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Moving House: Avoiding the Stress

10 May 2013

Moving house is widely proclaimed to be one of life's most stressful events. It is often a result of some other big change in your life, like a new job, a change in marital circumstances or leaving home for the first time. When you face the long process of selling, finding the right new home then the lengthy and often difficult process of exchanging and completing on contracts within a chain... you might well find yourself chewing your nails or even tearing your hair out.

But now, you're almost there. The date is set and the movers are booked. So now you have one of the most dreaded parts of the moving process coming: the packing. Luckily, there are some simple, practical tips to help reduce the angst and pressure, without any of the psycho babble. These five easy steps will make the process very much easier.

1. Get time on your side. Though there may be pressure from other sellers in the chain and your estate agent, you need time to prepare and to pack. Try to fix a completion/moving date that suits you - and be prepared to negotiate. In an ideal world, you'll have 4-6 weeks notice of when moving day will be. Early in the process, brief your solicitor of when is convenient for you to move and they should work on your behalf. Then arrange some annual leave. Trying to pack up all your worldly belongings in the evenings and at precious weekends only, after work, just adds to the strain and the feeling of the clock counting down way too fast.

2. Keep your eyes on the prize. Never forget why you're doing this. Whether you wanted to move or are compelled to - you have an exciting new start and a blank canvas in store. Whenever you're really struggling to keep sane and feeling at the end of your rope, take time out and look at some pictures of your new home. Start making some plans, think about how your new bedroom will look and get the excitement back. It makes the endless packing so very much easier to bear, when you remember why you are doing it.

3. Enlist help. Even if it's just you doing the move, you don't have to do it alone. Get friends, family and neighbours to put in maybe just an evening with you, packing and cleaning. It's much more fun that way. The packing should never have to fall to just one person. Even the kids can help, filling a box with their toys. If there really is no-one around, and/or you're really busy with work, consider using a professional packing service. Many removals companies and certainly the national chains will offer this. Yes it costs, but the cost needs to be weighed against your time and your sanity. It can be very worth it.

4. Clear out the clutter. To minimise your packing, time and costs, having a good clear out before you pack is invaluable. It also makes you feel in control and can be really cathartic. There really is no point in spending your precious hours packing up stuff that you just don't need any longer, haven't worn in years, or which has been sat in the loft for years. Many companies charge for moving by the number of boxes or volume, so what you can sell, auction, donate to charity or throw away will lessen your bill. It also gives you a fresh start in your new home and new life.

5. Get your ducks in a row. A lot of the worry in moving comes from uncertainty. So, make sure everything is organised, the moving company is booked well in advance, you know what's happen and feel more in control. Remove the 'what ifs' and have a firm timetable in place.

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