There’s always just a brief moment — the moment of that first step into your new place — in which you feel complete despair. You’re staring at the dull, bare walls, the dusty floors the prior tenant never swept, and wondering why you ever moved. Your old apartment felt like home: it had its problems, sure, but nonetheless it was a space that you could call your own. These rooms aren’t claimed by anyone; this place is just a shell, devoid of any life; it doesn’t even smell like you.

Resignedly you start to push some boxes around to clear some floorspace up, like it’s a bonus stage of Sokoban. You swiffer out the baseboard dust, start setting furniture in places that make sense, and try to give the space some shape. It seems to come together when the books go on the shelves, the curtains get hung up, and color starts to fill the walls. And after just a couple of weeks, you step in through the door and come to realize that this place kind of smells like you.

[Josh's new apartment]

[Josh's new apartment]