With Halloween approaching fast, we decided it’s the perfect moment to explore the spookiest, funniest and most intriguing superstitions related to moving and to new homes.

Moving house is a life-defining event. It represents a new chapter and new beginnings. Throughout history, people tried to control this moment, to give it meaning and associate it with gestures and rituals intended to bring good luck and to fend off evil forces. Today, we call all those things superstitions.

Most of us no longer hold such beliefs, but why take chances with something as prone to disaster as moving? We were keen to investigate whether there is a little bit of truth behind the superstitions about moving – who knows, maybe there’s a good reason they became superstitions in the first place.

Learn how to protect your house from evil spirits and wicked forces!

1. Don’t Step on Cracks on Your Way to the New House!

The Myth: It refers to cracks in the pavement or in the ground – that’s where malevolent spirits reside. This pretty unique superstition is linked to several types of misfortunes, from the amount of china dishes you would break to releasing demons trapped in the underworld or your mother breaking her bones. Pretty heavy stuff, so avoid those cracks at all costs!

The Truth behind It: Well, stepping on cracks may not be a good idea if you’re carrying breakable items. You could stumble, drop and break everything, or you might even take a serious fall. Cracks can hide something dangerous, like a poisonous snake, for example, and it’s only natural that people have a deep psychological reluctance to stepping on them, hence this superstition.

The Origin: Folklorists assume that this belief reached the shores of the American continent with the first European settlers, but it really spread its wings here in the United States. There’s even a kids’ rhyme that enforces the taboo: “Step on a crack/You’ll break your mother’s back; Step on a line/You’ll break your father’s spine.”


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2. Never Walk under a Ladder!

The Myth: Apparently, this brings bad luck because that’s where the devil, bad spirits and/or different gods hang out. They get really annoyed when humans dare to cross their domain. This superstition is widespread throughout the world, and there may be a reason for that.

The Truth behind It: Walking under ladders is not safe: you might topple them, or someone on the ladder might drop something on your head. So many accidents probably happened throughout the ages that people concluded it’s bad luck without a doubt.

Its Origin: Although present in many cultures – which speaks volumes about what a universally bad idea walking under ladders actually is – the first mentions of this superstition come from ancient Egypt.

3. Don’t Step or Stand on the Threshold!

The Myth: Besides hanging out under ladders, demons also congregate on thresholds, and it’s not wise to disturb them. Some Chinese traditions even say that stepping on the threshold will result in a death in the family. Either way, you don’t want bad juju associated with your new home, so don’t linger as you enter it. Hopefully, your new home won’t have extremely wide thresholds!

The Truth behind It: Houses today have safe and stable thresholds, but it wasn’t always the case. In the past, the threshold was a slab of stone or a large piece of wood and oftentimes it was wobbly, creating the perfect scenario for accidents – thus the superstition about the bad things happening while stepping or sitting on it!

Its Origin: It’s a myth with mixed Western European and Chinese origins, and it’s most likely related to another extremely popular superstition, the one stating that the groom needs to carry the bride over the threshold of their new home.

4. When You Exit a New Home for the First Time, Use the Same Door You Entered By!

The Myth: Disregard the entry-exit order and bad luck will fall upon you. It seems that if you leave through a different door, your luck gets confused and it separates from you. But don’t worry – after that first exit, your luck will map the new place out and you’ll be free to use whichever door is more convenient.

The Truth behind It: It takes a little bit of time to become truly aware of new surroundings. This particular superstition urges people to watch their steps when in a new place.

Its Origin: This superstition originated in Ireland and is most popular in the Appalachian region of the United States. The same superstition can also be encountered throughout Russia and Eastern Europe.

5. Paint Your Porch Blue!

The Myth: this tradition from the Deep South of the US postulates that spirits can’t cross water, so painting the porch blue (thus making it look like water) will prevent said spirits from entering your home. At the very least, you’ll end up with a beautiful blue porch.

The Truth behind It: Bugs are deterred by cool colors like blue and green, and naturally attracted by bright colors like red and yellow. By painting the porch blue, you’re making sure that those pesky mosquitoes – little devils, actually! – stay away from your home.

Its Origin: The belief has Central-African origins and was brought to the US by the slaves working on southern plantations.

6. Hang a Mirror by the Entry Door!

The Myth: The story goes that the devil is extremely vain, and he will waste the entire night looking at his own reflection instead of doing his evil deeds. A mirror by the front door protects you from the devil….. and from going out with spinach stuck between your teeth – that’s a win-win!

The Truth behind It: The importance of a mirror located somewhere near the door cannot be understated. You want to look your best when you go into the world, and a strategically placed mirror will definitely help. The superstition is alive and well and very present in our daily lives: almost everyone has a mirror in the doorway area.

