We all know that moving can be one of the most stressful times. And while I am a firm supporter of moving, by trade, I understand that the process itself can be overwhelming for some. Even those of us that feel that we purge regularly and keep household items organized and live a minimalist lifestyle can be surprised at the amount of 'stuff' accumulated when it comes time to pack it and move it. Personally, I blame my family, they are an untamed group of hoarders who work behind the scenes to hide things from me - but that's for another blog.
Whatever the case, if you are the one that holds onto things, if you simply require a lot of stuff, or if your family is a gaggle of pack rats these tips may help reduce your stress to a manageable level.
Tip 1: It's Okay to Not be Okay
Moving is stressful for a reason. It requires additional time, costs a lot of money, and can be disruptive to regular routines. Understanding why you feel stressed and giving yourself a pass on feeling less than perfect can go a long way to managing your anxiety. Even when moving makes the most sense for financial reasons or family needs it doesn't mean that you won't feel increased pressure to get things done. It's okay to be off, yell at your spouse, or take some time to rebalance and relax.
Tip 2: Splurge on Proper Moving Boxes
Not every budget allows it but if yours does, don't skimp. Hit up the nearest moving supply store and arm yourself with enough boxes, packing paper, and tape to make packing as painless as possible. Label your boxes so that they go to the correct room in your new place. Mark fragile items accordingly. If professional moving boxes are financially out of reach, take the time to hit up a variety of local stores for their boxes destined for the recycling bin. Choose a variety of sizes that can be neatly stacked and allow for easy packing of irregular sized items. Stay away from weird boxes that don't properly close (think banana boxes without a full top) as this makes stacking them in the moving truck harder.
Tip 3: Hire Professional Movers
Again, not for every budget but if yours stretches to movers make sure they come recommended and have great reviews. Your Realtor and friends who have recently moved should have some great suggestions on this. Not all movers are the same. Make sure the ones you choose are reliable, have lots of actual experience that you can verify, and provide a quote that they stand behind.
If you are skipping the movers and doing it yourself, ensure that you have an adequate sized moving truck (again, we often have way more stuff than we anticipated) and enough reliable friends to help you out. Don't forget the extras; like floor runners, dollies, and blankets to help protect your items and save the floors in your home in case of bad weather.
Tip 4: Start Early
Don't put off packing until the last minute. Gather your supplies and start packing non-essential items as soon as possible. While you are packing it's highly likely that you will find several items to sell, donate, or dispose of. Dealing with this early saves a lot of last minute stress.
Tip 5: Keep Valuables and Breakables With You
Even the best movers shouldn't be trusted with your valuables, so store those separately in your vehicle (as long as that's safe) or set them aside to be transported by you once the movers have packed everything else up. I am also a firm believer in transporting my own lamps, or at least the shades, and any art work I worry may be damaged in the move. Even with movers we always have a couple of cars that are going from point A to point B and we like to load these with valuables, lamps, art, and contents of the fridge.
Tip 6: Accept Help.
Nobody passes out hero badges the day after moving so don't knock yourself out trying to earn one. If a friend or a neighbour offers to take your kids for the day, cook you dinner and drop it off, or to help you unpack say YES!!! Take every single offer of help that comes your way, you'll be glad you did.
Tip 7: Take a Break
If you have implemented at least some of the items on this list and gotten a head start on getting organized and packed you should have time for at least a small break. Step away from the moving and into a restaurant for a well earned night out. Drag a friend out for a coffee date or go for a massage. Whatever it is you like to do to help you relax, shake it off, laugh, and feel like yourself...now's the time to do it.
Bonus Tip (5a): Do not put a fish in a bowl of water in your car for the day if moving in December
The water WILL freeze. As the fish too! Probably also a good note for August as well, when it will probably overheat, but my experience extends only to December. You're welcome.
Important Note: No fish were harmed in the writing this blog. The water thawed once brought into the new house and "Sushi" the fish went on to live a long and very happy life.
Above all, remember, this too will end. Moving day is simply that, one day. You will get through it and get to enjoying your new home... while hopefully finding most of the items you swore were packed and labelled correctly.