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The best strategies to make moving less stressful

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

Moving is extremely stressful.

In fact, I have a big move coming up.

Today, I will walk you through the steps to move from one apartment to the next with less stress.

After reading this blog you will be able to:

  • Understand why moving is so stressful

  • Break your move into small, actionable steps

  • Manage your stress before, during, and after the move

If you are worried about an upcoming move, you will love this step-by-step guide.

Is moving stressful? You are not alone.

At the end of November, I am moving.

Moving is literally my worst nightmare.

There is so much to do.

The thought of packing everything I own into a Uhaul only to unpack and reorganize a new apartment is extremely overwhelming.

My future telling self-talk only enhances my stress.

How will I get all of this done?

I am so busy. I don't have time to do all of this!

My new place is going to be so disorganized and then I am going to have to work the day after I move!

With Thanksgiving coming up, my stress builds even more.

There goes another few days where I could be packing...

The easiest thing to do is procrastinate. I technically have over two weeks until the move...

The truth is, I already have procrastinated. I could have done more last week and even more over the weekend.

But, living in the past is not going to help me.

Breaking down the move into bite-sized chunks will.

How many times have you moved as an adult?

  • 1 time

  • 2 times

  • 3 times

  • 4+ times


Why is moving stressful?

Moving can be an incredibly stressful experience for various reasons, with financial concerns often topping the list.

The financial burden of moving, like hiring movers, transportation, and unexpected expenses, can weigh heavily.

An article from 2020 reported,

64% of respondents said that their most recent move was one of the most stressful things they’ve ever experienced.

The emotional toll of leaving behind friends, family, and cherished memories can be overwhelming.

The prospect of starting anew in an unfamiliar place, coupled with the anxiety of potentially feeling isolated or lonely, contributes significantly to the emotional stress associated with moving.

The emotional ties to one's current location can make the idea of uprooting and establishing new connections seem daunting.

Even seemingly trivial aspects of moving, such as finding a new grocery store or deli, can become stressors.

The routine activities that once provided comfort and familiarity may now require a significant adjustment, adding to the overall sense of unease.

The planning involved in a move is another substantial source of stress.

The logistical challenges, time-consuming tasks, and extensive effort required to organize and execute a successful move can be anxiety-inducing.

The sheer magnitude of planning can leave anyone feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Is this your experience?

image of person overwhelmed by moving who has ADHD
Is this how moving feels to you?

How do I start moving?

The first crucial task is to determine the exact date of the move.

Setting a clear and specific date provides a concrete timeline for all subsequent actions, allowing for a more organized and efficient planning process.

Once the date is established, the next pivotal action is to arrange moving services. Whether opting for professional movers or planning a DIY move, securing the necessary assistance is vital.

Researching and hiring a reputable moving company or organizing a reliable team of friends and family ensures that the logistical aspects of transportation and heavy lifting are taken care of.

This step not only provides practical support but also alleviates the physical and mental burden of moving.

white male with long brown hair standing with a black jacket in front of a green background

How do I pack to move without being overwhelmed?


Packing to move can be stressful, but with a systematic approach, it becomes more manageable.


List items to sell, donate, or discard.

  • This presents an opportunity to declutter your home and lighten the load for the move.

  • A useful rule of thumb is to consider whether you've used an item in the past two years; if not, it may be time to part ways.

Gather essential packing supplies

  • Boxes

  • Tape

  • Newspaper, or bubble wrap for fragile items, and cleaning supplies.

Categorize your belongings by room

  • Kitchen

  • Bathroom

  • Clothes

  • Books

Pack with a system in mind

Whether it's packing one box per day, focusing on one type of item daily, or tackling one room each day. As you go room by room, neatly pack your items into boxes


Wrap it up!

Wrap fragile belongings in newspaper or bubble wrap before placing them in boxes.


Tape up those loose ends

Seal the boxes with tape and label them with the specific type of items inside for easy identification during the unpacking process.


Set things out

Arrange the packed boxes near the front door for moving day.


Besides packing, what else do I need to do?

It's crucial to handle more than just packing.

Transfer or cancel utilities like gas, electricity, water, and wifi to avoid disruptions.

Notify the post office, banks, friends, family, and your employer of your change of address.

Don't forget about cleanliness.

Consider hiring a cleaning service to leave your old home in good condition.

Should I ask for help when moving?

Seeking help is a valuable strategy to ease the burden of moving.

Hiring professional movers and a cleaning service costs money, but might save you time and stress.

Movers handle the logistics of transporting your belongings.

A cleaning service leaves you with less to worry about during this hectic time.

Additionally, don't hesitate to reach out to friends and family for support.

Their assistance can go a long way in making the process more manageable.

Whether it's packing up your belongings or unpacking in the new place, having extra hands on deck can expedite the process and alleviate stress.

For you, how stressful is moving?

  • Not at all.

  • A little bit, but not too much.

  • It is very stressful.


What are the best strategies to make moving less stressful?

Taking proactive steps to shift your mindset and prioritize self-care is key.

First, cultivate excitement about the upcoming change by focusing on positive aspects.

Make a list of things you're looking forward to in your new location.

Research local community clubs, activities, and events, and identify a restaurant you're eager to try.

This anticipation can help counterbalance the stress of the move and instill a sense of enthusiasm about the new opportunities that lie ahead.

Prioritizing self-care, especially in terms of sleep and daily movement, is crucial.

Adequate rest ensures you're mentally and physically prepared for the challenges of moving.

Starting early in the day allows for better time management and minimizes last-minute rushes, reducing stress levels.


If we leave tasks unfinished for too long, the resultant rumination or anxiety can impact our self-esteem.

Plan to incorporate breaks into your moving day.

Take time to grab lunch or simply step away for a moment to recharge.

These small but intentional acts of self-care contribute to a more balanced and less stressful moving experience.

Conclusion

Moving is undeniably a stressful endeavor, but breaking it down into manageable steps can significantly alleviate the strain. Understanding the various stressors associated with moving, such as financial concerns and emotional ties, is the first step. By breaking the move into small, actionable steps, from setting a clear date and arranging services to systematic packing and addressing additional considerations like utility transfers and address updates, the process becomes more organized.


Seeking help, whether through professional movers, a cleaning service, or support from friends and family, further eases the burden. Proactive steps like cultivating excitement, prioritizing self-care, and planning breaks during moving day contribute to a more positive and less overwhelming experience.


Remember, while moving may be a challenging task, taking it one step at a time transforms it from an intimidating nightmare into a manageable journey toward a new and exciting chapter.


If you want one to one support on managing the moving process, use the link below to connect with an adult executive function coach who can serve as your personal guide in making your move the best one yet.


Stay Engaged


About the author

Eric Kaufmann, M.Ed is a Professional Educational Therapist and Certified Executive Function Coach. He is the Co-founder of UpSkill Specialists, an online adult executive function coaching company designed to guide adults in overcoming disorganization, procrastination, and productivity roadblocks so they can unlock their potential. Eric is also the founder of Elevate Learning Solutions, an Educational Therapy practice located in San Clemente, CA, that guides students with neurological differences toward becoming independent and confident students and self-leaders.

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Upskill Specialists was founded when two former special education teachers turned executive function coaches decided that adults need tools and coaching to improve their workplace skills and feel confident and empowered. Our mission is to ensure every adult with EF challenges has access to high-quality coaching services. 

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