Moving ranks among the most stressful events in a person’s life, right up there with divorce, job loss, and major illness. In light of the fact that it is typically a costly, labor-intensive, and demanding experience, this is not really surprising. And because moving isn’t something we do very often, it requires more physical, mental, and emotional energy than familiar tasks that are part of our everyday routines.
But what exactly are the specific factors that cause the tension and anxiety that seem to go hand-in-hand with the moving process? We’ve listed some of the most problematic moving-related stressors and tips for how to manage them. You and your HR team can use this as a handy guide for helping employees who are relocating or share it with staff who are handling all or some of these responsibilities themselves.
Packing and Unpacking
Packing and unpacking often on the top of the list when it comes to stressful moving tasks. Most of us have a lot of stuff, and the longer we live in one place, the more we accumulate. Tip: While it may seem time-consuming, one way to reduce the stress is to sort belongings before packing and purge or donate any unnecessary items. Friends or neighbors may be able to make good use of household goods and charitable donations can be tax deductible. In the long run, it will reduce the amount of time spent packing, loading and unpacking.
Moving Without Professional Help
Loading and unloading a moving truck without the help of a professional mover is not only stressful, but it involves plenty of heavy lifting – from couches and dressers to mattresses and dining tables. It’s wise to reserve this option only for short-distance moves.
Tip: Those who choose to move themselves should enlist friends or family to help. Borrowing or buying the right tools for the job such as a dolly, hand truck and moving straps will make lifting easier. When it’s time to load the truck, pack items tightly to prevent shifting and reduce the number of trips. Driving the moving truck is its own source of stress. It is significantly larger than a sedan or SUV, so be sure to drive slowly and brake earlier, make wider turns, and be aware of overpass, bridge, and tunnel height limits.
Finding a New Home
One of the most difficult parts of moving is searching for a new home. The process is extremely time-consuming and often difficult, especially for those moving to an unfamiliar city or town. Hiring a good real estate agent is certainly an option, but there are many decisions and choices to be made.
Tip: Before buying or renting, it’s a good idea to visit neighborhoods in person to get a feel for the place and people. The new home’s location will need to suit lifestyle and personal preferences. Families with children need to research schools, childcare resources, and amenities, while commuters will want to consider transportation options. Expenses for repairs, remodeling, or home improvement projects will need to be budgeted for. Finding the perfect home often takes longer than expected, so be sure to begin the search well before any planned move.
Choosing Reliable Movers
Finding an experienced and trustworthy mover can be incredibly stressful. There is no shortage of moving companies willing to take care of complete relocation needs, but choosing the right one will define the entire moving experience.
Tip: The American Moving and Storage Association (www.moving.org) suggests calling at least three companies two months ahead the planned moving date. This allows time to carefully research options, read reviews, get cost quotes, and be informed about the terms and conditions of the move. Settling all of the details in advance, from pick-up and delivery dates to special requirements can help make moving day stress-free.
Compiling a Home Inventory
This is one painstaking task that’s well worth the effort, especially when using professional movers. Creating a home inventory means going through each room and noting every important possession. This will serve as a checklist for determining if something is missing or damaged after the move.
Tip: Using a pre-populated downloadable home inventory spreadsheet can save precious time. Post-move, the inventory list should be kept on file for insurance purposes in case of fire, natural disaster, or theft.
Leaving a beloved home, neighborhood, and friends is never easy. To minimize the stress and sadness, it’s important to find meaningful ways to say goodbye to favorite places and people.
Tip: Many people find it comforting to visit locations that hold special meaning and recall good times spent there. They can bring friends along if that makes the moments more enjoyable. Others find closure by hosting a farewell party for friends and neighbors or making an event out of a final dinner or night on the town. When saying goodbye to good friends, it’s important to let them know how and why they are valued – even with the promise to stay in touch.
Striving to manage change in a positive way is arguably the most stressful task facing any employee who is moving to a new location. Suburban Settlers helps individuals and families minimize the stress of transitioning by helping them get settled in their new neighborhoods. Whether it’s sharing intel on the best shops, doctors and day care centers; navigating local highways and public transit systems; recommending handymen; or making personal introductions, our highly customized services help newcomers feel at home, faster.