January 30, 2015

Moving is always a big deal. It’s stressful and strenuous. And it inevitably involves a lot of decisions, planning, and budgeting of time and money. In fact, when it’s all over and you’re happily settled into your new home, you may feel you need a vacation.

One way to reduce the emotional drama and frayed nerves that come with relocation is to take the time to think the whole thing through from beginning to end in a practical way.

With that in mind, here are 5 tips to ensure that everything goes smoothly:

1. Get clear about your reasons.

While emotional reasons are a motivating source for moving, you also need to find some good logical reasons for your move.

If you’re moving, for instance, because you don’t like your neighborhood or want to change your life by starting over in a new place, think of your ideal place and how you can change your life for the better once you move.

If you’re moving in search of new employment opportunities, then make sure that you will find a better job when you get to your new location.

If you’re in the military and have some choice in the matter, then review the best places in the United States to move for military families.

If it’s a job-based relocation, then weigh the opportunity cost of the move.

In short, your move will go well if you have a clear goal rather than merely feeling restless and want a change of scene.

2. Take time to work through your emotions.

Moving is stressful because it triggers strong emotions. Relocating can be surprisingly emotional.

As human beings, we’re hardwired by evolution to be social animals, belong to a tribe (aka peer group), and fear unknown places. If you’re moving away from something rather than toward something, then expect to be filled with self-doubt, too.

The best way to work through your emotions is to give yourself time to get things done in an orderly way. If you’re emotionally overwhelmed by your move, then talk it over with some good friends, a pastor or a counselor.

If you are moving with your family, then everyone will be feeling some measure of emotional stress, too. Family discussions will help everyone get over their moody feelings about leaving good friends and favorite places and activities behind.

While it’s easy enough to bury your emotions, there is a price to pay for suppressing your feelings—you’ll be in a bad mood during the entire moving process, squabble with your family over petty things, and make the whole process much more difficult than it has to be.

One thing that may help considerably with emotional stress is to scout your new home. Take a trip to your new home, see the town or city, visit the neighborhoods, and find out what resources are available. A working knowledge of your new location will give you a hopeful feeling of moving toward something rather than the depressing feeling of moving away from something.

3. Figure out all the costs.

You need to budget both your time and your money if you’re moving. For instance, estimate how much time you need to take off from work and figure out the cost of the move, the cost at your new location, the cost of living, and the cost of state, local, and property taxes.

Things may cost more than you think and it’s better to be in the ballpark then be taken by surprise and run into financial problems.

4. Plan well ahead of time.

The longer you have before you move, the better you can plan. Your plans should include hiring a moving company to help you with packing, moving, and settling. The United Van Lines site lists a variety of tools, tips, and logistical considerations.

5. Tie up any loose ends.

Get any physical records that you need from doctor’s prescriptions to letters of references; make a contact list and take time to say goodbye to people; and time the sale of your current home with the purchase of your new one as closely as possible.

Final Thoughts

Moving is difficult and once you accept this basic truth, it will be easier to manage. You will have to deal with a lot of emotional stress, social changes, financial adjustments, and logistical challenges.

When you do arrive at your new home, take a few days to adjust to your new environment instead of just sending your kids off to their new school and rushing off to your new job. You need time to let it all sink in.

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