The Move That Moves You: Examining the Stress of Changing Homes

More space, an increase in family members, closer access to work or school, or just the desire to get a house tailored to their needs — these are some of the common reasons someone wants to move from their old house. The desire for a new place is often associated with getting a more comfortable house for residents to carry out their daily activities.

However, it cannot be denied that moving house is a situation that can cause stress in life. This is normal because moving house requires a lot of physical and mental preparation. Moving a house without thorough preparation will result in more significant problems, such as the house’s condition not meeting expectations, loss of items during the moving process, and a lack of knowledge regarding the environment around the new house.

Therefore, this article will invite you to examine more deeply the possible challenges you will face in the process of moving. This article will also offer several tips for moving houses to make your relocation process less burdensome.

Understanding the stress of moving

As previously mentioned, the process of moving house is one of the most stressful situations in life. This is normal, considering there are many preparations you must do before moving houses, such as the following:

Grief over leaving a familiar place

A house is a place that holds many memories, especially if someone was born and grew up in that house. Leaving the old house is the same as leaving behind the memories in it.

So, it can cause grief for individuals facing a situation that requires them to leave the old house, such as changing workplaces, living with a partner, or looking for housing closer to an educational institution. For elderly people, moving houses will be challenging, considering that they have more memories in their old house.

Children involvement

The process of moving houses not only impacts adults but can also impact children. For them, moving houses is not just leaving the old house and adapting to a new one but also leaving the old school, entering a new school, and meeting people they have never known. In this case, the role of parents in accompanying children will be vital to help them adapt.

Another stress that potentially surfaces is related to packing. Parents must assist their children when packing things so they don’t forget their belongings or get injured by sharp and heavy objects. This will certainly add to parents’ to-do list because apart from taking care of personal belongings, they also need to ensure that their children can organize their things. This will be a challenge for busy parents, which can often cause stress without a good organizational system.

Loss of familiarity and comfort

House relocation is closely related to changes in the surrounding environment, including social conditions, access to public facilities, house layout, and local regulations that must be obeyed. All of these changes can certainly cause stress for individuals. It is not uncommon for homesickness to occur if the individual experiences obstacles in the adjustment process.

Logistics and planning

Packing things before moving house is not easy to do. You should not forget to do several things in the process of packing items, such as using cardboard boxes and labels, using bubble wrap to wrap fragile and valuable items, and grouping them. So, they are easier to find when you arrive at your new home. 

Poor planning in the packing process will result in lost or damaged items. Packing large items carelessly can also result in personal injury. For example, heavy objects can crush your feet when lifting them due to choosing a box that is not intended for heavy objects.

Uncertainty and safety considerations

Things that need to be considered in the moving process are not only changes in environmental conditions that can cause stress but also understanding the conditions of the new house. A lack of information about the condition of a new house can cause stress after moving because there is a possibility that the house will not meet expectations. 

Improper housing conditions also have the possibility of harming the occupants. For example, an undetected septic tank leak can cause respiratory problems due to exposure to toxic gasses. Apart from that, the presence of termites that are not detected on the roof of the house is at risk of weakening the condition of the roof, and it might collapse on the occupants of the house at any time.

It is also necessary to check the condition of the new house to determine whether the items you will bring from the old house can fit in the new house. You certainly don’t want the essential items you brought to be unusable in your new home.

Coping strategies

Although it cannot be denied that moving house is stressful, this does not mean it cannot be overcome. You can take several baby steps to reduce the stress of moving to a new home.

Accept the feeling of grief

Some people think the grief of moving home is in vain and should be forgotten immediately. But in fact, grief is the first step to achieving acceptance of the situation at hand. This also applies when someone wants to leave the old house and its memories to move to a new house to fulfill certain demands in life.

The sadness you feel when you leave your old home is normal. There is no specific limit to when someone should start to move on from their feelings of sadness because each person has different mental capabilities, depending on how attached they are to their old home. Let yourself feel sad for some time until you can finally accept what is happening. 

Seek support from friends and family

Emotional support from friends and family will be critical for individuals in overcoming sadness when moving house. Don’t hesitate to contact or involve them in the preparation process. You can assemble a team with them to help you pack or ask their advice to ease your worry. 

Apart from that, the presence of friends and family can also help you obtain information regarding your new surrounding environment, such as the neighborhood’s condition. This will be very useful to familiarize yourself with the new environment.

Read more: You Moved to a New Neighborhood — Now What? 

Seek professional help

Moving house is a complex situation for many people, especially if they don’t know where to start. Seeking professional help from a moving company can be an alternative way to overcome these difficulties. Seeking professional help also requires several considerations so you don’t get trapped by an incompetent moving service provider.

Look for as much information as possible regarding several companies providing house moving services. Don’t just stick to one company. You can also see reviews regarding the company via the internet. Apart from that, you can also ask friends and family for recommendations on companies providing moving services that are trusted and competent.

Plan and organize efficiently

Moving houses cannot be done suddenly in a short time. There are several preparations you need to make so that the process of moving house can run smoothly. Apart from preparing yourself for several environmental changes and the condition of your new home, you must prepare yourself by decluttering and packing your belongings.

The quicker you pack your items, the less likely you will leave important items behind or make mistakes in sorting them. It’s best to start packing three months before moving day to give yourself time to sort your items. Try not to postpone this activity because procrastinating will only bring problems for you on moving day (for example, items left behind in the old house, damaged items due to not being packed properly, and lost items).

In sorting items, there are some tips you can follow to make your packing easier:

  • Analyze how many items you will sort and how many boxes are available at home.
  • You can use a three-box strategy (throw away, donate, keep) to make it easier to sort items.
  • You can put items you still need in the ‘keep’ box, while items you no longer need can be put in the ‘throw away’ box if they can no longer be used or ‘donate’ if they can still be used by someone else.
  • Do this to items in each room in your house.

Once you know the items you will bring to your new house, start sorting them again based on size. Avoid putting small or fragile items together with heavy and large items. Using bubble wrap or furniture blankets is also recommended to minimize damage to items caused by bumps during the moving process. After the items are in the box, label them outside and inside so you don’t lose track of them when unpacking at your new home.

Read more: How to Deal With the Monster in Your Closet Called Clutter

In conclusion

Moving into a new home is a stressful situation in life, as homeowners will surely face emotional and physical challenges.

Overcome emotional challenges before moving by accepting the grief of leaving the old house or seeking support from relatives. Meanwhile, seek services from professional movers and do proper preparation and item organization to ease the physical burden of household shifting.

If you would like to see more resources on moving, check out the Home Organization Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Home Organization Science Labs today.

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