Managing Your Move: Expectations vs. Reality--Part 1

managing your moveMoving is the adult equivalent of middle school--everybody is really excited about the prospect, but it's only the ones with realistic expectations who wind up having a good time. Yes, it's a new house, a new start, and the possibility of a fabulous new life--but once that last empty truck pulls away and you're standing there amongst your boxes, you've still got to do the actual work.

Managing your move with realistic expectations is the key to starting that new life on the right foot--and that means not only accepting the fact that a new house won't magically suck up the twenty pounds you keep meaning to lose, but that moving is emotionally difficult even in the best circumstances and you and your family should allow the time and space to accept that.

One of the odd things about a local move--new house, neighborhoods, schools--is that can be harder on the kids than a long-distance relocation. A new house hundreds of miles away takes away the constant requests to go hang with their friends in the old neighborhood, and it is easier to embrace a new life and new friends when your old ones are in a different time zone.

But back to the practicalities. There are three Ps involved with managing your move--Purge, Pack, and Pay. What you don't purge has to be packed, and the more you pack, the more you'll pay. Expectation--I'll get rid of old stuff and only keep what I love. Reality--you love a lot more than you think you do. Whether you do your own packing or hire professionals, you've got to decide what is worth the time and money to take with you.

Purge

Purging is one of those weird words you don't hear very often, at least in a positive way. But really, letting go of the old baggage is one of the smartest ways that you can allow your new home to meet your expectations of wonderful. There are all kinds of rules and tips to help you figure out the best ways to get rid of your old stuff, from practical--"if you haven't used/worn it in a year get rid of it"; to a little wacky--"toss all your negative energy out with the old towels". At its simplest level, purging is simply sorting through all the cabinets, closets, and drawers and making three piles: keep, toss, donate. Or you could have four piles if you've got a lot of nice things that you don't use anymore, and consign those things.

The hardest thing about purging is maintaining the detachment you need to be ruthless about getting rid of things. If you saved all those pre-school art projects, how can you throw them away and be a good parent? Here's how--ask a friend to help you go through things and talk you through why you're keeping things that are really best out of the house. Having someone ask you out loud why you want to save the 1980s jelly shoes does put things in perspective and you'll have an easier time growing the toss pile if you've got someone to reinforce your decisions.

If your spouse is the one with the hoarder tendencies, there are a few strategies for helping a reluctant participant part with their treasures. Think small and start with the kitchen junk drawers, try to limit handling of old matchbooks and broken screwdrivers to one time only and gradually make your way to larger items, like collections (for example, pick out two or three porcelain bunnies and donate or consign the rest).

Join us next time as we discuss managing your move topics: Pack and Pay, in Part 2 of this blog series.