A photo of a White man and woman with moving boxes on their heads to represent the topic of the article - How To Handle The Stress Of Moving Homes

How To Handle The Stress Of Moving Homes

 

Recently, I had to move because my landlord was subletting to us without the freeholders consent (my landlords landlord). My landlord had also kept us living in a building that was never up to code and broke all houses of multiple occupancy laws regarding safety, among others. This lead to the freeholder taking back control of the building from our landlord, which is stressful enough on its own. Luckily, I was offered an affordable place to move to (I hadn’t moved before because I simply didn’t have the money); I took my chance to move out. Then started the stress of moving.

 

I hate moving. There was a period where I was having to move every 6-12 months while I was at university. It’s an enormous expense and very time-consuming. Because of this, and after taking steps to manage the stress of moving in my recent move, I wanted to share some tips with you.

 

But first, let’s have a look at the nightmare that is moving.

 

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The Stress Of Moving Homes

 

Apparently, the average Brit moves five times during their life (E.ON), and to them I say, you don’t know how lucky you are. I’ve moved 12 times so far. For some people, moving can seem exciting, but while that might be true, it’s undeniable that moving homes will come with a heap of stress as well (Kentucky Counseling Center).

 

Claudia Hammond, writing for the BBC, wrote about moving stress, using Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe Social Readjustment Rating Scale. This scale was developed in 1967, so it’s a little outdated. In the article, they claim that of the 43 items they asked participants to rate, moving didn’t even make the list, as that’s somehow proof that moving stress doesn’t exist. But there’s one big problem with that. You can’t rate an item on the scale if it’s not included in the scale. No where in the 43 items does it mention moving homes.

 

A more modern study, which E.ON reported on, looked at 2,000 UK adults who’d moved home in the last three years. The findings showed that moving home is so stressful that it topped the list of life’s most stressful moments. This beats other stressful life events like a divorce or romantic break up and starting a new job. This is likely because younger generations are more likely to move because they can’t buy a home.

 

A survey of 1,001 people by Porch (n.d.) looked to see the effects of moving. The results of the study found that Millennials would move once every two years. Gen X would move roughly every four years, while Baby Boomers stayed in the same home for nearly six years at a time.

 

E.ON also found that Brits moving home required them spending three months a year to sort it out, with 24% of the 2,000 participants stating they still haven’t unpacked boxes. And I don’t blame them. I still have a lot of my stuff still packed in boxes, and most of it will probably stay there, so my next move will be less hassle.

 

Look, moving may not be as stressful as a loved one dying (like Claudia Hammond reported) or being bullied, but moving is still a massive pain to deal with. The more you have to move, the more you’ll hate doing it. Simply put, moving is stressful for those going through it (Raviv, Keinan, Abazon, and Raviv, 1990).

 

As the Kentucky Counseling Center wrote, moving can bring a mixture of intense emotions (not just stress), so if you want a less stressful move, then you’ll want to get prepared for it.

 

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Tips To Manage The Stress Of Moving

 

If you’re concerned about the stress of moving, such as the thought of packing and not knowing the area you’re moving to, then identify the areas you need to plan for (Compare My Move). In the meantime, here’s a list of tips that can help you move.

 

Packing

Start packing way WAY earlier than you think you need to so that you can pace yourself, making packing much easier to do. Although I only lived in a single room when I last moved, I still had a lot of stuff, so I started packing a couple of months early. This allowed me to pack the stuff I didn’t need first and made it a much more manageable process.

 

However, a lot of moving services offer a packing service as well. So if you’re dreading packing or you’re simply not able to, then take advantage of this service. Just remember that you’ll be paying for the packing service, so make sure it’s something you can afford.

 

Labels

As you’re packing, it’s a good idea to label the boxes for which room they’ll be going to and what’s inside the boxes. By doing this, it’ll mean less effort once the movers leave. You’ll also know which boxes need to be unpacked in what order and what can be left for later.

 

I found this really quite helpful to do, especially as I had a lot more time to organise doing this than the last time I moved. I had food I was taking with me, which obviously needed to be unpacked as soon as possible, which this allowed me to do.

 

Spring cleaning

Moving home can be a good time to do a bit of spring cleaning, so you don’t have to take things with you that you don’t need. Because of what happened with my landlord, and the fact they will not pay my deposit back (my landlord was a nightmare), I left furniture I no longer wanted behind. I also bagged up items to give to charity.

 

Pack an essentials bag

I can’t stress this enough. Figure out what your essential items are that you’ll need on that first day of the move. I packed my backpack with my medications, toiletries such as my face wash, my toothbrush, and the cables I needed for my TV and my laptop. If nothing else, I wanted to be able to wash, work on my blog, and have entertainment. Doing this allowed me to put off dealing with unpacking to the following day, as it was late by the time the movers left and I was tired.

 

The picture is split in two with the top image being of a woman writing on one of their moving boxes. The bottom image being of a mixed ethnicity family of three packing and labelling moving boxes. The two images are separated by the article title - How To Handle The Stress Of Moving Homes

 

Parking permits

This is something that can often be overlooked, because you might not know much about the street you’re moving to. It’s best to check if you need a parking permit or not on your street, otherwise the removal ran or your car might not be able to park. It’s going to be hard to move in if you’re denied the ability to do so. So checking the parking rules for where you’re moving to, and where you live, in case you aren’t aware of the rules there too.

