A new home can be exciting whether it’s down the block, across town, or located in a new city. However, the process of getting there generally isn’t. In fact, packing up all your belongings and leaving a known place for somewhere new can be very stressful. Moving can take a psychological and emotional toll on your family because it often means leaving behind friends, neighborhood, schools, and jobs. Yet it can be the start of a brand-new, stimulating chapter in your life.
Knowing that house hunting and relocation are not easy, it’s important to find solutions that will reduce that tension. Here are seven ways to find a new home, relocate your family, and make it a positive experience for everyone.
1. Make a Family Wish List for Your New Home
Although some parts of a move are decided for us based on a new job or another life-changing event, all members of the family can still have a say in what they would like to see in a new home. Crafting this family wish list together encourages your kids to be part of the process. At a time when it may feel as though they have no control over what’s happening, this involvement can really help. They will have plenty to say about their ideal bedroom, bathroom, play space, and backyard.
On the other hand, including your kids in every house-hunting trip poses a high risk of complete boredom. Instead, share pictures or video when you return from looking at homes to get their input. These visuals will also make the move more of a reality and give them an idea of what their new home could look like.
2. Plan the Move Well in Advance
Your preferred moving company may be very busy at certain times of the year or even be fully booked up when you need to move. The result could be having to use movers whom you may not trust, leading to more stress. Or you may end up paying too much, which also adds to the pressure.
Because your move date may be dictated by a closing date or the end of a rental agreement, start there and work backward, giving yourself a month or two to plan the move. This includes booking a moving company as well as creating a schedule for packing all your belongings, having a moving sale, and making repairs and cleaning the house. You’ll also need to think about school schedules, time off from work, and other factors that will be impacted by such a huge event.
To alleviate some of the stress, consider partnering with a company like Moved, which can serve as a dedicated personal assistant for all your moving needs. Like a concierge for the moving process, Moved helps you make informed decisions about your move and assists with myriad relocation-related tasks, such as getting moving quotes, coordinating logistics, ordering packing supplies, locating storage services, updating addresses, and more. Being able to research and reserve these services online allows you to do it on your schedule.
3. Remember Your Tasks — and the Creature Comforts — on Moving Day
Create a checklist and schedule for moving day. With so much going on, it’s easy to forget something that could throw the whole day off. Consider sharing a free task list app like Todoist, Remember The Milk, or WorkFlowy with family members so they are all on the same page and don’t have to wonder what’s going on. Be sure to start making this list as part of the move-planning process. As tasks come to mind or various appointments related to the move are booked, enter them in the app. This means less to remember later on when it’s crunch time.
To make moving day friction-free, be sure your kids and pets have everything they need for their comfort. This includes food and plenty of water on hand throughout the day. Have a bag packed with essentials for one to two nights, including pajamas, changes of clothing, and toiletries. Also have a favorite toy waiting for kids and pets. You may need things like pillows, air mattresses, and other “camp-like” essentials to get you through the first few nights in your new home.
4. Be Your Most Flexible Self
If your move comes off without a hitch, then you are one of the truly lucky ones. In reality, moving rarely goes as smoothly as you’d like — and that’s even with good planning. Be prepared for things to go wrong.
While you may not know what those things are until they happen, you can stay positive in the face of the unexpected. Be open to making changes on the fly. It’s OK if the moving truck is delayed because of traffic; everything just gets pushed back a bit. Think of it an extra hour to finish some last-minute packing or have a quick lunch.
5. Get the Kids Involved
Kids often have mixed emotions about such a big change. By engaging them in the packing process and giving them certain tasks to complete as part of the move, they will feel involved. That will distract them from focusing on missing their friends or pre-worrying about their new school.
Plus, roping in the kids will help you get more of the move work done faster. Be sure to squeeze in a treat or provide extra allowance as appreciation for their hard work. A thank you and a hug also go a long way.
6. Take Time Off
With more people running their own businesses or working remotely, a move doesn’t necessarily involve switching jobs. Many people try to get their move done in a weekend so they don’t lose income or make their clients unhappy. However, this can up the stress factor, especially if the Internet service provider can’t make it to your new home for several days.
Plan to take at least a week off to unpack, settle in, and get some much-needed rest before heading back to work. During the planning process, you may need to set money aside for this vacation time and prepare your clients for the break. They will understand you are a human being — in fact, you might even get a sweet housewarming gift!
7. Find Ways to Settle In to Your New Community
Finally, use the time you have scheduled to take off to get to know your new community. Meet the neighbors and cruise around to see what’s nearby. Show the kids things they might like, including nearby parks and playgrounds, and acquaint them with their new school. Check out the grocery stores and shops.
And because social media is so ingrained in our lives, be sure to join local groups like Nextdoor, which provides a way to connect with your neighbors and be alerted to local news, garage sales, and other events. Sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Meetup also have local community groups you can join that are great for gathering intelligence about what to enjoy or avoid in the area. You can find others who share your interests to start getting to know people and making friends. Don’t forget to use Yelp, too, so you can locate the best doctors, gyms, restaurants, and more. Before you know it, you’ll be part of the fabric of your new community.
When all else fails, remember that moving is probably not something you will be doing again for a while. Even the most trying incidents will be over before you know it. The furniture will arrive. The boxes will be unpacked. And you’ll be well on your way to making that new house a home.