7 Tips on How to Make Moving Less Stressful

Move enough, and you start to notice a familiar pattern to the process. There are the initial days of excitement, when you’re gathering packing supplies and moving boxes and psyching yourself up for a couple days of hard work. Then the hard work starts, and you realize that everything you thought would take ten minutes is actually going to take thirty, and everything you thought would take an hour is actually going to take five.

Finally, moving day arrives, a long, sweaty day of heavy lifting and the occasional last minute hiccup. When all is said and done, you sit back in your new home and relax for a second before you look around at your boxes and realize just how much is left to be done. Meanwhile, life – jobs, kids, pets, etc. – continues to require your attention, and the internet company just said they won’t be able to get your service set up for another week.

Is it any wonder that so many people find moving to be stressful?

I don’t mean to paint a doom and gloom picture of moving – it’s really not so bad, and it always works out well in the end. But it’s a fact of life that with moving comes stress, and it’s better to know what to expect (and how to tackle it) than to let it bring you down. These 7 tips on how to make moving less stressful are a good place to start.

Accept that stress is a normal part of the moving process
Overcoming moving stress starts with acceptance. If you recognize from the get-go that you are probably going to incur some stress over the course of your move, you’re less likely to let it set you back when it happens. Think about other times in your life that you’ve accepted occasional stress as a part of the process and simply worked through it, like school or your job. Stress is a natural human response to a demanding circumstance, but it isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it can even be good for you. Take it for what it is and acknowledge the feeling when it happens, but don’t let it deter you from the tasks at hand.

Give yourself enough time
One of the biggest sources of moving stress is time. More specifically, not having enough of it. A stress free move might not be possible, but you can make it a whole lot easier by making sure to allot enough time to getting everything done. Figure that you’ll need about two days to pack up a studio or one bedroom apartment, three to four days for a two bedroom home, five to six days for a three bedroom home, and so on. Be sure to give yourself enough time for other steps as well, such as researching and selecting a moving company or rental truck, setting up utilities in your new home, and cleaning the home that you’re leaving. The more you leave to the last minute, the more frantic you’ll inevitably feel.

Start small
There’s a quote by Confucius that goes: “The man who moves mountains begins by carrying away small stones.” Tackle the little things first, and you’ll notice that they quickly add up to big things. If you’re feeling paralyzed by moving stress or you simply don’t know where to start, just get something done, be it packing up a single kitchen drawer or getting all your books into a box. Making progress, big or small, is important for managing your stress, so worry less about how you’re going to get every single thing you own packed up, shipped to another location, and unpacked in a new space, and focus instead on just getting it done piece by piece.

Stay organized
Organization is key if you want to make moving less stressful. This applies to all facets of your move, from sorting and labeling boxes in a way that makes them easier to unpack to keeping all of the documents you might need – the contract with your movers, new lease, etc. – in one, easy to locate place. If you make organization a priority from step one, you’ll set yourself up for fewer headaches and an easier overall move.

Hire professional movers
If you can make room for it in your budget, nothing helps relieve the stress of moving more than handing off some of the major tasks to a professional moving company. In addition to helping with the heavy lifting on moving day, movers can also help pack up your things and safely wrap up and transport hard to pack items like lamps and art. That’s a lot less work on your end, and a lot less stress as a result. Just make sure to hire a moving company with a proven reputation of reliable and trustworthy service, otherwise you might end up with more stress instead of less. (Our moving company directory is a good place to start.)

Ask for help
It’s okay to ask for support when you need it. If you’re feeling stressed during your move, ask a friend or family member for help, or even just some company while you pack or unpack. An extra set of hands can greatly minimize the stress of moving, and having someone else around is a great distraction from what might be an otherwise overwhelming task. If you can, plan ahead and ask for help a week or more in advance so that whoever you asked can try to accommodate. And always be sure to show gratitude for any help you receive and to return the favor if and when the time comes.

Get some sleep
When there’s a lot to get done, it’s easy to put sleep on the back burner. But the less rest you get, the more likely you are to feel overcome by stress. Make sleep a priority during your move, and try to get a full night’s rest as often as possible. Moving can take a lot out of you both physically and mentally, and if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re going to be running on empty very quickly. Allow yourself to properly recharge every night, and you’ll notice you’re more efficient and a whole lot less stressed.

Life can be stressful, and moving is no exception. Accept the experience for what it is, and make sure you’re taking care of yourself during the process. And when it’s all over, consider treating yourself to a de-stressor, like a massage or a nice evening out. You’ll certainly have earned it.