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How to deal with moving-house stress and anxiety

Moving house can be one of the most stressful periods in a person’s life. Packing up, sorting bills and securing a new home is no small task, and it could even have an impact on your mental health.

There are multiple factors that can contribute to the stress of moving house and there is no blanket remedy for all of them. Identifying your pressure points can, however, be the first step in acknowledging what’s causing your stress and how to tackle it.

Stress points when moving

The most common stress points that people can experience when moving house include:

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Routine change
  • Missing family and friends
  • Packing
  • Feeling unprepared
  • Money

You could be concerned about one of the above or all of them; what’s important is acknowledging the stress points when you feel them. By doing so, you can begin to put a plan in place to ease that anxiety.

Tip 1: Pack early

Get yourself organised as early as possible. Starting the packing near the beginning of the moving process can help ease stress by reducing your workload later in the journey, giving you less to think about.

Try and pack in an organised manner; putting things in boxes that don’t belong together could lead to headaches once you are moved into the new house. For example, keep kitchen possessions together, and apply the same logic to the bathroom and living room. Work room by room, storing in the appropriately labelled boxes as you go.

Have a think about important documents and if you will need them later on. Keep these things packed separately:

  • Passports
  • Bills
  • References

Tip 2: Make a plan

Like packing as early as possible, try to plan well in advance of your moving date. Doing so can help avoid stumbling blocks and ease stress by having a structured plan of action:

  • Sort your bills and change addresses
  • Book time off work
  • Deep clean your old house
  • Any admin for kids’ moving schools
  • Schedule switchovers of utilities to your new house e.g., electric, water, internet

Tip 3: Sort the essentials for moving day

It can be easy amidst the flurry to accidentally pack away your everyday essentials. Having these ready for the big day can smooth the moving journey and prepare you for any sudden obstacles:

  • Medication
  • Toiletries, like toothbrush, toothpaste, shower gel etc.
  • Phones and chargers
  • Moving clothes

And above all else, don’t forget to get plenty of rest!

Tip 4: Take time for yourself

Be sure to take the occasional moment for yourself during the moving process. Doing everything at once is an easy way to increase stress levels. When you have completed a big task, don’t dive straight into the next one; step back and relax for a while.

Tip 5: Make checklists

Your checklists will be a lifesaver during the moving process but try categorised lists instead of one giant one.

Think about splitting your checklist based on milestones. For example, make a list of things to complete six weeks before, and another list for two weeks before. This not only segments what would otherwise be a big and potentially overwhelming list of things to do, but also gives you a timeline to stick to.

The six-weeks list could include:

  • Set moving date
  • Notify landlords (if renting)
  • Organise boxes and storage
  • Declutter; throw away or donate things you no longer want
  • Pack items that are less-often used (e.g., books)
  • Book kennels for pets

The two-weeks list could include:

  • Finish packing
  • Let utility firms know you are moving
  • Check freezers and fridges for expiry dates on food and drink
  • Redirect post
  • Liaise with removal company and/or storage firm

Tip 6: Moving day

It’s the big day and time to head off to the new home. To minimise stress as much as possible, do one final check to ensure everything is in place:

  • Important documents and everyday essentials are separated from the rest of your packing
  • Utilities have been switched off. Leave a handover note for new owners, if necessary
  • Do a final sweep of each room, checking for anything left
  • Leave the keys for the new owners

A storage unit can serve as a handy place to keep your possessions safe as you move, particularly if your old tenancy ends before the new one starts. If you have lots of belongings that you want to keep but you don’t want to take them all with you, you can also retain your storage space in the long-term.

If you live within a 5-to-10-mile radius of a Space Station store and rent a unit for two months or more, you could also qualify for free removal.