While most people agree that moving is stressful, there are ways to ensure you have a much less stressful move than you thought possible. There are lots of ways to reduce the stress of moving so you can actually enjoy the moment, look forward to the change and know that this move can be a positive and rewarding experience—a chance to start over.
Give Yourself Time
Time is not always in your control. Sometimes a move sneaks up on us, forcing us to move last minute, and we have to act fast. If you can plan ahead, try to allow yourself at least eight weeks. We highly recommend 12, especially if you need to hire movers and/or if you’re planning a summer move. But everything can be done without too much stress within eight weeks.
To stay organized during your move, make a list of all the tasks you need to do, then divide them into weeks, allowing yourself enough days to complete everything on that week’s list. If you’re unsure where to start, check out an eight-week plan that will ensure you stay on track.
Clear Out the Clutter
We recommend you tackle this one first: getting rid of the clutter will help you be, and feel, more organized. It will also ensure that when you begin packing, you’ll only be packing the things that you need to. There’s nothing more frustrating than packing items you’re going to get rid of after the move.
Ask for Help
Sometimes it’s difficult to ask for help. But remember, most people have been through at least one move in their lives and understand how hard it can be. 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.
Allow yourself the time to say goodbye. Throw a party. Invite friends out for dinner. Take an hour every day to walk through your neighborhood. Visit one favorite spot every day. Feel the memories and allow yourself to relive them one more time. This will also help with the transition from the old to the new and give yourself some much needed time to enjoy the moment.
During a stressful time like a move, we often don’t feel that there’s enough time to get all the tasks done, and as such, we often neglect our own needs and health. We know that we often go without enough sleep, spend long days packing without taking breaks and end up eating junk food just to save on cooking time. While it may seem like you’re be efficient with your time, you’re also neglecting the most important moving tool that you have: yourself.
If you have children, treat them as well. Plan special evenings out to visit their favorite ice cream shop or restaurant or playground. Kids require special handling during a move; they’ll need time from you and patience, too.
Get Enough Sleep and Eat Well
We’re adding this in since these two items are the first on our list to be ignored, yet, they are the most important factors in keeping us healthy and happy. So make sure you’re getting enough sleep and that you’re eating a balanced diet. Don’t skip meals and try not to live on coffee (although that can be difficult not to!).
Go With the Flow
Even if you’re the most organized mover ever, things will still go wrong. Unplanned events will happen, so you need to be flexible and allow yourself some extra breathing room to deal with these problems. Maybe return to your task list and timeline and work in some extra days if you can. Allowing for some wiggle room will ensure that you can adjust and feel calm even when chaos abounds.
Have a Back-Up Plan
Now, we’re not talking about creating a full back-up plan, but rather that you have a list of options should some of the major pieces of your move fall out of place. For instance, we always keep a short list of back up movers and rental agencies, just in case. We also allow a few days on either end of our move out/move-in day should our 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 is available should you need it.
Be Prepared to Feel Uprooted
You’re going to be living in chaos for a while, with boxes everywhere and things feeling out of control. It’s normal to be upset when you can’t find the spatula or the crock pot; just remember to consult your lists and know that you’re organized and on track for this move. You’ve done the work, and even though there’s still more to go, it will get done.
And when you move into your new home, also remember that it’ll take a while for this new space to feel like your own—for you and your family to settle in. Give it time.
And remember to breathe.
This article originally appeared on The Spruce