In the past six years, my family has lived in nine different houses. Not exactly typical, I know, but I've still managed to make each and every one of those houses feel like my family belonged there. If you're moving to a new house and need to make it feel a little more like your own, try these simple tips for instantly turning a house into a family home.

1. Pull out the pictures.

Whether you hang them on the walls or place them on shelves, family photos are a great way to make a house feel like your own. I have several photo collages capturing our favorite family moments that I always hang in the hallway where they can be seen on a daily basis. For me, it's a nice way to merge our family's past and present.

2. Organize the essentials.

It's hard to feel at home when you're living out of boxes. Instead of feeling overwhelmed trying to unpack everything at once, pull out a few key items โ€” a week's worth of clothes for each family member, a favorite toy, necessary toiletries, etc. โ€” and use mesh bins or baskets to keep them organized in the appropriate room of the house.

The system won't be permanent, but it will make life run more smoothly as you slowly start to settle in.

3. Embrace your knick-knacks.

Sure, it's nice to have furniture, but sometimes it's the smaller, seemingly insignificant items in our lives that provide the sense of continuity and security a family needs. For example, I always "decorate" by hangng my magnets on the fridge and my calendar on a wall, and pull out my pretty, decorative towels for both the kitchen and bathroom as soon as possible.

4. Create a command center.

Even if it's just your kitchen table, you'll need a place to put important papers and documents so they don't get lost. Personally, I use a set of file folders and keep them inside a designated tote bag. Before, during, and immediately after a move, anything important goes in a folder or that bag.

This makeshift command center is where I stash everything from school papers to bills to cell phone chargers. Eventually, those items will find their own place in my new home, but in the interim, I always know where to find them.

5. Look to the future.

It's easy to be nostalgic for the past, but a new home also represents a wonderful opportunity to look to the future and let go of old possessions that don't fit your new life. Why not head to the store to shop for a few key new pieces you absolutely love? Invest in a new bedspread to replace the one that pre-dates your kids, or some fun, new accessories to help organize and streamline your new kitchen.

Our homes are a visual reflection of who we are โ€” what we value and how we choose to live. And when your house feels both beautiful and functional, you'll be well on your way to truly being at home.