How to Avoid Moving House Stress

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How to Avoid Moving House Stress
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Moving home can be an incredibly stressful experience. Your life gets packed into boxes, driven across town, and unpacked again in an unfamiliar environment. It’s disruptive, tiring, and often emotionally draining too. However, with some planning and organisation, you can make the process smoother and less stressful.

This blog provides practical tips on how to keep calm and carry on when relocating.

Why is moving house so stressful? 

Moving house is widely considered one of life’s most stressful events. According to research, it’s up there with bereavement, divorce and serious illness in terms of its negative impact. There are several reasons why it tends to be so tricky:

  • It’s a significant life change. Even when moving for positive reasons, it still means leaving your home, community and daily routines behind. This can make you feel unsettled.
  • There’s a lot to organise. From finding a new place, packing, hiring removal vans, redirecting your post and updating your address, countless tasks are demanding your attention. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
  • It’s physically demanding. The packing, lifting, cleaning and unpacking involved takes considerable time and energy. This is tiring enough without the emotional pressures, too.
  • You’re on a tight schedule. You usually must vacate your old property and move into your new one within a day or two. This condenses all the work into a short, stressful burst.

Knowing what makes moving stressful will help you manage it better. The key is organisation and preparation.

Get organised well in advance of moving day

Preparation is crucial for keeping your stress levels down on your moving day. Use the weeks and months before to get super organised:

  • Start decluttering as soon as you know you’re moving. Sort unwanted items into charity donations, selling piles and rubbish. This prevents leaving it all until the moving week when time is short.
  • Research removal firms and book one in. Get quotes from a few recommended companies. Check their availability for your moving day and get booked in.
  • Notify utility companies, banks, etc., about your change of address. Give them the date you’re moving.
  • Plan a room-by-room packing schedule. Decide what you’ll pack when based on what you need day-to-day pre-move. Start packing non-essentials early.
  • Purchase moving supplies – boxes, tape, markers, padding – well in advance.

Follow this pre-moving checklist, and you’ll be in good shape leading to the big day. Organising things ahead of time makes the moving process less daunting.

Ask family and friends to help

Don’t try to move house alone. Call in favours from family and friends to share the workload. Many hands make light work, and it’s also great for morale.

Agree on specific tasks you’d like help with. Possibilities include:

  • Packing awkward items like lamps, mirrors, etc.
  • Loading the removal van.
  • Cleaning the old or new property.
  • Looking after pets and children on moving day.
  • Making refreshments to keep energy levels up.

Schedule help requests well in advance so people can plan around them. Make it clear which date/time slots you need assistance with.

As thanks, provide plenty of drinks and snacks, and consider organising a pizza or takeaway for your moving team.

You may also want to arrange a rota for helpers. Having set time slots for people to lend a hand prevents everyone from descending at once and getting underfoot. Plus, it spreads the workload efficiently.

Don’t be afraid to give people specific instructions, either. Politely directing helpers to functional tasks prevents people from standing idle, unsure of what to do.

Create a checklist of ‘things to do’ and inventory 

Are stress levels rising as moving day approaches? A detailed checklist keeps you on track. Create one covering everything from start to finish:

  • Notify utility companies, banks, etc
  • Arrange phone and broadband connection in the new home
  • Confirm removal firm booking
  • Buy packing supplies – boxes, markers, etc
  • Pack room by room
  • Arrange help from friends and family
  • Confirm completion dates for old/new property
  • Clean old property before leaving
  • Defrost freezers/remove food
  • Charge devices for moving day

Also, create an inventory of items in each box as you pack. Number the boxes, then list the contents, such as:

Box 1 – Kitchen items

Mugs, plates, and cutlery.

Box 2 – Bathroom

Towels and toiletries.

This prevents wasting time rummaging through boxes once moved. You can go straight to the correct labelled box.

Tick items off your master checklist as completed. Review it daily in the run-up to the move so things don’t get missed.

It may be helpful to use checklist/inventory phone apps, too. These allow you to create detailed lists, set reminders for deadlines, and synchronise between devices. Search app stores for a ‘moving home checklist’ to find one suited to your needs.

Label your boxes clearly

Packing boxes provide temporary storage for moving day. But this only works smoothly if boxes have evident labels about the contents.

As previously mentioned, number each box sequentially as you go. Have a marker pen handy so you can write directly onto boxes:

  • Clear room name – for example, ‘Kitchen.’
  • Special items inside if helpful
  • Destination room in the new house – such as ‘Bedroom.’

Also, indicate any fragile or heavy boxes requiring extra care when loading/carrying.

Use a colour-coded labelling system if item name labels aren’t practical for directly onto boxes. For example, use red stickers for the kitchen and blue stickers for the bathroom.

Labelling like this prevents boxes from getting muddled or ending up in the wrong room. It means you and the removal team can instantly recognise which room each box should go to.

Create an overlap between buying your new house and moving out of your current one 

Ideally, your move happens in a relay fashion. You complete buying your new home a few days before vacating your old property.

This provides a valuable overlap period where you can move smaller items at leisure. Once you get keys for the new property, take carloads of boxes across. Move across what you’d prefer, not entrusting valuables or fragile items to the removal team.

It also means you’re not homeless between properties. You can move out of your old house then go straight to the new one. This is much less stressful than frantically squeezing everything into 1-2 days with nowhere to stay in between.

Consider requesting extra temporary occupancy if the timing doesn’t allow a natural overlap. Most sellers will agree on a couple more days if asked politely, and you offer additional fees. This still reduces the last-minute rush.

Get professionals to help 

While DIY moving with friends scratches the cost, consider getting professional help, too. Their expertise helps on the day – making the process faster and less demanding.

Removal firms are an obvious option, taking heavy lifting off your plate. Just steer them in the right direction as they work. Some even fully pack on your behalf – worth paying extra for.

A packing and unpacking service can bring peace of mind if the budget allows it. They’ll provide boxes and then return to unpack them into the new property so items end up in the correct rooms and ready to use. Other specialists can help, too – electricians can disconnect/reconnect appliances, or cleaners can prepare properties.

Approached haphazardly, moving house can be a nightmare. However, as shown above, proper planning and support make the process more manageable. Implement these practical tips well in advance so everything falls smoothly into place.  

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