Average Americans move every 5 years according to the General Population census of 2000. I have moved 17 times in 32 years. If you average that out it seems I have moved every 1.8 years of my life. Tonight I am not going to focus on why I can’t stay still, but instead share some of my views on making a move easier by Researching, Organizing, Preparing, and Adjusting.
First the Research! One of my favorite things to do when a new adventure presents itself is the research! This is especially helpful for moves that are months away. Research helps you feel in control of your move. It takes the mystery out of your new location and thus the fear that comes from the unknown. I always start with a Google search for people who are writing blogs in the new area. For instance when I was moving to Luxembourg I found that there was an American Association of Women that had a website and club in Luxembourg-ville. As part of their club they had a guide to living in Luxembourg as an expatriate. (An Expatriate or “Expat” is someone who chooses to live outside their mother country)This book became a treasure all the 5 years I lived there. The next research tool is to view real estate websites. Here you can get an idea of the cost of living, what the standard of living is and where you would like to live. With all of this background information you are ready to make a contact! By researching different clubs, churches, and sports activities you should be able to find an email address under the websites contact info. Before you know it you already have a friend in your new location! By researching those who already live there, the real estate market, and by making contact you already should start to feel in control of your own destiny!
The second step in making a move is to get organized! My husband and I have found a wonderful way to see the whole picture when planning a move. We call it the Master Plan. We take a dry erase marker and find a large window in a common area of the house, like the kitchen or living room. We start making lists of all the things we have to do to make the move happen. At first it may seem overwhelming to have all of those tasks before you, but then best part is crossing them off one by one. Being able to see those tasks checked off will assure you you are doing a good job and are actually getting things done. It’s like that old adage- how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Make sure you include a calendar within your master plan so your family can easily see deadlines for different tasks; make sure individual responsibility is assigned so it can be a team effort. Once you have your Master Plan in place start eating that Elephant!
Now you have researched and have become organized, it is time to prepare. Preparing your home for a move means making sure you are not moving junk from one house to the next. Get rid of all the trash, shred all the old documents. Give away all the non-fitting clothes. Make a pile for a yard sale. A move is a fresh slate! Plus by slimming down on what you have you will save money on your move. The less boxes you have the less the moving company charges. Next, prepare your new house. Call ahead and schedule utilities service for your new address. You will be happy you have cable and internet when you arrive! Now you are ready to prepare your household for living out of boxes for the first few weeks. Make sure all your important documents and move related information is accessible. I put mine into a binder that I keep with me. Prepare your family by having DVDs and toys in a suitcase that does not go on the truck. I also suggest having sleeping bags for everyone. It is so much easier than going through boxes in search of sheets that first night. Also of these things will make the transition so much nicer for your family.
Now you have arrived it is time to get adjusted to your new life. You already have an idea of what to expect because you have done your research, your move went smoothly because you were organized and prepared. Its time to start living your new life! It can be stressful to start all over and we all feel it in different ways. The trick is if you want to make new friends you have to be a friend. You can find opportunities to make friends by participating in clubs, church groups, volunteer organizations and by just opening your mouth to say hello. I have made friends in the grocery store! Don’t worry about finding your new best friend right away. I have found the in the beginning you make acquaintances that help fill that part of you that really misses your old friends, eventually you will click with someone. I have found that it is nearly impossible to have a new best friend in less than 6 months. Plan on it taking a good year to feel completely adjusted. But in the mean time embrace your new situation. Say yes, even to things you don’t normally do, stay in touch with your old friends but don’t hold on so tight you don’t have room for your new ones. Take this time to grow closer as a family, you can be eachothers friends. Explore your new town. When I moved to Lakeway we would unpack boxes in the morning and then just go an adventure in the afternoon. We found the playgrounds, the pools, the capitol building, the bats under the bridge, and the Chick Fil A.
Your life may have taken a new turn and it can be surprising, but you can minimalize your stress and awkwardness by Researching, Organizing, Preparing, and Adjusting. Take it from me, someone who has is continuously eating that Elephant called moving.