While most people agree that moving is stressful, there are ways to ensure you have a much less stressful move than you thought possible. There are lots of ways to reduce the stress of moving so you can enjoy the moment, look forward to the change and know that this move can be a positive and rewarding experience—a chance to start over.
Give Yourself Time
Time is not always in your control. Sometimes a move sneaks up on you, forcing you to move last minute, and you have to act fast. Sometimes you have a plan and it falls apart and you have to come up with a new one on the fly. If you can plan, try to allow yourself at least eight weeks. It’s best to plan for 12, especially if you need to hire movers and/or if you’re planning a summer move. But everything can be done without too much stress within eight weeks.
To stay organized during your move, make a list of all the tasks you need to do, then divide them into weeks, allowing yourself enough days to complete everything on that week’s list. If you’re unsure where to start, check out an eight-week plan online that will ensure you stay on track.
Clear Out the Clutter
It’s best to tackle this one first: getting rid of the clutter will help you be, and feel, more organized. It will also ensure that when you begin packing, you’ll only be packing the things that you need to. There’s nothing more frustrating than packing items you’re going to get rid of after the move.
Ask for Help
Sometimes it’s difficult to ask for help. But remember, most people have been through at least one move in their lives and understand how hard it can be. Reach out. Ask friends and family if they can spare a couple of hours to help you sort, pack or move. If you’re moving far away, this could be one of the last opportunities you have to spend time together.
Allow yourself the time to say goodbye. Throw a party. Invite friends out for dinner. Take an hour every day to walk through your neighbourhood. Visit one favourite spot every day. Feel the memories and allow yourself to relive them one more time. This will also help with the transition from the old to the new and give you some much needed time to enjoy the moment.
During a stressful time like a move, you might feel that there’s enough time to get all the tasks done, but you might end up neglecting your own needs and health. You might go without enough sleep, spend long days packing without taking breaks, and end up eating junk food just to save on cooking time. While it may seem like you’re being efficient with your time, you’re also neglecting the most important moving tool that you have: yourself.
If you have children, treat them as well. Plan special evenings out to visit their favourite ice cream shop or restaurant or playground. Kids require special handling during a move; they’ll need time from you and patience.
Get Enough Sleep and Eat Well
These two items are first on the list of items that are ignored, yet, they are the most important factors in keeping you healthy and happy. So make sure you’re getting enough sleep and that you’re eating a balanced diet. Don’t skip meals and try not to live on coffee (although it can be difficult not to!).
Go With the Flow
Even if you’re the most organized mover ever, things will still go wrong. Unplanned events will happen, so you need to be flexible and allow yourself some extra breathing room to deal with these problems. Maybe return to your task list and timeline and work in some extra days if you can. Allowing for some wiggle room will ensure that you can adjust and feel calm even when chaos abounds.
Have a Back-Up Plan
Now, you don’t need a full back-up plan, but you should have a list of options should some of the major pieces of your move fall out of place. For instance, it’s best to keep a short list of back-up movers and rental agencies, just in case. You should also allow a few days on either end of your move out/move-in day should your moving company cancel or not show up. This can happen even though it’s rare. Plan for alternatives. You’ll feel better knowing that your uncle and his two-ton truck are available should you need it.
Be Prepared to Feel Uprooted
You’re going to be living in chaos for a while, with boxes everywhere and things feeling out of control. It’s normal to be upset when you can’t find the spatula or the crockpot; just remember to consult your lists and know that you’re organized and on track for this move. You’ve done the work, and even though there’s still more to go, it will get done.
And when you move into your new home, also remember that it’ll take a while for this new space to feel like your own—for you and your family to settle in. Give it time.
And remember to breathe.