13 Ways to Minimize Moving Stress

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list while preparing for a move, don’t worry—it’s normal to feel stressed or anxious. There are a number of things you can do to cope with moving stress. Here are 13 common tactics.

1. Start early.

The key to a stress free move is to start planning your move and accumulating packing supplies as soon as you can. Moving is one of the most stressful life events, especially if you’ve landed a new job and you have to act fast to get everything organized and ready to go, but starting your packing process as early as possible can help alleviate some of the pressure.

If you have time, try to give yourself 8-9 weeks to plan and prepare. You’ll be surprised at how much time it actually takes to get packed up, and the more lead time you allow yourself, the more flexibility you’ll have if something goes wrong or if you forget to do something.

2. Plan!

Procrastinators, this tip is for you. Moving is not the time to put off those annoying tasks on your to-do list!

Make a list of everything you need to accomplish before you move, create a schedule with deadlines, and stick to it. There’s more to do than just packing, and making a list will help you iron out exactly what needs to be done, as well as prioritize tasks.

PRO TIP: Make a backup plan in case something goes wrong during the moving process. You don’t need to go as far as booking a standby moving service, but if your movers bail, having a list of alternative companies or truck rental agencies can help alleviate some stress.

Budgeting for your move is another important part of planning your relocation. A moving budget makes it easier to accurately track your expenses and keep your costs low.

Planning Resources

3. Declutter

Clutter on its own is stressful enough. Minimizing your belongings before you move can bring you some much-needed relief and kickstart the packing process - not to mention lower the cost of your move.

Planning ahead is always key and it’s all about preparation, from knowing what will be with you on moving day in your car to going through your belongings and eliminating the things you no longer need and/or use in your day-to-day life or on special occasions. This would be the perfect time to donate your unused items to the less fortunate. This will free up needed space for your move, and it’s useful in keeping your moving costs down too. Why move things that you no longer need? Know that this planning needs to be done well in advance.” - Lynn Pineda, Florida Realtor

Start by decluttering your storage areas, like closets and pantries. These can be treasure troves of unused goods that are perfect candidates for selling, donating, or trashing.

4. Pack smart

Packing systematically makes it easier to keep track of your belongings, and it also streamlines the unpacking process once you arrive at your new place. One of the most efficient ways to pack is to go room-by-room. Start with rooms you use less frequently, and finish up by packing away high-traffic spaces like your kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.

As you pack each box, give it a number and take note of what you pack inside. Keeping an inventory as you pack will help you find any items you might need along the way. Label your boxes according to room so your friends or movers know where to put the box after unloading it. Color code your boxes with markers or tape to make unpacking even easier.

Get packing with our room by room guides:

5. Stock up on supplies

Running out of something like tape and having to take the time to run to the store for more adds unnecessary stress to the moving process. Before you start packing, make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need, including tape and tape dispensers, markers, moving blankets, and other moving equipment.

Retailers like grocery, liquor, or wholesale stores are great resources for heavy-duty boxes. You can also pick up a moving kit that contains all the necessary tools and equipment for your move.

6. Do your research

If you’re moving bulky or valuable items, do some online research to find the best way to move these pieces before your moving day rolls around. That way, you won’t have to worry as much about whether or not you’re properly prepared for your moving day, or about your items getting damaged in transit. You should also ask your moving company (if you hired one) about how to prepare your heavy, bulky, or expensive furniture before your movers are due to arrive.

7. Protect your valuables

The last thing you want to worry about on your moving day is where your valuable or sentimental items are. Store or pack your valuables in a well-guarded location, such as on your person, and move them yourself - your movers probably don’t want to do it anyway.

8. Ask for help

Many hands make light work! Most people have moved at some point in their life, and they know how stressful it can be. Even if you don’t need help actually moving your stuff to your new place, ask your family and friends to help you sort and pack; in addition to lightening your load, it’s also a great opportunity to spend some quality time together.

If you have pets or children, ask family or friends to take care of them for the day, or hire a sitter.

9. Hire movers

If you have a lot of stuff, are moving long distance, or simply don’t want to worry about the hassle of loading and unloading your stuff, hire movers. That way, you won’t have to worry about doing any heavy lifting or navigating the roads in a large, heavy truck you aren’t familiar with. Plus, a professional moving service will get the job done much quicker than you can.

10. Take care of yourself

Be prepared to feel uprooted—moving is chaotic no matter how you look at it. But if you try to maintain your normal routine as much as possible, make sure you get enough sleep, and eat well, you’ll be in a better state of mind to navigate the chaos.

Don’t feel guilty about taking time out to do things you like. It can be tempting to neglect your hobbies and interests while you move, but it’s important to spend time doing what you enjoy. If you have kids, make sure they have a chance to pursue their own interests as well.

11. Take care of your kids

Moving can be especially stressful for kids. Having a plan for how you'll tell them about the move, involving them in the moving process, and helping them along the way can alleviate some of their anxiety.

12. Make sure you have everything you need on moving day

Keeping essentials like your ID, cash, medications, and chargers handy can help reduce your stress when moving day arrives. A good way to make sure you keep aside everything you’ll need is to pack a suitcase similar to how you would if you were going on vacation, including all the essentials you’ll need for a couple of days, such as changes of clothes and any necessary toiletries.

13. Research your new town

Moving somewhere new can be scary, especially if you’re moving on your own. Before you go, do a little research and find out what kinds of fun things your new home has to offer, like restaurants, festivals, sports leagues, or other organizations you can get involved with.

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