How to deal with the stress of moving to a new house
Moving to a new house is stressful enough when children aren’t a factor, but when they are, it becomes an entirely different ball game. An online study conducted by Online Mortgage Advisor found that parents are twice as likely to find moving home extremely stressful, with just under half stating that finding and securing the property was the most stressful part of moving home.
The moving process is no longer solely about whether you and your partner like the house and the area, it’s about the impact this move could have on your children and growing family. You must consider school moves, friends, and how adaptable your child is to these changes. That’s not all though, if you’re planning on growing your family further in the future then you need to take this into consideration too. Below are some things to think about when you’re moving to a new house with your family.
Moving with a child
If you already have children, then it’s important for them to feel involved in the whole moving process, so they felt comfortable with the change. Understandably it’s not always going to be possible for them to attend house viewings with you, so if they can’t be there, take pictures or make a short video and tell them all about it as soon as you see them. Show them a map to help them understand where their new house is in relation to your current one and the route you would take. It’s also a good idea to make it a positive process, by informing them of changes like what the new address would be, and what will seem like a huge advantage for them.
“It will only take 10 minutes to get to grandma’s house instead of 20!”.
Finally, when you have confirmed everything and you have a set date, have them help you with the packing. Give them the boxes they need to pack up their room and teach them how to do it in an orderly fashion. Leave them to it and check on them every few minutes. By doing this, you’re giving them the responsibility, which they’ll appreciate and associate with the move, positively reinforcing the process. Then, involve them in moving their boxes to storage, so they can see where they store their belongings until you move to the new house. This makes the change real for them, so they understand and can deal with the feelings of moving their treasured possessions to their new house. Shurgard is a great place to store your moving boxes because you can visit your storage area whenever you want. If there is a transition period between property A and property B, it may be worth taking a few trips with your child to your storage place, to show them that their belongings are still there and safe.
Moving with a growing family
To avoid the same situation of moving house again in two years, sit down with your partner and talk through your plans. Discuss whether you’re planning more children, and whether you will want a family pet. You should consider all these things before committing to buying a house because if you think more children are on the cards, then a two-up-two-down won’t cut it when they come along. Equally a flat with no outside space probably isn’t the best choice for children and a dog either. By discussing your true intentions with your partner you’ll avoid having to go through the house moving stress again until you reach a point where you don’t necessarily need to move out, but you want to move.
Create a To-Do list that includes the start and finish of your move
A master to-do list you can work from will help keep your mind at ease, and it also ensures you are not missing out on any of the important components of moving house. Divide the to-do list into main sections like decluttering, packing, hiring real estate agents/conveyancing solicitors/removal vans, and where everything will go in the new house, as well as plans for home security and interior design. Then check them off each step at a time. Sub-headings can include a longer description to remind you of some lesser important jobs you need do to, to complete the main job. It keeps your family in line with your plans too, so everyone is working from the same song sheet. Google is your friend in this instance, as you can find some great template to-do lists on the internet.
Get the whole family involved
Armed with your master to-do list, become the project manager for the move and start creating jobs for members of the family and any other friends/family members who are kind enough to help. Doing everything alone will increase your stress levels and trigger anxiety. But, if everyone is tasked with a small job then, bit by bit, you’ll see progress and stress levels will decrease immensely. Plus, you’ll save time with a well-oiled plan in place and you’ll leave with a clean house ready for the next family to enjoy.
Start decluttering unwanted items in the house
In the weeks (or months) leading up to the big move, go through each room one by one and bag/box up items you don’t really need. Be brutal, the less you bring with you on the move, the cheaper your moving costs will be. Plus, you stand to earn an extra bit of money if you pop your unwanted stuff on eBay/Gumtree/Amazon, which you can then offset against your moving costs. Or, you can be super generous and drop them off at your local charity shop, so others can enjoy them instead.
