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It is commonly said the moving house is right up there with death and divorce as one of the most stressful experiences.
After six moves in 18 years – four within eight years – I can say it’s not the moving that’s the problem, it’s finding a place to move into that creates the stress.
Invariably, there’s a time frame. Perhaps a house has been sold and you have to find something before settlement, or maybe a rental lease has expired. Even when you have plenty of notice, it’s not easy and there’s an inclination to rush a decision that could be one of the most important you will make in your life.
But moving – that bit’s easy. And to be honest, if I didn’t move as often, I’m not sure if that gap behind the books in the bookcase would ever be dusted. And there’s nothing like a regular clean-out of the wardrobe and linen cupboard to get you sorted.
I love working out what will go where in a new home. It’s fun to rearrange furniture and lamps, and hang paintings in different places. I often find items that didn’t work in one house look great in another. Even if it is just a temporary home, I like to put my personal stamp on a space.
I also like to see how the sun comes into the house at different times of the year, and seeing unexpected flowers bloom in the garden.
And then there’s the joy of exploring a new neighbourhood – finding interesting new walks, shops and the quickest route to town or work.
I have friends who have lived in the same house for nearly three decades, raising families. A move for them would be a massive undertaking. Downright scary in fact. Clearly, there’s the accumulated detritus, but there’s also a much stronger emotional tie to a house you have lived in for a long time.
TIPS FOR REDUCING STRESS
While removing all stress isn’t possible, these are the tips I follow for a smooth transition.
1. Sort your stuff and find what you no longer need. Be ruthless. Some items may go to a charity shop or can be sold on TradeMe, while others are probably only good for the tip. Best to do this as early as possible. If your children have left home, get them to come back and remove all the sports gear, study notes, toys and old school projects they have left behind. It is not your job to carry this from house to house.
2. Make a list of all the companies that need to be contacted re your change of address and systematically work through them.
3. Start packing early, bit by bit. Each day put a few more things in a box, seal it and label it clearly. Write down what’s in the box and what room it needs to go to in your new home. Stack the boxes along a wall so you don’t trip over them. I never use packers, because they are an extra expense, and the only time I ever did was the only time anything has ever been broken.
Encourage children to help by packing up their own spaces. (They will also enjoy unpacking and finding homes for their toys.) Your enthusiasm and excitement will be contagious and help offset fears and feelings of being unsettled.
4. Book your removal company as soon as possible. My advice is don’t try and move yourself (unless you are a student). You are asking a lot of friends if you need help, and a removal company will do it in a fraction of the time. The more sorted you are, the cheaper the cost as most companies charge by the hour. Shop around for quotes.
5. On moving day make sure absolutely everything is in a sealed box, apart from furniture and other large items of course. Otherwise you will have endless trips carrying all those bits and pieces you never got around to packing.
6. Allow at least a day, preferably two, to clean up the house you have vacated. There is always a bit of a mess left behind. Vacuuming, washing floors and wiping skirting boards, doors and window sills can be time consuming. If you are really organised, you will have already done much of this.
7. Establish a priority for unpacking. Key kitchen items and bedding should be unpacked first. Make sure you can find these boxes in a hurry so you can make a cup of tea and climb into bed. Also, work out a place to put keys in the new house – if you don’t do this you will invariably lose them.
8. Hang paintings, plump out cushions and fill bookshelves straight away. These are the things that will make you feel “at home”. I find bare walls depressing, and have been known to hang paintings the same day I move.
9. Get all those boxes unpacked as quickly as possible, preferably within a fortnight. Stuff not unpacked by then is probably not stuff you need anyway.
10. Accept any and all offers of help. Eat takeaways for as long as required and don’t forget a BYO house-warming party.
Continue reading this article at the original source from Stuff.co.nz
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