Moving: Tips To Effectively Managing The Process

Being amidst the chaos of moving has reminded me about the value of stability and comfort as I try to navigate the stress that comes with relocating.  Up there with death and divorce, moving is considered to be one of life’s most stressful experiences because it involves change.  Change requires us to go outside of our day-to-day routines and comfort zones and adjust to new circumstances, which is not always easy.  Whether we are moving across town or across the country, there are some strategies we can incorporate into the moving process that may help make the transition somewhat smooth and stress-free.  Here are some of them:

Create a task list

Moving can be overwhelming when we think about everything that needs to get done beforehand as well as afterwards.  Writing down these tasks can help organize the process so that it feels more manageable.  Once we have a list of to-do tasks, we can put timelines on them to promote realistic planning and follow through.


Moving presents us with a great opportunity to get rid of clutter and other items that have lost purpose for us.  Therefore before the packing process begins, take some time to clean out and organize what to keep versus what to toss.

Utilize resources

Most of us know what it can be like to move, especially if we feel like we are doing it alone.   Do not hesitate to ask friends or family for help and be open to any way they may be able or willing to be of assistance.  Hiring a moving company or other services may help take some of the load off.

Take care of yourself

During times of transition, it is even more important for us to pay attention to ourselves.  This means ensuring that we are getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet.  It also means that we may need to take breaks during the process in order to refuel and energize. Go for a walk or a run or meet up with friends for a meal.

Be aware of your emotional needs

For some, moving is a choice however for others, it can be a decision that has been made for us.  Moving can bring a multitude of emotional reactions from joy and excitement to sadness and fear.  Whatever the experience is for you, allow yourself to be mindful and respectful of your feelings, which is a crucial coping skill for navigating change.

Practice patience and flexibility

More often than not, unexpected events occur during a process that we place so much emphasis on planning and organizing.  Things will happen that are outside of our control and will affect us in some way. In order to prevent us from adding more stress to our already full plate during this time, consider being flexible by going with the flow.  If possible, we can also direct our focus to tasks that we do have control over to help us cope.

Set a realistic time frame

When planning a move, try to be realistic about the amount of time it will take to pack up, move, and then unpack.  Timeframes for moves vary depending on the type as well as other factors that may be unique to each situation.  Allow enough time on both ends of the move to complete the to-do list.

Allow other duties to wait

We find moving to be stressful in part because of the pressure we place on ourselves to continue fulfilling our typical responsibilities and jobs at the same time.  Take time to consider whether it would be beneficial to take some time off from work.  Choose which duties you can let go of temporarily to allow yourself time and energy to focus on the move.

Get to know your new neighbors

Being a new place can be exciting or scary depending on the reason and circumstances of the move.  Establishing new relationships in an unfamiliar neighborhood can make a transition more manageable and rewarding.

Develop new routines

Moving to a new location may present obstacles to maintaining our schedules and routines because of changes in commutes, settings, and availability of services.  This may mean that we need to be creative about changes we can make to our days in order to ensure that we can still participate in the activities we enjoy.

~ Cory Stege, M.S., LMFT