 

Set up a postal redirect

I don’t know if this is a thing in every country, but in the UK you can have your mail forwarded from your old address to your new one. You’ll needed to give a week’s notice for this to take effect with Royal Mail. This can be a real lifesaver, as it can be really hard to find out who needs to know your new address.

 

Doing this allowed me time to make a checklist of all the people and organisations I needed to contact about my change of address. If I missed any, then mail forwarding would catch those for me. This service also has the advantage of informing the people who’ve sent mail to your old address about your new one (where possible). Using this service reduced a lot of the stress of moving.

 

Checklists

Creating checklists and to-do lists is a must when moving, which is why I wrote an article about to-do lists. When getting ready for my latest move, I created several lists. I had a to-do list of the things I needed to do at my new place before I moved it and one for the place I was leaving. I also created a change of address checklist. It was really handy for managing the stress of moving and making sure things didn’t get overlooked. It can also be a good idea to create an inventory of the stuff you’re moving so you forget nothing and nothing goes missing.

 

One of the most important things I had to add to my list was to register with a new GP to make sure I could continue to access my medication. It can take a while for medical notes to be transferred and you’ll likely need to have an appointment to discuss your health and medication before they’ll carry on your prescriptions. I know mine did. In fact, I’m still waiting on my medical notes to be transferred over, which is a pain. Therefore, if you’re on medication that you can’t miss, register with a new GP ASAP.

 

You can check out my article on to-do lists by clicking here.

 

Cables

It can be really easy to forget which cable belongs to which device. To avoid that stress of moving problem, pack your cables for each item in its own box or bag and label them. I used the left-over shopping bags left by my previous co-tenants. It was a way to reuse before recycling them. With kettle leads, you don’t really need to worry about as much.

 

Change the locks

To make sure you’re safe, and you’re in a position to do so, buy new cylinders for the locks. As part of my to-do lists about for the place I was moving into, I went to my new place beforehand and checked what locks it used. When I knew that, I bought replacement cylinders so I could change the locks ASAP. It’s really easy to change the cylinders, whereas changing the whole mechanism can be a pain. Plus, it saves money and waste.

 

Do a final check

Once everything has been packed into the moving van, do one last check around the home you’re leaving. Because unpacking can be a colossal pain that can take months to do, it could be too late for you to notice that something was left behind. Therefore, do a walk around and check every area something could have got lost in. This will give you peace of mind and help with the annoying stress of moving.

 

You should also do the same when the removal people have finished unloading, to make sure nothing has been left in their van/lorry.

 

Meter readings

To make sure you’re not overcharged at the property you’ve just left or the one you’re moving into, get an energy reading. Many people get caught out by this, leaving them paying for phantom energy or the energy of the pervious people who lived there.

 

Professional movers

I have got to a point in my life where my back and knees (I messed my knees up when I moved in 2008) can hurt with next to know effort. My health issues just add to that. So instead of trying to move everything myself with friends or getting a man and a van where I’d have to help with the move, I got a professional team. The best thing about a professional team is that you’re not allowed to help, as it’ll affect the insurance. So now you have no reason for feeling bad about sitting back and watching a team of people move your stuff.

 

Plus, your knees and back will thank you for it. There was just no way I was going to be able to move all my stuff, even with the help of my partner and friends. I got offers from people to help me move, but I knew my body and it just would not be capable of doing it. But you don’t need an excuse to use these services. Just not wanting to do the move yourself is fine.

 

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Summary

 

No matter what people or studies may say, the stress of moving home is likely going to plague you when you need to move. It’s not just the move itself that will probably be stressful. Moving to a new area can be daunting. You might know no one in the area, you might not know where anything is, and you might be concerned about your safety (if you’re a minority, you know what I’m talking about). All legitimate concerns that can add to the stress of moving. But that level of stress can be managed with proper planning. I hope my tips will help you manage your stress of moving.

 

As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, please share your experiences with the stress of moving and what tips you found useful in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.

 

Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, you can make a donation of any size below. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.

 

 

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References

Porch. (n.d.). Mover’s Remorse: Examining the downstream effects of moving and settling down. Retrieved July 20, 2022, from https://porch.com/resource/movers-remorse.

Raviv, A., Keinan, G., Abazon, Y., & Raviv, A. (1990). Moving as a stressful life event for adolescents. Journal of Community Psychology, 18(2), 130-140. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1002/1520-6629(199004)18:2<130::AID-JCOP2290180205>3.0.CO;2-V and https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/1520-6629(199004)18:2%3C130::AID-JCOP2290180205%3E3.0.CO;2-V.

