13 Tips for Being Happy in Your New Home

PlayFamilyHouseornamentI've heard that a lot of people are giving Happier at Home as a gift to someone with a new home-recent grad, new roommate, newlywed, newly divorced, empty nester, downsizer, upsizer, new baby, new city. At times of transition like these, we give special thought to what we want from "home." So, to make such a gift a little more special, I'm creating a card about "Tips for being happy in your new home" that I can sign and mail to anyone who wants it.

Here's what I've written. What should I add?

Remember to take advantage of the features that you drew you to your home. Take time to light a fire in the fireplace, have coffee on the patio, take a bath in the beautiful tub.

Make your bed.

Be a tourist without leaving home. A tourist reads and studies, a tourist shows up, a tourist looks at things with fresh eyes.

Someplace, keep an empty shelf; someplace, keep a junk drawer.

Enjoy the good smells of home. Take a moment to appreciate the fragrance of a grapefruit or freshly laundered towels.

If something's important to you, make a space for it in your home. Build a shrine to music, to arts and crafts, to family.

Moving to a new home is a rare opportunity to build good habits and break bad habits. Start going for a walk every morning, or quit smoking, as part of your new routine.

Always put your wallet and keys away in the same place.

Except for holiday decorations, seasonal items, and hand-me-downs that will be used in the next few years, be very wary of "storing" things. If you plan to store it away in an inaccessible place, why are you keeping it?

Every room should include something purple.

Shelf by shelf, drawer by drawer, ask yourself: Do we need this thing? Do we love this thing? Do we use this thing? If not, consider tossing, recycling, or donating it.

No one regrets replacing a burned-out light-bulb.

Give a warm greeting or farewell every time someone comes or goes from your home.

What have I left out? What would you add?

Note about the photo: this is a Christmas ornament in the shape of a miniature Fisher-Price "Play Family" house-just like the one that my sister and I played with throughout our childhoods, and that my daughters play with when we visit Kansas City. I took the photo for Happier at Home; this ornament is one of my mementos from the project of writing the book.

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