Moving: it is something most of us dread, and yet something we all have to go through at least once in our lives. The process usually finds us exhausted, brain-fried, and even near the brink of an emotional breakdown. The physical grunt is inevitable, and deciding where to put hundreds of things can fry even the healthiest of brains. But to understand the larger, emotional taxation that moving causes, we must recognize it for what it truly is – the trading of the known for the unknown.
Moving signifies the closing of a chapter in our lives where everything was defined and boundaries were in place. It also represents the beginning of a new chapter that is riddled with questions. What will my neighbours be like? Where am I going to park my car? How does the plumbing work? What is that creepy sound coming from the basement?
For many, those questions spark fear and anxiety. This list of moving tips, which was spurred by my own move last weekend, will help trade that fear for peace and joy.
Tip #1 – Accept Support.
I have been fiercely independent my entire life. In the past, when someone offered to help me, my response was always, “Thank you so much for the offer, but I’m fine.” And sure, I was fine. I could do it on my own. But by maintaining the belief that I “didn’t need anyone’s help,” I missed out on so many opportunities to bond with the special people in my life.
I recently realized that whenever anyone offers to help you with something, what they are really saying is, “You are important to me, and I want to be closer to you by offering my energy wherever you may need it.”
So, a move that would have taken me more than a day to complete by myself, took less than half a day with the loving help of B, my mom, her partner, and my aunt. Everyone put themselves to work, and I was astounded by how smooth it went.
Tip #2 – Reflect On & Honour The Closing Chapter
Before we left the old space, I held a moving-out gathering with my family. It is so important to reflect on all that has changed, in your life and in the world, from the time you move into a space until the time you leave. Our homes are like living yearbooks, and if we are fortunate enough to have a strong memory, we can recall those pivotal moments.
It was especially important for me to host this farewell gathering because the cabin we lived in will soon be torn down to make way for a new dream to manifest. What started as a fruit-picker’s shack in the 70’s, later became a place of refuge for dozens of couples and individuals, each going through a time of transition. People who had separated from long-term partners and who were essentially starting life over, to others who were dealing with personal traumas, all found healing in that cabin.
Even if you do not have a strong personal connection with the place you are leaving, the importance of honouring the space by reflecting on your time there remains the same.
Tip #3 – Bless & Cleanse The New Space
Equally as important as honouring and giving thanks to an old space, is my next moving tip of blessing and cleansing the new one.
Upon entering our new home, I immediately opened all the windows. Fresh air, like water, has the ability to cleanse and purify a space. We must welcome that sacred gift at every chance we get. Even if you are moving in the middle of winter – turn the furnace down to save energy, bundle up, and open those suckers!! And not just on moving day! Open your windows as often as possible to allow the cleansing flow of air into your home.
#4 – Purge.
The beauty of moving more than ten times in the last decade, is that I know what I really need to survive. The answer? Not much. At 19, I would load up my mom’s SUV with my futon, clothes, toiletries, books, and food. One load. That was it. Anything that didn’t fit, I left in a box on the sidewalk.
When we simplify our lives to include only the necessities, gratitude for those necessities, and for the “excesses” becomes abundant. I encourage you to sort through all of your stuff before you move. Donate anything that has not been used in over a year, or that doesn’t serve a purpose in your life as you live it now. When we carry unused items from house to house, it creates clutter in our minds. We also withhold joy from the people who would make great use of those items. The more you practice detachment from material possessions, the easier you will be able to detach from all situations in life. And what is peace, if not the ability to detach from and accept situations exactly as they are?
#5 – Snack prep!!
Moving requires a ton of mental and physical energy. If you are like me and prefer to skip long breaks in order to keep momentum, then pre-made snacks are a must. This past move, I dished out my Happy Hiker Granola Bars, Coconut Pecan Bliss Bars, apple slices, hummus, veggies, cheez sauce, tortilla chips, and pasta salad to keep our energy and mood boosted throughout the day.
#6 – No Ruuuuush.
There is a tendency when we’re moving to operate at breakneck speed. We either feel like we are holding up those who are helping us, or we have a predetermined place in our minds of “where we should be by now.”
Usually we only have one or two days to complete a move, so we have to find a steady, consistent pace at which to work. But we can’t get ahead of the moment. When we rush, we end up breaking things and hurting ourselves. Treat the task like a marathon as opposed to a sprint, and you will make much better use of your energy.
One way to help you stay centered is to prioritize. When you begin to unload at the new place, set your bed up first so you know you have a cozy place to sleep. Next, locate your toothbrush and toilet paper. If that’s all you get done by the end of the day, so be it! We do not need to have every box unpacked on day one (or even day five!) in order to survive. Go out to eat or grab some take-out the first few nights to make things even easier on yourself.
#7 – Small Boxes.
I got your back with this moving tip – literally. If you fill large boxes with heavy things, you will be more likely to injure your back when you lift them. Smaller means lighter. Lighter means safer. Safer means happier. Yay!
#8 – Drop Negativity At The Door.
Ditch at least one unhealthy habit on the doorstep of your new place, and replace it with at least one new healthy one. This round, I am dropping the habit of making fear-based judgments (a work in progress, as all habit changes are), and swapping it for more nutritious movement (check out Katy Bowman’s website to see what I mean), and more acceptance of situations and people exactly as they are.
# 9 – Revel in the Infinite Possibilities.
My last moving tip, and one of my greatest tips for a happy life in general, is to embrace the unknown. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Know that inside the space that has yet to be defined lies infinite possibilities. Take the time to shape things as you want them to be NOW, not simply as they were before. Forget the rules that say this has to go there and that has to go here. Decide what YOU want – in your home and in your life. Keep it clean, organized, and true to you, and you will cruise.
# 10 – Get Down, Get Dowwwn!
I can’t believe I almost forgot the most important tip of all!! And that is – HAVE A FREAKIN’ PARTY, MAN!!! Life is meant to be a celebration, and once you’ve cleaned and organized and purged and sorted and boxed and taped and lifted and moved and unloaded and organized again… you are about as due for a raging party as anyone I’ve ever met!!
Two Roads Diverged
Whether you are taking on an actual physical move from one house to another, or find yourself standing on the border between something known and comfortable and something new and uncertain, I hope you can use these moving tips to make your transition as smooth and joyous as possible. Be patient with yourself as you adjust to your new situation, and accept whatever thoughts and emotions come up along the way.
Life is but a constant moving and shifting of energies. The more comfortable we become with being the constant shift, the freer we are.
Until next time,
All my love,
Always and forever,
In case you missed my last article, you can find it here: Truth & Transparency: What A Food Photo Shoot Really Looks Like.