If you have made any significant move in the past, I can guarantee that when you saw the title of this article, “Eliminate the Stress from Your Move?”, you laughed to yourself, thinking, ``Ya, Right!”
When I picked that title, I knew that half the reason you might read this was so that you can prove it wrong.
You're correct! You can’t eliminate the stress of moving completely, but since I have your attention, let me see how much I can help.
No matter how many times you move, each time can feel overwhelming due to all the things that need to be done. Even if you are an experienced planner you will always look back at the move and cringe thinking of the extra work, stress, and money it ends up costing you and your family to complete the move.
Give Yourself Time
If you can, try to allow yourself at least eight weeks to plan and move. It's best to allow for 12, especially if you need to hire movers and/or if you're moving in the summer. But most planners agree, everything can be done without too much stress within eight weeks.
Planning is the Key
Before you do anything, the first thing on your list should be to prepare for your move by creating a plan that will ensure you keep your move on track. A well thought out plan can go a long way to prevent stress and help you get through the move with your sanity maintained.
I have found the most success when planning a move to start at the end-goal (you are completely moved and settled in your new home) and work your way backwards. If you know that the move will need to be completed by a specific date, then consider the steps in reverse order. This way you are much more likely to establish a realistic timeline and also less likely to miss important steps.
It is crucial to consider that you are not only moving your belongings such as clothing, furniture, electronics, vehicles, and appliances, but that you are also moving yourself, family members, and even pets.
You, your spouse, your children, and pets all have to make the move successfully and each of you may have factors to consider that one of the others do not have. If you are moving school age children, it can be incredibly more complicated.
Things to consider in general:
- Career travel implications, airports, ferries, trains.
- Changing school systems and/or locations.
- Do you work from home?
- Access to conveniences, healthcare, childcare, hobbies or other activities.
In addition to all of these services, you will also want to find new companies to take care of home maintenance such as lawn care, plumbers, heating and cooling, and electricians. Don't forget to find a new auto mechanic as well.
There are likely new challenges related to connecting with family or other vital relationships, or even more importantly, losing the day-to-day connection to those relationships.
A good plan will have you and your family considering all of the belongings that need to move.
But that is likely the easy part!
The changing lifestyle of each family member will require significant thought and consideration in the steps that are needed to be taken to ensure that everything falls into place at just the right time.
Have a Backup Plan
It is crucial when planning that you do not make assumptions.
A common example of bad assumptions would be in thinking that the availability and timing of arranging a mover and short-term or long-term storage is easy and can be arranged quickly and on short notice. Go that route, and you may find your entire plan put in jeopardy right away.
It is also advisable to have back-up plans in place where possible.
For instance, it's best to keep a short list of back-up movers and rental agencies, just in case. You should also allow a few days on either end of your move date should your moving company cancel or not show up. This can happen even though it's rare.
Plan for alternatives.
You'll feel better knowing that your uncle and his two-ton truck are available should you need it. You should consider having a couple of storage facilities to choose from and have an understanding of how many openings the facilities have.
You don't need a full back-up plan, but you should have a list of options should some of the major pieces of your move fall out of place.
Here are just some of the items you need to consider in your plan and timeline:
- Availability of movers and storage?
- What are you selling or leaving behind, and/or how do you get rid of it?
- How will all of your vehicles get moved to the new location? Boats, RV’s and large toys? If you are moving several hours away from your current home, those extra vehicles can present large logistical challenges.
- Is there work that has to be completed on the home you are leaving or the home you are moving into?
- New doctors, veterinarians, school systems, sports clubs, etc.
- Utilities, cell phone carriers, etc.
Moving With Children
Moving with kids can be complicated, and can become an emotionally draining experience for all parties involved.
It is important to recognize that it can be one of the most stressful experiences a child will ever have to go through, especially at school age. Whether you are moving across the country or are just moving to a nearby town, when your children’s friends and schools are involved, you should not underestimate the importance of being there for your children during the adjustment.
The older kids get, the less likely they will want to warm up to the idea of a move. Younger children may be more difficult to manage on moving days, but getting them excited about a move can be much easier for parents.
School changes everything for kids. As your kids spend more time in school, the stronger their relationships become with their friends. Outside of school, your child may be actively participating on a team or in a club they would have to leave after the move.
Once your child gets to high school the emotional toll of a move can be much greater, especially as they start developing friendships with peers in their hometown. Other teens may, however, welcome a fresh start.
A teenager’s social life is extremely important because fitting in with peers can make the difference between feeling confident and struggling to find your place in the world.
There are steps that can be taken to make the process significantly easier:
- Tell them early on, give them time to process the idea.
- Visit the new neighborhood together.
- Research the new location for the activities your children love to do.
- Enroll them in activities at the new location as soon as possible. If you are only moving a short distance, can they enroll in sports or other clubs now? If you are finding a new church, is it possible to begin attending services before the move? If your child makes even one or two friends prior to the move, it can make the entire experience much easier.
- Where age appropriate, social media and the internet can be an incredible tool for teens to learn more about their new neighborhood, meet some friends, and/or scout the nearby sports activities.
Another very successful action you can take is to learn if there are new and exciting opportunities for your children in your new community before the move.
If you are relocating to a larger or more populated part of a city, or rather the country, there could be access to activities and culture that you never had before.
- Better sports and recreation.
- Historic sites, museums, etc.
If you can excite your children (especially teens) with these new opportunities, it might go a long way to overcome some of the downside they are thinking about.
Two Last Things to Consider
#1 - Ask For Help
Sometimes it's difficult to ask for help, but reach out. Ask friends and family if they can spare a couple of hours to help you sort, pack, or move. If you're moving far away, this could be one of the last opportunities you have to spend time together.
#2 - Be Prepared To Feel Uprooted
It’s okay! You're going to be living in chaos for a short while, with boxes everywhere and things feeling out of control.
It's normal to be upset when you can't find the spatula, crockpot, or the cordless drill. Just remember that will be a short-term problem and new opportunities and adventures await.
Here at Red Banner, our goal is to help you not only make the most of your real estate experience including buying or selling, but to also guide you all the way to enjoying the best that life has to offer you and your family in your new home and community.