Managing Moving Stress

You may have heard that one of the most stressful times in life is when we move homes. While experiencing a death of a loved one, marriage, divorce, or losing a job are all at the top of the stress list, moving is a significant life change that can also be extremely stressful.

When my husband and I moved to our apartment nine years ago, I said: “That’s it! The only way I am leaving is to drag my bones out of here!” While I was only partially joking, the sentiment was real. Moving is stressful and I didn’t want to do it again.

Then we got the bright idea to purchase a condo… Don’t get me wrong—it was wonderful and exciting to buy a home that would be all ours! But I almost chickened out because I hated the thought of moving. It’s not just the hauling, it’s the seemingly endless amount of packing, preceded by a seemingly endless amount of sorting, cleaning, and discarding. And frankly, I really don’t think we have that much stuff. It just feels like it!

Before we even went to closing, we started the process of cleaning. And as stressful as it was, two things made the move possible: my wonderful husband and taking our time.

First, I’ll address how we took our time in moving. Due to other commitments and the preference of the seller, we had a long delay in closing and then about another month before scheduling the move. We were fortunate that the timing worked out because it required some careful planning to make sure we minimized double payment of rent and mortgage.

Planning - the key to moving when living with RA

This length of time meant we could do a little every day over the course of two months for preparing for the move. We started with cleaning out closets, then desk areas, living room, bedroom and leaving the bathroom and kitchen near to the end. With each section, we boxed items for moving and set aside what needed to be thrown away versus what could be donated.

With a little Internet research we found a veterans’ organization that would pick up household goods for donations. I think we gave away more than six bags of linens, dishes, and cookery that we didn’t need. It felt good to be helping others with items that can be expensive to purchase. Additionally, we are admitted bookworms and realized after cleaning the shelves we didn’t need to keep so many books. Another organization happily picked up several boxes of books that will be given to charity. We even donated old phones and computers for recycling so that they wouldn’t end up in landfills. It’s did take a lot of work, but it felt fantastic to rid ourselves of items that would find a good second life.

The time we had also meant we took a careful look at finding the right movers. First we found some candidates online, then we checked their credentials on Yelp and the Better Business Bureau. We double checked they provided insurance on our property during moving, came with all the right equipment, and had a good reputation. This homework paid off because the movers did such a terrific job, that for me it was possibly the least stressful part of the entire experience.

Most importantly, my wonderful husband (Richard) bravely took the lead and did the vast majority of the work for our move. He planned it out meticulously, packed the boxes gradually, and kept me going when I reached peak anxiety. He even made a scale diagram of the new place and where all the furniture would fit. While I helped out where I could, he kept us on track and made it happen. His calming influence, ensured that I didn’t burst with stress.

Moving and managing stress involve taking as much time as possible, working gradually and persistently, and getting good help. Plus, take a deep breath and know that you will get through it!

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