Whether we’re moving within Houston, from across the country, or from across the ocean, packing and unpacking everything we own tends to throw us for a loop. The goal of all unpacking tips, then, should be to make your new Houston apartment feel like home as soon as possible. Here are more moving tips collected from our blog and around the internet with the focus on making your Houston apartment a true home:

Make it Your Own

Although most landlords don’t allow many (if any) permanent changes in their apartments, there are quite a few temporary ways to bring your own style to walls, floors, and fixtures. Most such projects are easiest to do before you unpack. If your landlord allows you to paint the walls, a few accent walls can make a big difference. We also have a post on temporary floor treatments that go way beyond area rugs. Also look for small details you can make your own. It’s fairly simple to install your own shower head, toilet seat, towel rack, light switch plates, light fixture covers, drawer knobs, and cabinet handles. Save the originals to put back when you’re ready to move on.

Bring life in — literally!

Healthy plant life makes any home more colorful, adds beautiful fragrances, and can even help purify the air. You can easily pick up a few bunches of fresh flowers from your local grocery store or florist, and set them in water in whatever container is easiest to unpack. For a longer-lasting spark of life, add potted plants. If you’d like to use plants brighten up a room that doesn’t get much sunlight, this slideshow from Martha Stewart will teach you how to analyze the light level in any room, then choose the plants that will thrive in that spot.

Unpack in an order that will give you homey spaces from the start.

Lists of unpacking tips all over the Internet begin with, “Unpack as fast as you can!” This is great advice, but it’s not always possible to unpack everything in the first day or even the first week. Prioritizing is the key to making your Houston apartment feel like home faster. Focus on unpacking the spaces you’ll need most to feel comfortable in your new home. Apartment Therapy suggests unpacking room by room, in this order: bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, then dining room.
Apartment Guide’s post, “How to Feel at Home in Your New Apartment Quickly,” suggests a finer-tuned, more emotion-focused order: Set up your bed first, and make it up with sheets and blankets and pillows, all ready for a good night’s sleep. Add anything else you need around the bed for a comfortable bedtime routine — maybe a nightstand, a reading lamp, books, or photos. Once that’s ready, before you finish unpacking the bedroom, set up everything in the bathroom and kitchen that you need to do the things that make you feel like yourself. For example, get everything out for bedtime brushing and flossing, a morning shower, coffee, and breakfast. The next step is to clear paths through the still-packed boxes, so you can move from room to room without frustration.

Of course, feeling at home in your new Houston apartment is all about making the place your own, so your apartment unpacking process will be unique to you. Think about what matters most to you: What details really make you feel like you’re finally home? What smells like home? What brings you the most comfort? First unpack the things you love most, so they can start bringing you joy again right away.