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.
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 This scale was developed in 1967, so it’s a little outdated.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Unwanted Life readers.
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.