn't yet earned the title of “home.”
However, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process of turning your new house into a home. Better yet, you don't have to spend a ton of cash to do it.
Here are five ways you can settle into your new house while sticking to a budget:
Before you unpack the kitchen or living room and hang the window treatments, make your bed. Moving is hard work, and you don't want to feel like a guest in the messiest hotel ever on your first night in the new house.
Assemble your bed and dress it in your favorite bedding so you get some much-needed quality sleep and wake up in a familiar setting. Best of all, setting up your bed and getting it ready doesn’t require you to spend a penny.
Before you get too comfortable, double-check your home's security.
Replacing the locks is one thing you should always do when moving into a new house, and thankfully, you don't have to hire a locksmith to get it done.
Don't forget to change the security code for your garage door and update other home security systems as well.
In an ideal world, your new home would be sparkling clean and smelling fresh from the moment you move in.
Unfortunately, reality doesn't always match the ideal and many homeowners have to clean up before settling in. Before unpacking boxes, sweep the floors and clean inside closets and cabinets. If the carpet is sporting dirty footprints from the move, spot treat with Good Housekeeping's simple detergent recipe.
If a deeper clean is needed, rent a carpet cleaner from a retailer such as Home Depot and use a coupon to score a discounted price.
Don't forget the air filters! There's no way to know when the previous owner last changed their furnace air filter, so replace it now to ensure your family is breathing clean air indoors.
It can take weeks to fully unpack and decorate a new house, but you shouldn't have to live in chaos in the meantime.
Prioritize unpacking the kitchen and main living area so your family has space to cook, relax, and enjoy a sense of normalcy while the house is in transition. While you shouldn't delay unpacking the rest for too long, sometimes it's nice to shut a door and forget about the mess of boxes on the other side.
This is also the time to finally hang the curtains and get some privacy from your new neighbors.
Window treatments are expensive; take accurate measurements so you don't accidentally buy the wrong size (Kohl's shows you how) and search for discounts and weekly deals from retailers like Target to save money on your purchase.
The grocery list on the refrigerator, the family photo on the mantel, the quilt draped over the armchair — these may not be the things you picture when you imagine home décor, but they're a big part of what makes a house feel homey.
If your new house still feels strange and sterile, hanging a few personal items brings warmth and familiarity to the space while you decide on an interior design scheme.
The best part: Decorating with things you own is 100 percent free.
As you settle into your new house, remember that everything doesn't need to be perfect right away. It takes time for a house to reveal itself to you and for you to fall into the patterns of everyday life.
By focusing on comfort and livability, rather than getting your decor just right, you spend less time making your house look like a home and more time making it feel like home.
Images via Unsplash