“One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”
Hire reputable estate agents and conveyancing solicitors
If you’re buying/selling a property, you will need to appoint either a solicitor or a conveyancer from the offset, to deal with the legal matters of moving. Moving house starts with conveyancing, which is the legal process you go through to buy or sell your house, and this is usually carried out by a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer. It is important to note at this stage that solicitors are qualified lawyers and have received extensive training in all aspects of the law. They can also offer full legal services, including taking someone to court. A licensed conveyancer is specialised in property matters but has received less training. Not that they are less qualified, they are just as capable of handling your property matters, and they also may be cheaper to use. Your conveyancer/solicitor will then carry out the relevant checks on the property you’re buying and provide essential information to the buyer of your home. When everyone is happy and have agreed to all terms, all parties will sign and exchange contracts via the conveyancer/solicitor to make the moving process legally binding. Once all the money has changed hands, you hand over your keys to the estate agent and pick up your new ones from the seller’s estate agent. You want this process to run as smoothly as possible so you can concentrate on the actual logistics of moving to a new house. And, to do this, you need to find someone reputable enough to handle the mammoth task. Important points to note are that solicitors must be members of the Law Society, and Conveyancers must be members of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. You can find a licensed conveyancer by using their name, practice/organisation or your postcode here. If you know someone that has recently moved to a new house, ask them which conveyancer/solicitor they used. Were they competent enough to handle the exchange properly and quickly? Did they run into any problems with the conveyancer/solicitor? Would they use them again? Not everyone will have the same experience, but sometimes recommendations and testimonials can be worth so much more than the sales blurb on the website. The same goes for estate agents. Ask around and don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions about their expertise and knowledge.
Hire a removal company to pack your stuff up for you and move them to the new house
If you can afford it, I would absolutely recommend hiring professionals to pack up your belongings into their moving truck and move them to the new house. They are so experienced in what they do, the moving company can have pretty much everything boxed and moved within hours. Don’t forget to negotiate on the price, though. Perhaps, see if the movers would spread the move over a few days for a cheaper quote. If you need a place to store your boxes, Shurgard offers competitive rates to hold your items in storage, while you’re sorting out the move to property B.
Take care of your emotional self and encourage your children to do the same.
You will experience a whole heap of emotions during this move, I know I did. I had my two boys almost back-to-back (they’re 15 months apart) and the postnatal healing took place on moving day to our first ever home as a family. I had to leave behind so many memories and, without realising it, I became depressed.
Even if the reasons for your move are positive, you will still experience feelings of anxiety, sadness and stress. Don’t brush these feelings away, but instead realise that you are feeling them and address them one-by-one with someone close who can help. Mourn the move and grieve its loss before you can then finally accept that you’re moving on to bigger and better things. If you’re moving because you’ve had to make some difficult decisions, then stay focused on the task ahead and why you are moving in the first place. Say goodbye to people and places before you leave and settle any unfinished business. If you’re leaving good friends behind, then get in touch with them, say goodbye and promise to keep in touch. Saying goodbye to my boys’ local playgroup was one of the hardest things I had to do, although I never expected that it would be. I went back and said goodbye to all the staff members and other mums whom I had met and became good friends with, in those last five years–and I still keep in touch with most of them now (thanks to Facebook!).
Your children will also experience feelings they may not understand. Encourage them to talk to you about how they’re feeling and allow them to express themselves in a way they feel comfortable. They need to know that what they are feeling is normal. My boys may have only been three and four years old at the time of the move, but they still harboured feelings of anger and sadness because it was the only home that they had ever known. I assured them I was also sad to leave, but I was looking forward to moving to a big new house and making new memories with them, and if they ever needed to share how they felt about the move they could at any time they wanted.
So, there you have it. Motherhood Diaries’ top tips on how to deal with the stress of moving to a new house. As long as you give yourself enough time to plan and operate the move, and being organised with your belongings right from the beginning, you should be able to make moving to a new house a breeze. Good luck!