Let’s be honest: Moving is stressful. Everything about it, from the uncertainties of selling and buying a home to the chaos of having your life packed in boxes, is stressful. Admitting that up front is a first step to making it less stressful. Here are ten tips for cutting down the stress of moving.
First, go into it with a plan. This will give you a framework to function within, as well as deadlines to meet. Not having a plan creates more chaos, fights and stress, as well as sleepless nights while you desperately try and get everything packed. With a plan, you can keep your move organized and make progress toward one of the most important goals: Being packed and ready when the movers arrive.
Create to-do lists and a schedule to keep your plan on track. Post it prominently. Cross items off when they’re done. You’ll be able to see how much progress you’re making, rather than obsessing over how much you have to do.
Don’t try and do everything for the family move by yourself. Lean on your partner, and assign tasks to all family members, even school-age kids. You may need to create sticks and carrots so they’ll finish them, but at least you won’t have to pack the whole house yourself.
Ask for help. While it’s true that no one really wants to carry heavy stuff on moving day, that doesn’t mean your friends and extended family won’t help with some of the other tasks. Need someone to watch the kids while you pack, pick up some extra boxes, or to help out at a garage sale? Ask.
Hire help. Hiring movers is one of the best things you can do to destress your move, but you can also hire people to pack, unpack, and clean your house after you move out. If you can afford it, you can even hire a moving coordinator who will manage and oversee your entire move.
Let things go. Part of the stress of moving is suddenly realizing how much you own, and wondering how on earth you’ll get it packed, to say nothing of how it will fit into your new home. Let go of feeling like you have to be the custodian of all these things. Decide which items you need, which you like, and which you treasure, and let much of the rest go, either as a donation, selling it, or giving it away. Pro tip: If you donate items, choose a charity that will do a pick up, reducing the amount of work you need to do.
Take breaks. It’s easy to let your move takeover your life, so take breaks from it. Plan some afternoons and evenings where you do nothing for the move, instead spending time with your spouse, kids, or friends. And do not feel guilty about the break. You will be able to accomplish all your move tasks more effectively if you are mentally and physically refreshed.
Embrace the adventure. Moving across country or to a new city is full of new opportunities and experiences, so embrace them. Make plans to explore your new city, check out the local foods and delicacies (every city has them), and join in local traditions. Thinking about the things you want to do will mean less time getting stressed out about some of the downsides to moving, like having to start over on your social network, not knowing your way around, and what could go wrong with the move.
Remind yourself that this is temporary. Moving feels like a lifetime, but for most people, a move is two or three months out of their life. You will get to your destination, your belongings will arrive, and you will stop living out of suitcases and boxes. Remembering that can diminish the inconvenience of those first few days.
Keep up your exercise routine as much as possible through the packing, moving day, while you’re waiting for your truck, and unpacking. Besides keeping you in shape, physical activity has been shown to reduce stress. If your exercise equipment is packed away, find a replacement activity to do until you’re set up in your new home. If you aren’t into regular exercise, taking a brisk fifteen minute walk will help clear your head and give you a break from moving chores.