Getting the most out of your living space after a move

Happy New Year! This year truly feels like a blank slate. We’re kicking off 2019 in a new house, new town, and newish job for me. I’m a believer that change can be positive because it brings new opportunities, but it’s also scary. Settling into a new environment is a daunting task, and deciding where to start can be overwhelming, so I thought I’d share my secret to surviving the move-in process.

I’ve learned after moving a few times that creating a relaxing space in the midst of unpacking is very important, and it’s a good starting point. When I’m surrounded by a mountain of boxes, and nothing is where it should be, it’s not easy for me to take a break. I just stare at all the work looming over me with a thousand ideas in my head about what to do, and it’s stressful. I want to go, go, go! I don’t want to stop until it’s done, and our house is perfect, and we all live happily ever after! So in order to keep my sanity, I need one space to be mostly unpacked and functional. The rest of unpacking is much easier if I have a chaos-free area to retreat to.


Since the majority of our time is spent in the living room, that is where I focused most of my energy unpacking. And look! All the boxes are out of the way! Sure, I still need to decide where to put some stuff, hang pictures on the wall, maybe buy a few things, but it’s a comfortable functioning room now!If you’re wondering how I reached this point, I’ve broken it down into a few simple steps. So if you’re in the process of moving, or just want to restore some order in your home, I hope this is a helpful guide.

Designate a junk area

This might seem like a counter-productive step, but when you’re unpacking there will be mess, and that’s ok. They key is managing the mess by picking a spot to stash empty boxes, packing material, and other clutter.

Remove what’s unnecessary

Like most homes, the living room in our house is the closest room to the front door, and therefore it was where all our boxes and possessions were deposited when we first moved in. You couldn’t see the floor in here to start with. The first task was to take out all the boxes that did not say ‘living room’ on them. Once the items that didn’t belong in here were removed, we could start thinking about how to arrange what was left.

Keep a clear pathway


Don’t dive into arranging furniture without considering traffic flow! In some rooms, this is an easy one, but for us it was the topic of a few debates. One of our walls is divided in half by the only entrance to the living room, and it made the space feel pretty awkward at first. We weren’t sure if anything would actually fit on this wall until we moved in, and shuffled furniture around to test what would work.

Identify focal points


Identify the permanent focal points in a room like windows, fireplaces, doors, etc. This is a good starting point when deciding how to arrange other focal points like artwork and the TV. Don’t spend days agonising over the placement of furnishings. Furniture can always be moved. My rule of thumb is to limit yourself to one main focus on each wall (unless the room you are working with is pretty spacious). The bay window and fireplace are the focus points on two of the walls in our living room, so I tired to put furniture near them that would compliment them rather than compete with them. My goal for the fireplace wall is to get rid of that wooden cabinet (it belongs to the landlord), and have shelving on either side of the fireplace.

Connect the TV

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Home is where the wifi connects, and where you watch hours of Netflix without shame. Many homes come with a designated TV spot where the cables are, so deciding on placement isn’t always difficult. Unless you are me, the queen of difficult. Our TV cables are in the corner by the fireplace where the giant wooden cabinet is. There isn’t even a power outlet where we actually put the TV, but it’s obviously the best spot for it – according to me anyway. So Andrew, the technology wizard, bought an extra long extension cord and made this work Tim Gunn style.

Give yourself a break

Once you have a functional space, enjoy it! Don’t worry about perfect styling or hiding cords for now. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for surviving a move, and watch a good show. 🙂


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