Are you thinking about moving? You’re not alone! Did you know that the average American moves 11.7 times in their lifetime?
That’s an awful lot of moving! Odds are you are going to have to move at some point in your life. Trying to decide whether you should move or not, much less where or when, is complicated. Moving can be life-changing! And you want that change to be for the better. Not to mention that change, even if it’s good positive growth change, is always uncomfortable and often downright painful. Luckily, there’s plenty that you can do to help smooth out the process.
Deciding if you should move away should be a process. It’s not the kind of thing you want to go through with on a whim. You should probably take some time and think through the potential pros and cons of making a move. And man is there A LOT to think about! So let’s dive into some of the things you may want to consider and ask yourself along the way.
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Signs It’s Time to Relocate
This is a complicated one. It would be nice if there was a little multiple-choice quiz you could take that would tell you if you should move or not. Yes or no, clear-cut.
Unfortunately, there is no such quiz. At least, not one that you should take seriously. There are so many different factors that go into making complex decisions and every individual situation is going to be unique.
If you’re curious, these are the top five reasons why Americans move, according to the U.S. Census Bureau:
- Wanted new or better home/apartment — 17.4%
- To establish own household — 12.2%
- New job or transfer — 10.8%
- Other family reason — 10.5%
- Wanted cheaper housing — 8.2%
Of course, you don’t need to have a “top reason” to move. Nor do you need to approve your decision with anyone else (unless of course, you are moving WITH someone else). The only person who knows if you should relocate or not is you.
Is Your Heart in It?
The first question you should ask yourself – “Do I want to move?” If the answer is anything but a resounding yes, then you should think long and hard before committing to anything drastic. Maybe scrounge around for a different solution to whatever problem is driving you away. Because if your heart’s not in it, you’re in for a rough time. Moving is hard enough even when you feel enthusiastic about it.
Moving for Growth
My friend said something to me and my husband one day while we were discussing moving and it really resonated and stuck with me.
She said we are all like potted plants. We are the plants and the pot is our circumstances in life: our jobs, friends, home, lifestyle, routines, etc. Now a plant can only grow so much in any one particular pot. It needs to be moved to a different pot if it’s going to keep growing.
People are the same. We can only grow so much in any defined set of circumstances. If we want to keep growing, we need to change things up. If we feel like we’ve stagnated, maybe it’s time to move to a different pot.
Other Reasons to Move
Even if you are just itching for something new, there are probably some other reasons for moving that you can add to your list if you think about it. Here are some ideas:
- You can’t afford your current area any more
- The culture of your city is no longer a good fit for you
- The job market is not in line with your goals
- You want to relocate for a specific job
- You need more space
- You want to downsize
- To be closer to friends and/or family
- You want more space from friends and/or family
- To experience a different climate
- A change of scenery
- For your education
Things to Consider When Moving
Moving is complicated and there is so much that you will need to keep in mind. Lists are your friends! There are some general larger considerations that you absolutely should not skip or forget about when you are thinking about where you want to move.
What You’ll Miss
Make a list of the things that you are going to miss most about your current home. Some will be unique, like a particular person, but there will also be amenities or characteristics that are more general. Add those to your list of things that you are looking for in a new home. There’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. That is, try to keep what you like and only leave behind what isn’t working for you anymore.
Where’s Your Dream Home
Is there somewhere you’ve always wanted to live? Why not live there now? Take the time and seriously consider whether you could make your dream home into your actual home.
What kind of culture are you looking for? Outdoorsy? Driven and focused? Artsy? Relaxed and laid back?
The general culture of an area could make or break your move, depending on if it is a good fit for you or not.
Cost of Moving
Moving costs can add up very quickly, even if you are just moving a town or two over. Start working on that moving budget early and get estimates from different moving companies so that you aren’t caught unawares by the total cost.
Cost of Living in a New Area
You are probably familiar with the cost of living in your current home, but what about the new one? What does the housing market look like? Are there different taxes than the ones you are used to? What’s the price of gas like? Car insurance?
The cost of living is going to depend on your personal lifestyle to some extent, but it’s good to do some research and get an idea about what your lifestyle is going to cost you in your prospective new home.
