Moving with a Clean Slate

Moving represents new beginnings, possibility and change. It's a chance to try something new — neighborhood, a layout, a living situation. It's a fresh set up and a time to re-evaluate how you're using your space. And the first step is by starting with a clean foundation physically and emotionally. After all, there are no big deals in life except for death, divorce and moving.

I've moved out of one parent's house into a dorm, in with another parent, through to apartments where I lived solo, in with a boyfriend, and out of that house. And now I'm on my own. Here's what I've learned about the opportunities inherent in moving, no matter the circumstances.

1. Baggage: Moving can be exciting but it can also be fraught with emotional or physical baggage. When I moved out of the house I shared with the bf, I purged. I didn't move the things that didn't make me happy. It was a physical purge but also a chance to really thoughtfully consider what I wanted to bring with me into a new space and a new chapter. I let go of clothes I hadn't worn in over a year, didn't pack anything that was broken or needed repair, and I let go of anything that left me with pangs of negative emotion. In the same way, when I first moved away to college, I made sure to pack light. It was more important to me to have the necessities and more time to hang out than having a ton of stuff in a tiny space that I needed to manage. This left me more open to new experiences.

2. Layout. Before I move anything into a new space, I consider how I'm going to be living in it and that means layout. Now I mainly work from home and so my living room needed to serve two functions: living space and work space. That meant bye bye dining room and hello eating at the coffee table. It wasn't an easy decision, but I decided it made more sense to have a couch and a place to lounge with friends in a new space living on my own than to use the living room as a giant dining room and office. I knew it would be important to be surrounded by friends so a couch was key. Knowing where it was all going also helped me to purge stuff while packing.

3. Cleaning the new space. Before I move in I like to clean with my own soaps for a good smell and a solidly clean foundation. That means mopping, cleaning cabinets, (adding shelf paper) and cleaning the bathroom.

4. Ritual. Some people like to burn sage as a way of starting fresh in a new space. That might be too airy fairy for you, but whatever you decide, try adding a ritual to moving. It could be getting the kitchen set up first so that you can have a first meal your first night at home, or it could be having friends over for a glass of wine. It could be sitting quietly in the one of the empty rooms and imaging your life there, or baking cookies for the neighbors. Rituals help mark important moments in life and moving often represents change and possibility.

MORE APARTMENT THERAPY POSTS TO HELP YOU STRIKE OUT ON YOUR OWN
The Best Fresh Start: Vipassana and Design
5 Ways To Make A Fresh Start in an Old Home
Fresh Start: Moving in and Getting Organized
Moving Out: A Top Secret Note To New Tenants

Image: Laure Joliet