Supposedly, moving house is one of the most stressful life events that individuals can undertake. Ask anyone who has done it and they will confirm this for you – but does it need to be so terrible?
Whichever way you choose to go about your house move, stress levels will increase as moving day draws closer. There are though some straightforward and practical ways that you can reduce the avoidable stress involved in moving house.
Most of us are actually quite bad at estimating the time that tasks will take, even if we’ve done them before. Partly that’s through optimism, and partly through unconscious bias, but the result is that people don’t leave enough time and this is the major cause of stress when moving house.
The best way to help you overcome this, and reduce your stress, is to estimate the time for each task involved (for instance de-cluttering, taking belongings to recycling or charity shops, wrapping delicate items, packing boxes) rather than for ‘moving house’ as a whole. And beware of the “ninety-nine” rule, which is that any task that is nearly finished will always take longer than expected to finally complete.
Having given yourself enough time the next step in reducing your stress is to get organised. Make a note of things that you need to do as they come to you – for instance adding people and companies that you need to send your new address to as you open your post. The added benefit of writing things down is that it frees up mental space and reduces any anxiety about forgetting important tasks.
As well as making moving easier de-cluttering is also a great exercise for reducing stress. Not only are you making headway into your list of jobs, and freeing up physical and mental room, but you’re also starting to prepare yourself emotionally for leaving your old home and making a new start. The importance of giving yourself the opportunity to make the emotional adjustment shouldn’t be forgotten in your plans when moving house. Make time to pay any last visits to neighbours or your favourite places locally, so that you don’t bring any unfinished business with you into your new home.
If possible get to know the new area where you will be living before your move as well. If the distance involved makes it impossible to go there then use the internet to research where you’ll be able to get some shopping and something to eat the evening when you move in. It’s very unlikely that even if you feel like cooking a meal in your new kitchen that you’ll be unpacked enough to have everything you need. Instead pack one box with everything you need to make a drink, have a snack, and some toys for any children.
Finally remember above all that feeling stressed, upset or uncomfortable are all normal when packing up and moving house. Don’t let becoming emotional at saying good-byes, or feeling that the new house isn’t quite how you pictured it, fool you into thinking that you’ve made a mistake or that things have gone wrong. You can’t avoid stress completely when moving house, so when it does happen just remember that it will pass and set yourself some small goals, about packing or making the new house your own, that will give you back a sense of control.
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