Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful things you can go through in life; there is so much to organise and so much to think about, not to mention the upheaval of moving to a new area.
Along with the lengthy list of things to do, you may also be worrying about the effect the move is having on children and pets and their emotional well being.
To cope with the stress of moving house, it is essential to take control of your situation and organise every aspect of the move as much as you can. Anxiety is often caused by the uncertainty of what is going to happen, or the worry that things have not been done.
Buying and selling
The stress can often begin long before you actually move house; buying and selling come with their own pitfalls, and just securing a property in the first place can cause many frustrations.
Most properties on the market are part of a chain, and a potential sale can easily break down due to circumstances beyond your control.
Buying a new house can be less stressful as it cuts out this chain, and also reduces the worry of finding problems or disrepair after you have moved in.
If you are selling house you could try moving into a rented property after yours has sold so that you are not part of a chain when you look to buy a new house. This would break the chain and ease the worry of a move falling through, but could be a risky proposition financially and should be given careful consideration.
Spend as much time as you can looking for property online before you go and view houses. Rather than spending endless hours wandering around properties that do not suit you, round down your choices online first, and view only the houses that meet all your requirements.
If you are concerned about having people round to view your house, reduce your anxiety by making sure the house is clean and tidy and there is no washing or dirty dishes on show.
A nervous home owner can put off potential buyers, so if you really can’t cope with other people looking around your house ask your estate agent to conduct viewings for you.
Get organised for the move
Once the move is confirmed and going ahead, make sure you prepare thoroughly; the more you have done in advance of the moving day, the less stressed you will be when it comes to the actual move.
Write out a checklist of things to do before the move, and tick them off as you go. This helps you to feel in control of the move, and also helps to prepare you emotionally for the change.
There are plenty of things you can do in the months and weeks leading up to the big day; a checklist might include:
- Notify council regarding council tax
- De-clutter house and get rid of un-wanted items
- Book removals company/van
- Get boxes and packing material
- Switch gas and electricity suppliers
- Switch Internet/phone/TV suppliers
- Inform all banks/building societies/credit card companies
- Inform Inland Revenue/DVLA
- Change Doctors/Dentists
- TV License
- Take gas and electricity meter readings for old and new properties
Moving with children
Moving with children can add another aspect to the stresses associated with moving house. You may find that worrying about the impact it will have on your children is one of the most draining feelings during the process; and taking the time to help them cope can actually reduce your own anxiety.
Children can often feel powerless and disorientated when they move house.
Adults take the decision, and children may be taken away from their school, their friends, and their surroundings. This can understandably cause a great deal of distress.
Talk to your children about the move as early as possible and as often as you can to help prepare them for it.
Tell them as much as you can about their new home, and give them facts about the new area and their new life that are relevant to their age group.
Young children have a short attention span and are unlikely to discuss the move at length, but be patient and be prepared to answer the same questions several times as your child digests the information.
Some children will not be at all bothered by a move and might be excited about it, while others will be affected much more by the upheaval. Look out for changes in behaviour if you think your child isn’t coping, such as wetting the bed, clinging to you constantly, refusing to eat, having difficulty sleeping, and becoming introverted.
Moving with pets
If you are taking pets with you on the move, it is important to make sure they are taken care of and the minimum fuss is caused for them; it will be a stressful time for your pet too.
If you are packing the house up yourself and you start a few weeks in advance, try to keep as many of the pet’s toys, bedding, and belongings out in the house until the big day so they feel comfortable.
If you need to have a pet taken care of while you move, arrange this well in advance with a family member or a kennel or cattery if necessary. When you bring your pet into the new home, make sure all of their things are within easy reach so they can begin to feel at home straight away.
Prepare for the change
A big part of the stress caused by moving is the emotional upheaval. It is often overlooked because you are too busy taking care of all the practicalities, but allow yourself the time to take in the changes and adjust to them.
Say a final goodbye to your old house, remember all the good times and the memories it held for you, and take them with you as you move on to a new chapter in your life.
Be prepared to live in chaos for a short while as you unpack and settle in. Don’t worry that everything has to be done immediately; take the time to enjoy the feeling of settling into your new house.