Research has shown that the anxiety of moving house is one of the most stressful events that can occur throughout your life on a par with divorce and bereavement. Not only is there the initial stress of viewing houses and having to show strangers around your own house but there is the inevitable tension and anxiety of the build-up to the actual day of the move itself. However, there are many ways in which you can reduce the stress of moving house for all the family.
In order to reduce the stress of a move, it may be worth considering buying a newly built house. The primary reason for this is that it cuts out the inevitable stress and unreliability of a chain. Buying an older house can entail a long chain which can fall apart at any time. New houses cut out this chain and so prove more reliable. There are few things more stressful in the moving process than falling in love with a house and thinking you are going to make the move, only to find out that the transaction is no longer possible due to a problem somewhere along the chain, seemingly unconnected to you and your wishes. It is also unlikely that there will be any nasty maintenance surprises waiting for you when you do move in. New homes also speed up the process of making the house your very own: you do not have to deal with stripping away five layers of old householder's wallpaper before making your mark and you can often have a big say in choosing the kitchen and bathroom units.
Regardless of whether you do decide to buy a newly built house, the viewing process can be very stressful and takes up a lot of time. To reduce this stress, use the internet to do some virtual viewing before deciding which properties you wish to look at in person. There are several internet sites, mostly owned by estate agents, which allow you to view properties online instead of wasting your time looking around numerous properties which may not appeal to you in the slightest. On some of these sites, sellers can post details of their own properties along with a picture. Following such virtual viewing, it is worth making a short list of properties which interest you and go and view them in person. You can also get an initial idea of any potential concerns or questions you may have about various aspects of these houses.
Buying a newly built house is not the only way to reduce the stress of a chain. It is always worth considering selling your house first and then renting a property until you find somewhere to buy. Admittedly this can be a risky activity but it does give you the advantage of completely cutting out the property chain, thus reducing the unreliable nature of selling. Obviously if house prices are rising sharply this would not make financial sense.
Many people find having to invite strangers into their homes for viewings very stressful. This can give potential buyers a negative impression though and prove counter-productive to the selling process. Some simple tips to reduce the stress of viewing include: make sure you have done the laundry in good time so that the buyer is not confronted with underwear hanging up on the clothes line, enlist all members of the family to do their bit at keeping the house tidy and presentable and appear warm and confident to your potential buyers. If you really can't cope with conducting viewings ask the estate agent to do it for you while you are out.
The actual move: the build-up
Once you know you are going to be moving house, have an initial clear out of possessions. This has a dual purpose: firstly, it makes the idea of actually moving out of your house a reality and secondly, it will make packing up your remaining possessions much easier. It can also be helpful in drawing a clear distinction between the old house and the new. Moving house is a chance for a fresh start in a new environment and so getting rid of the possessions that weren't needed in your old house and which only served to make a mess, reinforces this change. The possessions that you do decide to get rid of could be sold in a garage sale for example. Not only will this provide some much needed cash following the expense of moving house but will provide a great chance to inform neighbours and friends of your departure and of course give them all your new address! Incidentally, informing people of your new address can be an unwanted hassle during the moving process. Deciding which notelets best express your excitement at moving into a new home is an unnecessary stress! It is far easier, quicker and cheaper to just send out a bulk e-mail.
Many people choose to move their belongings to the new house themselves by hiring a van for a number of days. However, this can serve to increase dramatically the stress levels of the move. The hired van can often be too small and thus entail many journeys between the houses or it can be too big and be a nightmare to park (especially if you have no experience at driving a van)! It is a much better option to leave the hassle to a professional company. This will greatly reduce the stress of the move and will probably entail many fewer breakages as well! Make sure you shop around for a company though as the prices charged can vary considerably. Make sure you book the removals company up a few weeks before your move.
In the build-up to the move itself, make sure you get some early nights and start to eat and drink healthily. Having only a few hours of sleep a night, combined with junk food and unhealthy drinks will only lead to increased irritation and unneeded stress for all the family.
To find out how much it would cost you to move, you can use the Moving Cost Calculator
, a free tool designed to help people understand the costs of renting or buying a property.
Make sure you collect boxes of all sizes from friends, local shops and supermarkets in plenty of time for the move. Boxes from supermarkets and off-licenses are often far more sturdy and useful than those which you can buy flat-packed from post offices. Keep newspapers and scrap paper and buy several rolls of bubble wrap too. Do not leave the packing to a few days before the move. Make sure you make a list of your priorities when it comes to packing and follow it. It is also useful to make a plan of the new house and colour code the rooms e.g. red for the kitchen, blue for the living room. Then, you can colour code the boxes in relation to where its contents need to go in the new house. This will make unpacking far less stressful and the fact that you have a system will psychologically reduce anxiety as well.
Do not give in to the temptation to completely fill up large boxes because this will render them too heavy to move. Pack heavy items in smaller boxes rather than large ones as these are easier to lift and move without breaking. One helpful tip for packing is to consider household items which have a useful dual purpose. For example, pillows, blankets, duvet covers etc can all be used to wrap valuable or breakable items in.
The day of the move
Keep valuable documents on your person during the move, as well as jackets, coats and handbags. It may be worth simply placing such items in your car in the morning in order to ensure that the company you have hired to help you move do not pack them into their van. Make sure that the first box to be unpacked in the new house will be one containing a CD player, toys for the children, a kettle, drinks and biscuits. Playing some uplifting music and having a cup of tea whilst unpacking can transform your mood instantly and keeping the children entertained will reduce stress for them and for you. You could alternatively arrange for the children to be looked after by a relative or friend during the day of the move if you think this would help.
Follow the same healthy eating and drinking pattern you adopted during the build-up to the move in order to ensure you feel at your best. It is also good to view the moving experience as one which is in fact beneficial to your health! Instead of focussing upon the mental stress you feel it may be causing you, concentrate on what it is doing to you physically. Moving all those heavy boxes up and down stairs saves you having to go to the gym after all!
Do not try to unpack everything
on the day of your move. It is a good idea to concentrate on getting just one room (perhaps the living room) completely unpacked and looking as you want it to look. Then there will definitely be a comfortable retreat for you and your family when the unpacking gets too stressful. It will also act as a place to eat your dinner in the evening. Think about ordering a takeaway as the prospect of finding pots and pans and then cooking a meal is enough to make anyone feel stressed! Use this meal to reflect positively on the day's events and to unwind. Again, it is important to get an early night so that you feel fully refreshed the next day and ready for the next step towards making your new house feel like home.
Try not to be too idealistic in your initial views of the new house. Of course it will feel and look different to your old house, you would be let down if it didn't! The house is also bound to look different to when you viewed it, as it will have your possessions in rather than those of the previous home-owners. Set yourself small mental goals for changing the house to fit your preferences and put them into practice when you are ready.