The One Thing I Always Forget To Do Before I Move (And Later Regret)

Living room

 Arbor & Co.

If you’re like me, you start envisioning how you’re going to arrange your furniture before you’ve even signed the lease. Maybe you browse Zillow just for fun because you enjoy thinking about all the possibilities. And creating your ideal space is not just a challenge, it's a point of pride. So, after all the work you’ve put into it, why wouldn’t you want to document it?

I know this and yet I’ve moved three times since getting my first apartment and repeatedly make the same mistake: I don’t take enough photos of my home. 

Granted, I can still do a visual walkthrough in my head and remember the general layout. I can picture the fun gallery wall I created behind my couch or the wall I covered in fabric with liquid starch. I even have some photos of people where my décor is visible in the background. But none of these are the same as having pictures where my décor is the star, and I know that as time goes on, I will start to forget some of the smaller details as my brain makes room for more important and more current information.

Now I make an effort to photograph my home at different intervals and for special occasions. It’s not for Instagram or a blog or anyone really—it’s just for me. I enjoy reminiscing and seeing how my style has changed or how I used the same items in different ways in new places. It’s a window into the past and I imagine it will be even more fun to look back on decades from now.

Interested in doing the same? Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way:

You Don't Have to Photograph the Entire Home at Once

In my experience, the stars have to align perfectly for every single room to be spotless and styled just how you want it. Trying to get your home to that point can make this task feel overwhelming and is a good reason to put it off. Instead, do it in chunks. Just did a deep clean of the kitchen? Snap a few photos before the dishes pile up again. 

If you want to get really into it, you can make a list of the rooms or scenes you want to capture and check them off as you go. Just keep in mind that some areas, like your kitchen or bathroom, may not change all that much, but your living room, where you’re swapping out rugs or restyling the shelves could, so you may want to take more pictures in one area more frequently. 

Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good

If you’re waiting until your space is “finished” to take pictures, you could be waiting a very long time. Enjoy the process. Photographing at different stages also gives you a chance to reflect on how far you’ve come which is especially encouraging with those bigger projects like home renovations.

Put It in Your Calendar 

It might sound like overkill, but actually having a note in my calendar every six months or so does help me remember. Even if you don’t get to it on that exact day or even that week, it’s a reminder that this is a personal priority and you should make time for it.

Capture Vignettes

Getting the lay of the land with a panoramic room shot is great, but I also like focusing in on the parts that tell more of my home’s story—like the cozy reading nook and whatever book I’m into currently or the beautiful tray in my closet filled with perfumes that makes me smile whenever I look at it. Those are the things that are more likely to become fuzzy over time, but also represent “you” in that moment. They also tend to be some of the more fun and visually interesting things to photograph.

Get Inspired

Even if the point is not to post your photos, I enjoy seeing how others share their home and it gives me ideas for how to document mine. Bloggers, influencers and Pinterest are all great resources. 

Shoot at Different Times of Year and on Special Occasions

My home looks different around Halloween than it does at Christmas and even varies season to season. Also, whenever I have a party, I try to take a few minutes before everyone arrives to snap a few photos of the cheeseboard or the bar set up so I can remember what it was like to entertain in my space and enjoy it with my favorite people.