Moving home is one of the most stressful life events we can experience. One reason is that it requires us to make so many decisions in a relatively short space of time. This topic has cropped up quite a bit recently in discussions I have had with clients and friends who are frazzled by the moving process. One friend is struggling to mentally ‘switch off’ in the evenings after the intense mental activity of deciding on ‘homes’ for her belongings during the unpacking process. Another is finding it hard to decide what to keep, sell or donate, so is just postponing these decisions to another day. Having to make multiple decisions can be exhausting, especially if we are down-sizing and having to let go many of our treasured possessions, rather than just packing all that we have into boxes and unpacking them the other side. Trying to imagine whether you will need something or how it will fit into your new home can require some mental gymnastics.
Here are some tips to help reduce the stress of decision-making during your next move:
1. Plan ahead – Try to plan your move as far in advance as possible. Although it is sometimes hard to face the inevitable, it is better to be prepared than to be in a panic a few weeks before moving day. Use my moving checklist as a guideline to help you.
2. Write lists – I am a firm believer in the value of a simple list. Put down on paper all the actions you need to remember and then decide when they must be done. Checking them off gives you a great sense of accomplishment and makes you feel in control.
3. Don’t postpone your decision-making for too long – If you are struggling to make decisions about a particular space or items, move on to something easier for a while to break the cycle of indecision. Return to the space within the next 24 hours when you are refreshed and will find it easier to be decisive.
4. Label your boxes – Label each box according to room, storage space and contents, e.g. Study/bookcase/photo albums. This will help you to put the boxes in the right rooms and to prioritise what to unpack first.
5. Be realistic – Packing up house is time consuming, especially if you are sorting as you go, so be realistic about what you can achieve in any one day. Rash decisions are made when we are tired and overwhelmed and may be regretted later.
6. Recharge – Make sure to give yourself enough rest so that you have the mental and physical energy to continue with the process. Don’t push yourself to the point that you are overtired and cannot sleep as this will be counter-productive.