Whether I've swapped homes, settled into a dorm room, checked into a hotel, or moved into a rental, there's always that moment, once all the boxes or bags have been moved in and the other people — whether movers, parents, taxicab drivers, or friends — are gone, that the door closes and I'm left wondering, now what?
Whether I'm going to be in a place for a few days or a few years, I've discovered that creating a landing strip near the front entrance quickly brings the sense of peace that is the essence of what home is to me. The landing strip is where I'll corral all that stuff — from my keys to my purse to the contents of my pockets — that comes into the house with me. It's also where I'll put the stuff — from directions to grocery lists — that I'll need to take with me when I run out the door (having it all here prevents that mad scramble to find them). Depending on my home's arrangement, this can be something as simple as a chair (in my house swap, I created one from a hanger and a wooden footstool), as basic as a closet, or as elaborate as a room with cubbyholes for each member of the family and a bench to sit on while putting on or taking off shoes. Taking a few moments to create this organized space brings a sense of order and control to an otherwise chaotic experience and ensures that, while the unpacking may take a while to complete, all of the key items I'm likely to need over the next few days will be in one place.
Image: Abigail Stone