51 thoughts on “How To Handle The Stress Of Moving Homes

  1. I hate moving, mainly because my first big move was when we emigrated to Canada when I was a child. I just associate moving with major upheaval. That’s probably why my family still lives in the house my husband and I bought when we got married 28 years ago. Your tips are really useful. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Top tips from our last move: don’t try to move when you have a three week old baby, a C section and can’t drive. Do have moving people do all your packing but be prepared to provide lots it bacon sarnies. Don’t deactivate your house alarm til 24 hours later otherwise it risks going off at 4am and you can’t get customer service on the line until 7am.

  3. great suggestions!! when we move to our next home, we def plan to use professional movers because relying on family can be tricky [ schedules & favors ]. i also recommend decluttering before you move as well to limit how much you have to pack.

  4. This is an excellent post. I have been moving since last July (2021). Across the country. From my home into PODS and storage units to live with my mother. To then pack up her house and move her in with me (into yet a different house with all the stuff from the POD and first storage units). I still have boxes upon boxes in the basement and in (another) storage unit. The only thing I have learned is I long for a tiny house way far away in the woods.😂 Moving is seriously one of the most stressful things to do, and your tips are spot-on! Hope you are settling in to your new place and it’s starting to feel like home. ✌️

  5. I like your suggestions about moving. It is so stressful. Even if you don’t move, feeling safe these days is very important. Excellent post.

  6. I really hate moving! I don’t even want to count. Few years ago I had to move twice in a same year, I still haven’t unpacked everything and we are prepping to move, hopefully for the last time ever. These are very helpful tips and I have used most of them.
    About cables – I tape them on to the device – back of the tv, router etc so they will be together and ready for set up.

  7. Moving brings me a lot of stress. Back in the UK, I moved a lot too. I’m glad you had an alternative to move into. Since we often have to houseshare in the UK, it was no fun experience… let alone the whole process of packing and transporting. Having enough time to plan and execute can help a lot but sometimes we don’t have that “luxury”…

    • One time I had no notice that I had to move. It was my first year at university and the landlord no longer owned the property I was renting. The bailiffs just turned up one day and kicked us all out. That was quite the nightmare

  8. Great advice! I hate moving. We got rid of SO much stuff before and after our last move. We just didn’t want to deal with storing, moving, and then finding a new home for a lot of our things. We built, so we put almost all our stuff in storage and stayed with my dad until we could move into the new house. I never want to move again!

  9. Very useful tips. I’m used to moving having moved several times. I even moved countries, spending a year in Spain during my studies then I moved to Finland when my husband got a job there

  10. Great tips! I’ve learned my lesson from the last move, will not be leaving packing for the last minute again 😅

  11. I’m going to keep this post.
    I’ve only moved twice, so far. However, we don’t know what could happen in the future and your post will be very useful when I next move.
    Thanks for sharing your tips.

  12. With each of our 6 kids pregnancies, my wife “nested” like we were moving the next day. She’d reorganize the house, get rid of stuff, donate, buy new furniture, you name it. It became a summer tradition – even when we weren’t expecting. Part of living is just collecting stuff. Some you need, most you don’t. And, based on your excellent article here, I think that’s why moving becomes so, so stressful. Your suggestions are top-notch. My suggestion: don’t wait to you have to move to jettison the extra crap you don’t need.

    • It’s so easy to save stuff because you never know when you might need it.

      It certainly helps to have a spring clean of what you own and what can be sold, disposed of, or given away. Thanks for commenting

  13. I am moving across America literally for college later this summer, so I found this amazingly helpful! I have made lists and love the idea of putting together a ‘first few days’ essentials. I am also using the packing opportunity to declutter and put together a more useful, coordinated wardrobe. 🙂

  14. Good moving home tips! Moving to a new place can be very stressful. Especially if you’re used to your environment. That’s why being flexible is important. Thank you for sharing.

  15. I am with you on this one Unwantedlife. Moving is very stressful. Moved twice without the use of moving professionals; just the help of friends and family. But on the other end it a good feeling when you moved in a place nicer than the one you left. It feels like a new beginning.

  16. My husband and I moved into our new apartment in April; the packing up went well and we managed to get everything over to the new place but once we got there we just didn’t have the energy or physical capacity to finish the job. We had to get some movers to bring the stuff up for us so my advice is definitely spend money on getting professionals to do the heavy lifting if you can; it eases so much stress. We overestimated how fit and able we were/are by miles!

    • I think your experience provides a good lesson. Always under estimate your ability when it comes to moving homes. Doing it yourself might be fine when you can fit everything into a car, but if you’re moving a whole flat or house, make the investment in professional movers. Thanks for sharing

  17. I have only moved once as an adult and it was quite stressful. You have shared some good points and things to consider when you are moving house. Thank you for sharing your post.

    Lauren

  18. I’ve moved three times since 2019 and two of that in this year. The first two times was stressful in terms of packing and organising transport. The second and third had some of the same stressors but it was also getting use to a new area and getting comfortable in a new neighbourhood. Moving can definitely be stressful and you always seem to forget something. The most stressful part is finding a place within your budget, organising affordable transportation and getting use to a new area. These are great tips. Thanks for sharing.

  19. This is a really good post. My dad had a job which required shifting to new places every two or three years. So far we’ve shifted homes 15 times. Gonna move to the 16th house next month lol. But I agree with everything you’ve pointed over here. Really useful.

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