So I was helping Mum shift house recently. It was a daunting project but luckily the whole family was on board.
The process had, if I’m being entirely honest, taken months rather than days. Because she was downsizing there were tearful send-offs of books, paintings and furniture with their associated memories.
There were ridiculous worries about how her dogs would adapt? Could her clients accept the new location? As it turns out to those questions yes to both and very easily. Still though, there was an underlying sense of unease that she kept mentioning.
And I thought to myself several times “Why is this so hard?” If we ignored the things she got rid of, things she hadn’t used in the last two years anyway, what was it that was so hard?
I’ve touched on this subject before, but, given the state of housing in New Zealand I thought I’d talk about it again.
According to a study by researchers DeGrauw & Norcross in 1989, one of the most stressful things we can do is relocate or move. It was rated by participants in the study as even more stressful than the death of a friend or family/personal illness.
Does that really matter? Yes, moving is stressful but we only do it every now and then right? The truth is that kiwis move a lot! According to Statistics NZ even back in 2007 more than a quarter of New Zealanders had moved within the last two years.
So it does matter, it’s one of the most stressful experiences we can face, subjectively up there with getting married, and yet many of us seem to be moving on a regular basis.
Are we masochists?
Do we like inflicting stress and distress on ourselves? Obviously not for most people. So obviously we aren’t moving by choice for the most part.
We are driven by the economic realities of house flippers, or rising rents or having to move for work. For some happy few they are moving into a home they have bought with the joy and trepidation that a mortgage brings.
These are things that are largely outside our control, brought about by necessity rather than choice.
These are things that we cannot do a thing to change, just a part of life’s rich tapestry that we seem to face more than most other nations.
So what can we change? Here are my 7 tips on making a move a successful and, more importantly, less stressful move.