When Dan and I moved from Chicago, IL, to Knoxville, TN, we had three children ages three and under. Dan worked extra shifts to help cover the costs of our move while I handled the decluttering and packing. Just to keep things interesting, we sold our home by owner to save on the realtor’s commission. Life felt chaotic, but we managed the chaos by staying organized, making it fun for the kids, and staying healthy. (Fine, we bribed the kids with shakes at Potbelly’s, but it was for the good of all involved.) Here are some tips on how to make moving less stressful for you and your family:
Make a plan for the moving logistics
Okay, this step is easy because I already did it for you. Here’s a moving checklist and here’s a one-stop shop for all your moving-related questions. You can make moving less stressful by taking care of the little things, like signing up for mail forwarding or setting up the utilities at your new place. Print your checklist and start checking things off.
To make moving less stressful, give yourself enough time
Moving is not the time to procrastinate. When Dan and I moved from Ohio to California, we didn’t give ourselves enough time to declutter and pack. We tried shoving everything into our rental truck at the last minute, but there wasn’t enough space. I was exhausted. Our favorite beach chairs didn’t fit, so we left them by the dumpster. Then, I sat down and cried. I didn’t cry over the chairs (though, admittedly, they were fabulous), but I felt overwhelmed because my lack of planning left us in this situation. Start early.
Declutter as much as humanly possible
The more you declutter, the less stressful your move will be because you will have less to pack, less to move, and less to unpack. So, get rid of as many items as you can – and try to do it without guilt. If you don’t adore that vase or futon, it shouldn’t get a spot on the moving truck with you. According to Cathleen Staley, owner of Simplify, you should “take the time to look at everything that you have before you spend the time and money moving what you don’t need or want.”
Remember that decluttering for a move is different than decluttering to spark joy. When you declutter for a move, consider whether that 400-pound armoire or those boxes of unread books are worth the hassle. Weight matters. You also want to think about whether your furniture or accessories will fit in your new space. If your dining table doesn’t work in your new apartment, it’s time to sell it.
Set aside time for your moving bucket list
You shouldn’t spend 24/7 worrying about your move. Make a moving bucket list of all the places you want to visit before you move. Then, mark those activities on your calendar so that you have something to look forward to while you pack up your kitchen utensils.
Add a little hygge into your move
Cozy or romantic may not be the first words that come to mind when you think about moving, but you can change that. Add some hygge into your move. Why wouldn’t you light a candle, dim the lights, and pour yourself a glass of wine as you sit on your bathroom floor packing toiletries? When I decluttered my bathroom cabinet, I listened to a podcast and enjoyed the solitude. You can’t change the fact that you need to pack, so you may as well make the most of it.
Get some exercise – lifting boxes doesn’t count
When I’m in my kickboxing class, I worry that someone will look at me, turn to her neighbor, and say, “That woman’s got issues.” I can’t help it. It feels good to throw some punches and do a roundhouse kick after a tough morning. If kickboxing isn’t your thing, find another way to make moving less stressful. “Virtually any form of exercise – from aerobics to yoga – can act as a stress reliever,” says Chris Beer, Director of Sales and Marketing for WIN Athletic Center.
Stay hydrated while you’re packing
My kids believe water is a cure-all substance because my response to them is always: “Here, have some water.” “Do you have a headache? Here, have some water.” “Does your throat hurt? Here, have some water.” “Rough afternoon? Here, have some water.”
However, it turns out that my mom instinct was right, and I didn’t even know it. According to Leah Bostrom, founder of Chia Leah Clean Treats, “Staying hydrated is key to fighting inflammation, plus it calms our bodies and minds.” So, fill up a water bottle to get you through decluttering day.
Make a meal plan and give yourself healthy options
I’m pretty sure the pizza industry and the moving industry are in cahoots. I’m not opposed to pizza, but you need to have other options. First, make a meal plan for the two weeks before you move. Two weeks ahead, you should make and eat healthy meals that offer leftovers. Consider using a grocery delivery service to save you time. If you’ve never used one, search for coupons for first time users.
Use moving week as an opportunity to visit the restaurants on your moving bucket list or to order take-out from your favorite places. There are also food delivery options that will bring you fresh, healthy, prepared meals to your door. All you need to do is heat the prepared meals in the oven or the microwave. You’ll feel better about yourself and your move when you have healthy fuel in you. Oh, and chocolate. That always helps.
Ask for help to make moving less stressful
This is one part of moving that I don’t understand. People I talk to about their moves feel reluctant to ask for help. Why? This is a stressful time in your life. Your family and friends want to help. Let your sister know you feel overwhelmed by the clutter in your apartment. Tell your best friend you could use a girl’s night out. Ask your neighbor if he could help with your lawn if the house doesn’t sell before you move. Pay for help if necessary, but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
What did you do to make moving less stressful? Tips are always appreciated. We’re in this together.