What does the job market look like? Are there a lot of opportunities in your field? Can you transfer your current job? Don’t forget to research general salary ranges in your chosen field because they can vary drastically in different areas.
What does public transportation look like? The cost of gas? What about traffic patterns? Are there a lot of toll roads?
Moving with Pets
Have you ever traveled with your pet before? If not, you might consider a trial trip. Better to know ahead of time if they get carsick.
Are they up to date on their vaccinations? Are they chipped? Make sure they have identification on them.
Talk to your vet about methods for managing their stress and helping them adjust to a new environment.
Have a room set aside to keep them out of the way and safe on moving day. The last thing you want is for a beloved pet to slip out of the front door in all of the confusion.
Moving with Kids
Planning a big move with kids adds a whole nother layer of complication to everything.
- If the kids are school-aged you need to research schools in your perspective area. It’s really hard to get a feel for schools online! Try joining local mom groups for inside perspectives and to ask any questions you have.
- You also will need to consider how your move will fit around their schedules. Summer is going to be the most convenient, but it’s also the most popular (and most expensive) time to move. Is it worth moving them in the middle of the school year?
- The kids will need help to transition. Give them space to feel all of their feelings about the move, positive and negative. Keep them involved in the conversation
- Have a plan for moving day. Can the kids help? Will they be in the house or with a friend or family member during the move?
What Should You Know Before You Move
You are going to be busy busy busy getting ready for a move, but try to take some time to sit down and do a few things to help prepare you mentally for the transition.
It’s going to be stressful. Moving is stressful. There’s no way around that! And the bigger the move, the more stressful the preparation can be. You are getting ready to up-end your home and your routines and everything that is familiar to you. That’s an awful lot to deal with at one time. It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed!
Even if you aren’t normally an anxious person, you will probably have anxiety about moving.
Maybe you’ll second guess yourself and your decision. And that’s ok. But it’s important to know why you are doing what you are doing and to give yourself space to adjust to all of the changes.
Know Why You are Moving
Remind yourself why you are moving. Write it down so you can refer back to it. Talk it out with someone you trust. Get down to the nitty-gritty details. Include big reasons and small reasons. Include the practical reasons and the ones you feel silly saying out loud. There are probably more than you think.
Get Excited About Your New Home
Familiarize yourself with your new home area. Get online and poke around. Remind yourself why you picked your new place of residence. What excites you about it? What cool stuff will you be able to do that you can’t do in your current home? Research tourist attractions around your new home. Maybe there is an incredible food scene or amazing hiking trails or tons of quirky bookstores! Make a list of everything you are excited about.
What If You Move and You Hate It
It takes time to settle into a new place -a long time. There will be ups and there will be downs. You can plan and research as much as you want, but there will always be uncertainty. It’s impossible to know for sure how things are going to turn out. And that might make you nervous. What if you get to your new home and decide that you hate it?
First and foremost, be patient and compassionate with yourself. People need time to mentally adjust. Change is hard. A big change is really hard.
There are going to be days before and after your move when you wish you never even considered it. That’s normal. The routine that you are used to is getting thrown out the window. You will build new routines, but that takes time. In the meanwhile, be patient and be kind to yourself.
What About the Worst Case Scenario
Think through your worst-case scenario, especially if you are starting to feel panicky about what could go wrong. What if the move doesn’t work out the way you envision it?
Write down the ways that you think your move could not be successful. Think about what you are afraid of happening, and then decide what you would do in all of those scenarios. Having a plan in case shit hits the fan can go a long way towards calming your inner fire alarm.
Plan for the Aftermath
Have a plan for what to do when things get tough after the move. Because it will get tough.
Putting in a little time to make a plan now can save you when you are in the throes of moving chaos.
So when you move, and you are exhausted and hating everything, what are you going to do? Who are you going to call? (Ghostbusters!!! Ahem…) Where are you going to go?
Do your research ahead of time and know what things you want to do in your new place. Save your list in a safe spot. When you get lonely and don’t know what to do with yourself, pull out that list, take a deep breath, pick something and go do it.
Join the Conversation
Are you thinking about making a big move? Have you already done it? How did you make your decision? What didn’t turn out the way you expected it too? Tell me in the comments!