Moving house can be one of the most stressful times in your life. So is losing your job, divorce, end of a relationship or the death of a family member or close friend. So we have 2 of those happening right now. AND a number of those have happened with in the last 6 months. I am so thankful that I can put my hope and trust in the Lord. Moving can be stressful but I really feel that God is carrying me atm. Psalms 130:5 says: “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope”. AND Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” These scriptures give me comfort and strength as we wait on God and trust him for the next season in our lives. “Praise God” that he gave us his God breathed bible for instruction and comfort.
We have moved before. In 2006 my husband and I sold our house along with most of our belongings and moved from New Zealand to Cincinnati, Ohio US of A with our kids. Then we moved again to another country from the USA to Australia. Where we had to co-ordinate things that were stored in New Zealand and also boxes of books etc from the USA. And now we have another pending move. Each change was ordered by God we had no doubt at all. And he blessed us abundantly we would never have known his complete unfailing love for us if we had not stepped out in faith not knowing what the future held for us.
Moving house was easier in the USA, because by then we had some of our things stored in New Zealand and only arrived in the USA with a few suitcases for our possessions. When we arrived in the USA a lovely church organised a home for us including some food in the cupboards. Talk about Godly people being Jesus to us in a tangible way. By the time we got to the States we got good at giving things away, selling them or just chucking out all that rubbish that collects and clutters up our lives. The biggest change was to entirely give up our own personal wills and have them align with God’s will for us. When leaving the USA we were able to give our belongings to some overseas students who had next to nothing. What a blessing and a joy to give.
Moving out of our home in New Zealand was huge for me. We left a home with an ocean view (we even had a view from our bedroom) to live in the mid-west with no ocean in sight. Not even the smell of salt in the air. In the end moving house and countries was one way to declutter our lives. Albeit a drastic way to declutter!
Tips for a less stressful move:
1. Get organised in advance. If you leave everything until the last-minute it will be stressful. In New Zealand we sold our house and then rented it back from the new owner. This gave us time to sort and organise the house and all our stuff before moving day.
2. Start selling or giving away non-essential items as soon as you can. Don’t wait! Leaving things to the last-minute will add stress to an already potentially stressful time.
3. Organise your important papers and personal information. Get a folder for essential documents like passports, medical information, birth certificates. Make sure you photo copy passports (if moving overseas) of all the members of the family. Give the children copies of your passport as well. Sort out your personal photos. We scanned all our photo’s so we could take them overseas with us on a hard drive and know they wouldn’t get damaged in storage. We gave small album of photo’s to each of the kids special friends. I also made up a tiny album for each of the kids to take with them of important friends and family to pop into their bags and to show new friends.
4. Make up a new family saying. Don’t forget to encourage the kids. Ours was/is “every last step on a journey is a new step in an adventure.” They loved this and while traveling we would often say this family quote.
5. Take this opportunity to simplify. There’s no point in keeping stuff you haven’t used or probably will never use. Storing, moving or sending it to another state or overseas may cost more than replacing it. If you haven’t used it in 6 months then it is time to let it go. Don’t get rid of anything you feel is personal or sentimental and that you may regret not having in the future. In saying that you can’t keep every tiny little scrap of paper your child ever drew on either. We took photo’s of some items the kids had made or pictures and kept those on a hard drive. Easy to store a hard drive than a million bits of papers and sock dolls etc.
6. Have a garage sale or eBay your stuff.
7. Packing. Start packing up things early. Especially books you are not reading and any non-essentials. Buy a huge roll of bubble wrap, tape, cardboard corners for pictures, marker pens, mattress covers. Try local shops and ask if they want to get rid of their boxes. They often are happy to reduce their rubbish pile.
If you can afford it, seriously consider having the professional packers do your packing for you. Then you won’t need to bother with packing apart from personal items and you will save your back. Most times we pack ourselves BUT the times we have had the professionals in it was much less stressful and our backs were thankful too.
Give the kids a limit to how many boxes they can fill with toys. Let them pack some of their boxes themselves. Get rid of worn clothing or things that they will grow out of. If you don’t limit the boxes you will have everything from a scrap of paper to soft toy’s coming out your ears.
My best advice I can give you while packing is to listen to happy music. I listen to Christian and or jazz music on the stereo or computer while I pack. And if you are packing on your own why not listen on your iPod. You can’t be stressed and grumpy if you a listening to Godly or perky music. You know what they say in Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” You need all your strength while in the process of moving.
8. Friends and Family. Don’t forget to put aside time to visit and say goodbye to friends and family. Go out for dinner or have coffee and enjoy spending time with your friends. Some friends or family may not be able to understand your leap of faith and may get upset. Listen and encourage them. Often they are more upset because they themselves can’t do what you are doing and feel uncomfortable. Sometimes it is because they feel you are leaving them behind. Reassure them that we all have seasons in our lives where change occurs. Make sure you have Skype and/or e-mail to keep up the contact. Now is the time to let unhealthy relationships go.
Let the kids have their friends stay over and let them stay up as long as they can. You could have a movie marathon and let them sleep in the lounge or put the TV in their room and watch movies all night. You will find that those kids who can’t stay awake will happily sleep while the others chat all night long. Especially teenage girls!!!
9. Moving day. Don’t pack up your kettle or coffee machine up until the last-minute. OR if you do be sure to make time to run to the cafe’ for takeaway coffee. I guarantee you will be needing a tea or coffee on your moving day. Finally have a good clean up or hire a cleaner. At the end of a stressful day you will be thankful to see the cleaners come and magically clean your house up.
10. Enjoy your new adventure and new home.