Over the weekend I moved to a new apartment and, as anyone who has moved before knows, moving can be a stressful experience. It's very hard to stay positive and present when you're in the middle of relocating. Not only is it tough getting all of the stuff physically sorted (the packing... the address changing...), but moving can be a bit of an emotional upheaval as well.
For me, it's been tough because I'm moving not as a matter of choice, but as a repercussion of ending a relationship. The relationship ended months ago, but the act of starting over in a new space — the first time I've moved into a new space my myself in half a decade! — is sort of a reminder that, yes, I'm living alone now and, yes, the space we once shared together is physically no longer part of my life.
In a lot of ways this is a good thing — starting off on a clean slate, getting to create a space that is entirely my own as I navigate the landscape of being a thirty-something singleton — but it hasn't been easy. I'm not a fan of change in general and, being a bit of a homebody, my home base is incredibly important to me as a place of consistency and comfort. When I knew I'd be moving, I knew it wouldn't be easy, and I knew I had to do whatever I could to make it as painless as possible. Here are some of the things I did to minimize the stress of moving...
DECLUTTER + DONATE.
It's tempting to just throw all of your stuff in boxes and bags and worry about it later, but moving is a fantastic time to declutter and clear your life of things you don't need, want, or use. As I was packing up each room of my apartment, I thought carefully about each item before I put it in a box. Did I really want it anymore? When was the last time I actually used it? Though I'm a compulsive declutter-er, I ended up finding quite a few things in drawers in cabinets that I really didn't need anymore. I lugged boxes of clothes and books to donation centers and it felt really great to let go of things I don't need and know that the new space would be starting off clutter-free.
HAVE THE RIGHT SUPPLIES.
Walking into the U-Haul store was a bit overwhelming. It had been awhile since I'd moved and I couldn't remember what kinds of supplies I even needed. Luckily there were some helpful employees in the store who helped me sort out what I needed, and I ended up having the perfect supplies for moving: assorted boxes (lots of small ones for all my books!), markers, tons of tape (you always need more than you think!), bubble wrap, etc. In the past, I've found myself running out on multiple occasions to buy more tape or boxes, but this time I stocked up ahead of time and it made the whole process so much easier. Because, really, who wants to be running out for more tape at the last minute?
DO YOUR RESEARCH.
We all have some oddly shaped items that we have to move and initially I was a bit flustered by figuring out how to move all the things I have that don't easily fit into boxes or bags. But then I remembered the wonder that is Pinterest. There are tons of tips and tricks online for moving anything. No matter what you need to move, someone has probably moved it and posted advice for doing so online. Plus, just doing a bit of research on moving tips in general can really help you uncover tips and tricks for making the move go smoothly. (For example: take a photo of how all the cords are plugged into your TV so you know how to put it back together the same way!)
FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE.
As I mentioned above, moving can be seen as a negative or a positive: an uprooting of the place you call home or a chance to have a fresh start. I learned quickly that whatever I chose to see it would become magnified. The more I worried about it, the more stressful it seemed. The more I focused on how great it would be to start fresh, the more the move started to feel like a fabulous opportunity. So I chose to redirect my mind to the positive whenever I found it wandering into negative territory and it really helped make the move easier to cope with.
TAKE DEEP BREATHS.
Things are going to go wrong. That's just how moving goes. Things will break. Movers will be late. Something will be misplaced. It would be great if everyone had an absolutely flawless moving day, but that's not how it usually works in the real world. When things start going wrong, I've found it helpful to take deep breaths. I read about this relaxing breathing technique online — breathe in four seconds, hold it for seven, breathe out for eight — and it really helps whenever I'm feeling anxious or stressed. Breathing sounds basic, but it can be crucial for combating stress.
MAKE IT FEEL LIKE HOME.
One of the best ways to make the most of a moving day is to do at least one or two things to make it feel like home immediately. Hang a favorite photo or make up the bed just as it was at the old place. I read this bit of advice online and it really helped me settle in (and feel less unsettled!) when I moved into my new place and boxes were stacked all around me. It will always take awhile for a new place to really feel like home, but even just one little home-y touch can make a big difference after a long, stressful day of moving.