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How to Throw a House Cooling Party

Cool-off your last home before warming up to your new one.
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When I left New York City, it was a quick turnaround. With two weeks' notice, I had to finish projects at my previous job, pack up an apartment, find a new apartment, sell furniture, make sure my cat wasn't having a heart attack, and say goodbye to all of my friends. Any one of those things would have been overwhelming, but doing everything all at once was nearly impossible.

In an act of desperation at the end of Week Two, I decided to combine several to-do list items into one: I sent out an email to everyone I knew and invited them over the night before our move with the promise of a full bar cart and the hippest party venue in town (my packed-up living room). The only request? Bring your own mixer—and uh, help us pack, just a little bit. 

In the interest of ease, my boyfriend and I picked up bags of ice and filled our bathtub and sink with them. In went twenty bottles worth of our latest attempt at home brewing, the bottle of gin we'd bought two parties ago, and the wine we'd been saving for a special occasion, but didn't make sense to bring on a cross-country drive. When the first guests arrived, we were still packing the final boxes, so free alcohol in exchange for ten minutes of labor sounded like a fair trade. The next wave of friends brought pizza, and soon I found myself sitting on my living room floor drinking from the $20 bottle of Danish beer I'd splurged on months before, surrounded by nearly everyone I'd met and loved during my two years in New York.

After two years of throwing countless "grown-up" dinner parties, with carefully calculated menus—including a housewarming party when we moved into the apartment—this was my favorite gathering of all. The moving boxes eliminated the need to dress up or show off in any way (my party outfit was a high school varsity team t-shirt and shorts) and created an environment that put everyone at ease. Some friends slept over to help with the UHaul the next morning, while others stayed for only a drink. The constant flow of people and chatter that filled my apartment was the perfect way to honor all of the memories we'd had there and while I hope there aren't too many more cross-country moves in my future, there won't be a home I leave without first throwing a "house cooling."

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