Moving is one of the most stressful things a person can do. It doesn't matter if you are staying in town or going to another state -- basically you have the same preparations. Moving does not have to be a dreaded chore, but instead can be an opportunity to take inventory of your possessions and your life.
It is easier for someone who is organized, as there are many little details to handle. But even an unorganized person can have a successful experience if they follow these easy steps. Doing these things when you first learn of the move can save you time in the weeks and months ahead.
- Involve the whole family, including kids and pets. Kids and pets are very good at sensing when something is wrong. Often they pick up stress from the adults in their lives and this causes them to act out their concerns. Have a talk with the children. Make sure they understand what is happening, and give them the chance to ask questions.
You obviously can't talk to your pets unless you have some unusual abilities, but you need to be aware. Sometimes animals run away as their owners are preparing to move. They probably need a little more attention and a little more watching during this time.
- Decide how you are going to move. Sometimes that's easy in work situations when the move is decided for you. If the move is up to you, the first thing you should do is compare rates and companies.
Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Some companies do the packing for you but some don't. Some charge extra for delicate items such as pianos. With some it's a flat rate, but with other companies all the charges are broken down individually. Be sure you agree ahead of time on what the mover will and will not do and what their charges are.
- Decide who is going to do the packing. After shopping for prices, it should be easy to make this decision. Packing seems to be what most people hate the worst and the job that takes the longest. But it is expensive when you pay someone else to do this. The professional can probably complete this job quicker and better than you. It comes down to how much your time is worth and how much you are willing to spend.
- Decide what to do about the organizations you participate in. Sometimes all you need to do is transfer your membership to another town. If you have a position of responsibility where others depend upon you to do certain functions, now is probably the time to give notice so they can recruit or train someone else to take your place. It's also important to start saying your goodbyes. Time becomes more critical as the moving date approaches.
- Start collecting boxes, packing materials, and other items needed for the move. You can never have too many boxes. If you work in an office with copy machines, paper boxes are excellent for packing. It is easier to bring home a few each day instead of trying to find and load 100 boxes in your car at the last minute. Think about any large and unusual items you need to pack. Keep a look-out for those boxes. Most U-Haul stores and some packing centers sell boxes in different sizes.
- Start to use up all the things you do not plan to move. Now is not the time to fill your freezer with fresh vegetables, even if you get them for free. You should buy only what you know you will use before the move. Food in particular is difficult to move. Also, many movers will not allow you to bring flammable items.
- Start making a list of everyone that needs to be notified of your move. You can complete a change of address at the post office; as your mail comes in, they will eventually notify your creditors.
What about the people or companies that you do not regularly get mail from? I recommend completing a post card that the post office supplies, and mailing this to everyone you wish to notify. Add the names to your list as they come to mind and then check them off when you've sent the card. Don't forget employers. It is your responsibility to notice them when your address changes.
- Get rid of everything you do not want. Donate it to charity or have a garage sale. It really is true that one man's junk is another man's treasure. Most of us have more stuff than we can ever use. Some people do not even have the most basic items they need. Donating to those less fortunate than you is a good deed and a tax deduction. If you don't want to do that, a garage sale is another option, as is Craigslist.
Efficiency experts say that we should throw anyway anything we have not used, worn, or eaten in the last six months. There are some big tickets items and things like Christmas decorations that are exceptions. But most of us have a lot of stuff we could throw away and never know it was gone.
- Don't pack things you will need before you move or items you will need immediately upon arrival at the new address. Even if you label your boxes as you pack, it is always hard to remember which box you put certain things in. Without thinking, sometimes you pack scissors and tape and the next day you are tearing open boxes to retrieve these items. Pack a bag of essentials like toilet paper, soap, towels, light bulbs, snacks and personal items that you will need the first night in your new home. Make sure to include treats for the kids and pets.
Moving is always hard, no matter what the circumstances are. It is difficult to give up the familiar for the uncertain. Often we leave family and friends behind. Many times we don't want to move, but jobs or other circumstances give us no choice. As with all things in life, attitude is everything. Don't wait until the last minute to start doing the above. Handling each task that needs to be done and spacing the work over time will make the job less stressful. If you approach the move with a positive attitude expecting good things to happen, the move will be positive and good things will happen. On the other hand, if you expect the worst, that is what you are likely to get.
As a Personal Life Coach, I work with individuals undergoing change. Sometimes you need help as you adjust to new situations and new towns. Sometimes it leads to positive change and unexpected personal growth. You never know who you might meet in a new place. Remember, moving gives you the chance to be a different person. Life gives us many chances to start over again, like a cat with nine lives.
Margaret is a Personal Life Coach, Writer and Speaker.
The owner of Life Transitions, she helps others increase their self-confidence and make positive changes in their lives. Her passion is creating more awareness about abuse and helping to change one life at a time. See her web sites margaretnortonlifecoach.com & whentiesbreak.com.