Taking the Stress Out of a Long-Distance Move

Author: Alecia Pirulis  

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Moving can be a stressful experience, even if you are only moving across town. When you are making a long-distance move, however, that stress is seemingly multiplied by the number of miles you’ll travel. Leaving friends, family, and the familiarity of your neighborhood and daily routine only adds to the stress of packing, possibly selling a home, buying a new home or finding the right apartment to rent, learning your way around a new town, and starting a new job. Here are some ways to lessen the stress of a long-distance move:

* Take extra care with packing, since a long-distance move will involve more days on a truck and more jostling around with road hazards, poor weather conditions, etc. Wrap breakables carefully and pack your boxes tightly – the less things rattle around, the better they will survive the trip.

* Purge — the purge again. You don’t want to move a ton of stuff across the country – or even out of the country. Go through everything once before you pack and get rid of everything that you don’t use, is worn, or is outdated. As you pack, consider everything before putting it in the box. Each item should pass a litmus test, so ask yourself: Is this item special to me? Does it have value? Is it an item I can’t replace? Will I use it in my new space?

* Consider driving. If you have a car and you aren’t moving overseas, it is time for a road trip! It is much easier and more cost-effective to drive to your new home rather than pay to have your car shipped. If you are moving overseas, you’ll want to either sell your car now and perhaps purchase one after the move if necessary, or have your car shipped. Decide which option is more economical and easiest for you.

* Compile personal medical records, vet records, birth certificates, passports, etc. and place them in a waterproof bag or container. Keep these with you — don’t pack them.

* Do some research on your new community. Get the scoop on area banks, utility companies, shopping areas, etc. You may have to close your bank accounts or transfer them if your new area doesn’t have a branch. Find a few attractions that you can visit after your move to give you something to look forward to.

* Plan meals to get rid of perishable foods — they won’t make it through several days of travel, so plan menus two weeks before the move. The day of the move, give the rest to friends and neighbors.

* You can’t move hazardous materials, so items such as paint, antifreeze, oil, gasoline, fertilizers, bleach, etc. will have to be given away or properly disposed of before the move. If you have a tank for a gas grill, the tank will have to be completely empty before moving.

* Research moving companies carefully and read their reviews. Even if you have a great moving company, pack a suitcase with everything you’ll need for at least a week, just in case the moving truck gets lost, breaks down, or is in some other way delayed.

* If you are packing and moving in a rental truck, always load the stuff you won’t need right away in the very back. Keep the items you’ll need immediately closest to the door of the truck so it will be unloaded first.

* Go ahead and feel the emotions. You are moving away from friends, family, your neighborhood — and going to an unfamiliar or even foreign location. It’s a scary and exciting time, and you will miss those you are leaving behind. Learning a new location is never easy — finding new doctors, a new vet, a new favorite corner market — it takes time and a few wrong turns. You’ll have moments of sadness, and maybe even some homesickness. Know that it takes time to adjust and for family members to adjust. Learn your way around your new community as soon as possible, and be sure to get out and meet your neighbors. Settling in, making friends, and learning about your new home will help ease the transition.