Its Origin: The myth goes back to Cajun County, from where it spread throughout the entire southern United States.

7. Don’t Bring Your Old Broom and Cleaning Cloths to the New House!

The Myth: Throw away the old broom and cleaning cloths or you’ll bring old drama, conflicts and the bad luck you “wiped away” into the new home. Start afresh, with new cleaning supplies – that’s objectively good advice, even if you’re not the superstitious type.

The Truth behind It: Old/dirty brooms and cloths don’t do a great job cleaning a new house, but there are also more serious implications. Generations ago, people must have noticed that, in times of diseases and epidemics, objects can carry the seeds of an illness, and that’s probably why they came up with taboos like this one.

Its Origin: The tradition comes from the Chinese feng shui philosophy.

8. Burn Dried Sage!

The Myth: The ancient and very popular habit of burning sage apparently cleanses a house of malefic spirits and bad energies. You’re supposed to let the smoke get into every corner of the house to reap maximum benefits.

The Truth behind It: Sage has well-known anti-bacterial properties and some scientific studies show that smoke of medicinal plants can reduce airborne bacteria in a room. So, in a way, sage can truly chase bad things away! Be careful, though – people with allergies and breathing issues could be sensitive to it and should wait outside until the smoke dissipates.

Its Origin: This is a highly revered Native American tradition.

9. Drop Coins on the Floor

The Myth: Scattering coins on the floors of your new house is meant to bring prosperity and wealth to the entire family. Slip coins under the welcome mat to keep bad luck from visiting. Additionally, you’ll have change on hand when you need it – simply pull out the living room rug and get some!

The Truth behind It: Well, the superstition doesn’t say that the owner of the new home should do the coin dropping. Most likely, this superstition started as an incentive for friends and family to help out the people who were moving with money. We all know how expensive that can be, so maybe you should share such timeless wisdom with your family and friends the next time you’re moving! Joking aside, pennies are a symbol of wealth and luck, and in old farms you can still find coins pressed into the mortar around the stones.

Its Origin: The tradition originates from Ireland and England.

10. Place Acorns on the Windowsill.

The Myth: Acorns placed on windowsills or in attics protect homes from lightning. The legend says that the god Thor sheltered from a thunderstorm under an oak tree, and since then all oaks and their seeds can offer protection from lighting.

The Truth behind It: Oaks live for hundreds of years, and people, trying to explain that endurance, invested them with magical powers. The bobbins at the ends of blinds cords are oftentimes shaped like acorns, a reminder of this long-held superstition. Acorn amulets are believed to not only protect homes but also people, bringing longevity, good health and good luck.

Its Origin: Northern European settlers brought the superstition, part of old Norse lore, to the US.

11. Bring Salt and Bread.

The Myth: The first items to bring into a new home are bread and salt, so that its occupants never experience hunger (hence the bread) and have a life full of flavor (thanks to the salt). You can also sprinkle salt on the threshold to protect the home from supernatural intruders.

The Truth behind It: Well, you obviously need something to eat on the day of the moving, and with all the chaos, it’s a good idea to be sure you have at least some bread and salt in the house. Throw in a little bit of butter or some cheese and you have a full meal. It’s very good advice and we should all follow it.

Its Origin: It’s a Jewish tradition that rose to popularity in Russia, Ukraine and throughout Eastern Europe, then made its way into the US. It’s still very popular in the regions mentioned above and employed mainly as a token of hospitality.

12. Light a Candle or a Chimney Fire.

The Myth: Fire is a powerful symbol in virtually all cultures around the world, representing strength, purity and the forces of good. This literal housewarming tradition – lighting a candle or a fire the first night in a new home – casts out darkness and brings joy into the lives of the owners.

The Truth behind It: It’s a bad idea to roam around a house you don’t really know yet in complete darkness. Better make some light. It seems obvious to us, but, in the old days, keeping a light on (a candle, chimney fire, or oil lamp) was expensive, and people kept those for essential activities like cooking and eating, not for simply hanging around. The myth is probably meant as an incentive for people to keep the house lit until they got familiarized with their new surroundings.

Its Origin: Folklorists attribute Western European origins to the myth, but it’s widespread through most cultures and societies.

Sometimes charming, sometimes amusing, and sometimes downright creepy, these superstitions carry, nonetheless, thousands of years of human emotions and experiences. They can still provide a sense of comfort and security. And, if comfort and security are a priority in your life, your next move might well be to find a storage unit with StorageCafea safe place for those valuable things you don’t need right now.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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