Tips for a Stress-Free Move

The top five most stressful things in life are as follows:

Death of a loved one


Major injury or illness

Job loss

And, yes, MOVING! 

Most of these life situations come without a warning.  Once in a while moving also comes suddenly, but, for the most part, most people do have an inkling that it’s coming up.  That doesn’t make it completely stress-free, but the good thing about it, you can mitigate some of the damage by planning ahead.

Even if you don’t know the exact date it will be, because you may be waiting to first find the home you’re moving to, you can still get a head start by preparing for it in advance.  Whether your next move is this month, next year or sometime in the next decade (in which case, you maybe should get some scissors out to clip this article and save it for the future), here are some tips to make the journey easier on you and your family.

Use Checklists
Most good Realtors and Real Estate Lawyers have a checklist that they share with their clients to keep them on track.  These lists should include which tasks need to be done and when.  You can also find sample checklists online (check with national movers, for example).  Not only do you need to know what to do, but who to contact, such as your utility companies for the home you’re leaving as well as the one you’re moving to.  And don’t forget things like Amazon, Hello Fresh or your magazine subscriptions.

Don’t Close on the Same Day! 
If you are selling a home as well as buying, getting bridge financing in place makes the whole process so much smoother.  Even a few days in between moves makes a difference.

Hire a Professional Mover
This is always going to be easier, but it’s not in everyone’s budget.

Enlist Friends & Family for Help
 If you aren’t hiring a moving company, line up dependable friends and family instead and call on their natural abilities.  Some can help you pack your boxes and be the voice of reason when you are trying to decide what to take with you, what to sell and what to give away.  Don’t forget that asking for help is a sign of strength.  Most are willing to help out, especially if you load them up with pizza and their favourite beverages.  The whole process will go much better if you are organized so that you can give simple tasks to each person, and they will be more willing to help if you let them know that all you need is to have them load the truck.

Make a Plan for the Kiddos
Let’s face it, it’s always great to be able to delegate tasks.  But, if doing chores isn’t a part of your children’s everyday life or if they aren’t quite old enough to pull their weight yet, now is not the time to teach them.  See if they can stay a couple of nights with their grandparents or a good friend’s house.  And maybe slack off a little on the screentime rules.  After all, moving can be very stressful for kids, too.

Don’t Forget to Think About Pets
It can be very traumatic for pets when there’s too much activity going on in the house.  It would be ideal to take them to a pet sitter’s house for a few days in between your two homes.  

Prep Meals in Advance
You could either double up on the meals you cook leading up to the move and pack half of the food in the freezer, or you could ask a friend who may not be cut out for heavy lifting but would gladly cook a couple of meals for your family to enjoy the week or other the week after the move.  This way, you don’t have to stop and start as much to cook in between the packing and unpacking.

Don’t Pack Items You Don’t Want
This sounds simple, but it’s easier said than done.  If you have trouble making decisions, get a friend who loves you enough to be honest with you, and will be able to help you to see the value in passing items you no longer need along to someone who needs it more than you do. 

If your turnaround time for your move is very short (not much time between your purchase and the closing date), and if you’re not paying by the pound to move your items, it’s sometimes easier to just pack everything and sort your items as you’re unpacking in your new home.  You don’t want to get sidetracked and take 10x longer packing when you’re already short on time.  Most people have an easier time parting with things when they’re moving into their new place, as they don’t feel as sentimental when there aren’t as many memories associated with the new house.

Keep Your House in Order Prior to the Move
As you’re packing up from the home you’re moving out of, keep as much order as possible by clearing out the garage or a specific room in the house for packed boxes.  Rather than having boxes in every room, having one place where they can all be stacked gives you a greater sense of order and helps you to keep a clear mind as you go through the process.  This would also really help your friends or movers on moving day.

Don’t Forget to Label Things Well
This should include which room it should go to in the new house, and you could do this by colour-coding the boxes or simply writing Kitchen, Bathroom, Living Room, etc.   You could also number each box for each room and make a list of very important items that you can’t be without for too long.  This way you don’t have to wonder where the more time sensitive items are located.

Make Sure to Reward Yourself
Set a goal of packing a certain number of boxes each day, and when you’ve met your goal, have a nice treat, watch your favourite show, or make a phone call to a friend you love to chat with.  But, hold yourself accountable and no rewards until you’ve met your goal for the day.  

Listen to Upbeat Music While Working
This energizes everyone and keeps the fun factor high.

Pack an Overnight Bag
Whether you are moving across the country or just across town, you would be wise to pack 3 changes of clothes, and all of your most basic toiletries, so you’re not searching for your deodorant and toothbrush the day you move in.  Your friends and family will thank you.

True story
Over the years, we have had several times when people pack things away that should stay with the house, items like the garage door openers, extra keys, the appliance manuals or the house survey.  Find a spot in the house where these items are being gathered so that you aren’t left with the task of searching frantically for them at the last minute.

Stress is inevitable when you’re moving – after all, it does show up in the top five most stressful life events.  But, I hope that I have helped you to realize that you really can do some things to make the whole process more manageable with some good planning.