So I was shifting house recently. It was a daunting project but luckily the whole family was on board.
The process had, if I’m being entirely honest, taken months rather than days. Because I was downsizing, there were tearful send-offs of books, paintings and furniture with their associated memories.
There were ridiculous worries about how the dogs would adapt? Could my clients accept the new location? As it turns out to those questions yes to both and very easily. Still though, there was an underlying sense of unease.
And I thought to myself several times “Why is this so hard?” If I ignored the things I got rid of, things I hadn’t used in the last two years anyway, what was it that was so hard?
I’ve touched on this subject before, but, given the state of housing in New Zealand I thought I’d talk about it again.
According to a study by researchers DeGrauw & Norcross in 1989, one of the most stressful things we can do is relocate or move. It was rated by participants in the study as even more stressful than the death of a friend or family/personal illness.
Does that really matter? Yes, moving is stressful but we only do it every now and then right? The truth is that kiwis move a lot! According to Statistics NZ even back in 2007 more than a quarter of New Zealanders had moved within the last two years.
So it does matter, it’s one of the most stressful experiences we can face, subjectively up there with getting married, and yet many of us seem to be moving on a regular basis.
Are we masochists?
Do we like inflicting stress and distress on ourselves? Obviously not for most people. So obviously we aren’t moving by choice for the most part.
We are driven by the economic realities of house flippers, or rising rents or having to move for work. For some happy few they are moving into a home they have bought with the joy and trepidation that a mortgage brings.
These are things that are largely outside our control, brought about by necessity rather than choice.
These are things that we cannot do a thing to change, just a part of life’s rich tapestry that we seem to face more than most other nations.
So what can we change? Here are my 7 tips on making a move a successful and, more importantly, less stressful move.
- Make sure you have your dates firmly down. If you have a calendar mark all the move associated dates in red. If you don’t then get one!
- Accept that stress is part of the process, it’s going to be tough even if everything goes swimmingly. Allow yourself to prepare mentally ahead of time.
- Start small, don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the size of the project. If you are stuck, begin with a drawer, or taking down and wrapping pictures. Breaking down a big project into bite sized chunks makes the whole thing more digestible.
- Stay organized. Make sure you pick up enough boxes, have wrapping materials, Sellotape and marker pens or labels.
- Start early. As soon as you know or even suspect that you are going to have to move, start making plans. Give family and friends notice of the day/s you are moving to book them in if you need help. If you are going to need movers, get quotes and book them in as early as possible.
- Ask for help if you need it, even if it’s just to wind down from the ‘ARRRGH!’ of it all.
- Get some sleep, you have to make a lot of emotional decisions, better to make them with a clear head.
Finally, if you find that the whole experience was truly traumatic, maybe consider reaching out to me because maybe, just maybe I can help. Having an overall sense of calm and relaxation can help you move forward with ease.