Regardless of whether you’re excited and eager to move to your new home or reluctant to embrace this unexpected and sometimes unwelcome event, moving can be an extremely stressful time. There are so many variables to keep track of, as well as time constraints and an often seemingly-unending to-do list, not to mention the mystery of how you managed to accumulate so much stuff (that you now have to pack...and then unpack again!). Try these tips to smooth the transition and make it a little less stressful:
1. Start Early
Every major move should be given a cushion of time in case anything goes wrong or you forget to cross something off your to-do list. Things can quickly spiral and cause all sorts of delays, so if you can, allow yourself a little breathing room by starting earlier than you think is necessary. That way, the worst possible outcome is that you’re ready early or on time rather than running behind, which can end up costing you more money.
|PRO TIP: Give yourself at least eight or nine weeks lead time and set weekly deadlines to keep yourself on track.
2. Make a Plan & Get Organized
Packing without a plan is inefficient and often makes unpacking more difficult. Make a plan of attack that allows you to move methodically through your house so you aren’t wasting time doubling back to finish up an area or searching for something you need. Here are a few tips to get you on track:
- Make a to-do list including every task that needs to be completed. Sort the list by week, and make sure you stick to it.
- Whether you do it room-by-room as you pack or all at once, decluttering should be one of the first items on your to-do list because it will help you get organized and make packing easier. Garage sales are a great way to de-clutter.
- Figure out what things you will need within 24 hours of arriving at your new home, and set aside a suitcase of those necessary items, including a few changes of clothes, toiletries, and medications.
- Chunk your time and use each time block to focus on a single room or section of your house - packing and de-cluttering no other areas for that period.
- Start with rooms and items you use the least. Pack them entirely into clearly labelled boxes before moving on to the next space.
3. Make a Backup Plan
In an ideal world, everything would go smoothly and as-planned, but more often than not people run into minor issues at some point during a move. After you’re finished making your plan and getting organized, it’s a good idea to have a few back ups in place in the event that something does fall through. Even if you never end up needing them, knowing that you have alternative options available will make you feel more relaxed throughout the move.
|PRO TIP: Have the contact information of a backup mover, rental agency, hotel, storage facility, and some reliable family or friends with access to vehicles on hand.
4. Hire Professionals
Hiring a professional moving company to pack up your stuff, load it into the truck, and unload it into the proper rooms at your new home can really take the stress out of moving. It takes most of the pressure off you during an intense time and allows you to focus on other aspects of the move, like notifying credit card companies and the post office of your new address.
5. Take Care of Yourself
On top of requiring lots of planning and organization, moving is often a major life change. You may not be attached to your current home or even be moving that far away, and maybe you’re actually excited to move and start fresh, but you’re still packing up your life and making a change. It can be an emotional and overwhelming time, and it’s important to recognize this and take steps to care for yourself and anyone relying on you:
- Get enough sleep.
- Eat well and don’t skip meals.
- Take breaks and do something you enjoy to relax.
- Express your feelings by writing in a journal or confiding in someone you trust.
- Treat yourself to a nice dinner, massage, or item you’ve had your eye on for a while.
- Create a sanctuary where you can go to de-stress, and leave important items unpacked, like your yoga mat or favorite chair and book.
- Expect that you will feel tense and unhappy at times and don’t get down on yourself for it.
6. Ask for Help
Before you start feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you don’t know anyone nearby or if local friends and family aren’t available, check out apps like TaskRabbit to find someone to help you pack, load or unload a truck, and put together furniture. Whether it comes from friends, family, neighbors or someone you hire, asking for assistance before you get overwhelmed is always a good idea.
7. Research Your New Residence
Gathering information about your new place of residence can help you feel more prepared and less on edge. You may already know all about your new house or apartment, but learning more about the neighborhood, events, activities, entertainment, and restaurants in town can help you feel less stressed and more excited about all the things you have to look forward to. To make things easier once you arrive, identify the nearest convenience store, grocery store, pharmacy, and other important nearby shops, such as a good local pizza place.
|PRO TIP: If you’re moving on a long weekend, research how that will affect local operations. Find out which stores will be closed and plan accordingly.
8. Plan Your Goodbyes
Even if you aren’t going far, there are people you will have to say goodbye to. Sometimes it’s just a good neighbor you might lose touch with, but occasionally it’s best friends or family members. Even with the internet and instant messaging, staying in touch can be tricky when you’re living on the other side of the country, so make sure you set aside time to properly say goodbye to those who mean the most to you. Moving is emotionally draining, so you may want to start saying your goodbyes early so as not to wear yourself out.
Every move is bound to bring on some stress, but there are a number of ways for you to cope with a tough transition. Simplify the process when you can and make sure you take time for yourself. If you start to feel overwhelmed, just remember that you’ll get through it and start to settle into your new home and routine.