7 Steps to a More Peaceful Moving Experience

By: Ruth Klein

If you're feeling stressful at the thought of moving, you're not alone. About 19 percent of the U.S. population moves every year.

And, according to the Employee Relocation Council, moving is third only behind death and divorce as the most stressful life event.

Moving disrupts routines, lifestyles and friendships, and uproots families. Moving is physically exhausting.

The anxieties of moving to a strange neighborhood, city, state or country can become overwhelming when you factor in the high cost of moving.

It's not necessary to submit to overwhelm when you consider moving. Start making moving plans the day you know you will be moving.

Create a "to do" calendar. Call the utility companies. Fill out your change-of-address cards. Call for estimates from moving companies. Tell friends and family members to expect a call from you soon to help you move.

Here are seven ways to take the stress out of moving:

1. Do the math. The high cost of moving is a huge stress instigator. Do the math upfront to minimize your stress. Know that replacing household items sometimes is less expensive than moving them. Know that throwing out unused items immediately will save you the time and expense of packing, moving and re-storing those unused items. Plus, you earn a charitable deduction for donated items.

2. Simplify. Delegate moving chores to each person in your house, choosing taskmasters by their individual talents. For example, let the cleaning nut do all the cleaning. Let the household mechanic make sure everything is taken apart and packed so that it can be easily put together again. You can take big chunks of the moving to-do list and break it down into smaller, more easily handled pieces.

3. De-clutter. Throw away belongings that carry negative emotional baggage. Now is the time to carefully clean and pack those items you want to become family heirlooms. Mark these items, and pack carefully. Is anything else really necessary? If nothing else is necessary, just toss it out.

4. Label everything. When you pack one box, you can write on the outside of the box the items that are inside it. Color-code packing boxes by room. Color code the boxes from each room - red for bathroom; green for dining room - to let the movers see immediately where to put those boxes when they get to the new location.

5. Clean as you go. If you move methodically through your packing process, you can take a break when one room is packed to clean that room well. Then close the door to measure your progress. Ditto with each closet and other measurable space in your house.

6. Enlist outside help. If you can afford it, pay a cleaning company rather than exhausting yourself to the point of dangerous fatigue. Enlist friends or family members to help you plan, move and unpack.

7. Anticipate positives. Why focus on what you think you're going to lose? Focus instead on the new friends you'll find, the new places you'll enjoy. Take a break from moving to investigate educational and fun places in the vicinity of your new home. Engage your family in discussions about the positives of your new place while you still are moving from your old place. Remember: Stress is contagious, but so is excitement.

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