Having recently moved into a new home, I asked my friend Barbara Dab to share her hard won wisdom on relocating! No. 1- despite your best efforts and endless to do lists, moving is more exhausting than you think!
Barb’s wise suggestions will help make your next move (mostly) trouble-free.
It is widely known that moving is one of life’s most stressful transitions.
I sit here now four months after one such transition and I can safely say that is true. Just last year my husband and I decided to sell our big suburban home and move into a more urban, close-in neighborhood. We’ve been married a long time and have moved several times and it does not get any easier. But over the years I have learned a few things that make moving a smoother process and one that can even be exciting and fun.
Technically our move began with the decision to list the house. We met with my Realtor and good friend Elizabeth Colton Walls of Fridrich & Clark Realty, to discuss a strategy, time line and to look at the comps in the neighborhood where we lived, where we wanted to look and what our priorities are. Then the real fun began…NOT!
The next step was to de-clutter our home to get it ready to sell. I learned that while our house wasn’t cluttered for living, it was cluttered for selling. Living is about us, selling is about strangers who come to look and dream about living in our house. Confusing stuff emotionally.
After a whirlwind few weeks of cleaning, packing (yes, packing), organizing and photo shoots the house was ready for its first open house. In the meantime, our realtor began taking us out to look at potential new homes. To me, that’s the fun part. My creative juices really start to flow when I envision a new environment and a new lifestyle to go with it.
After several months of both showing our house and house hunting, we found our new home and within 6 weeks we were ready to close and move. This was actually the scariest part of the process. We lived in a nearly 4500 square foot house with a full basement and were moving to a 3300 square foot house with a small basement. Aack!
I confess to having a meltdown but afterwards, I took a breath and started calling movers. This is a very tricky job involving different information from each moving company. When it comes to movers, comparing apples to apples is nearly impossible.
Along the way, though, I came across a company Home Transitions that offers project management and organizing services along with packing and unpacking. It’s a bit pricey, I admit, but in our case it was a lifesaver. The project manager, Debbie Keller, oversaw the planning, packing, unpacking, organizing, billing and follow-up of the entire move. She even coordinated repairs to a large piece of furniture and made sure things were handled in a timely fashion.
Emotionally the process took a toll I did not expect. While I simply love my house, at night I just can’t seem to get comfortable with new surroundings. And even though I am enjoying my hip new neighborhood and short commute, I mourn the big beautiful home in the ‘burbs just a bit. I guess the point is what I’ve known all along: change is hard no matter how many times you’ve experienced it. Heck I’m still mourning my move from California to Nashville eight years later! But I have learned to embrace the change and keep an open mind and heart. I have gained so much more than I gave up and finally feel connected to my new city.
I’ve been asked to share tips for making a move go smoothly. I really only have one tip: figure out what you need to make it work and DO THAT! For some it is hiring a decorator or organizer, for others it is using friends and family to help while others prefer to do it themselves, enjoying a walk down memory lane as they de-clutter, pack and unpack.
One more thing, my Realtor likes to use the term, “right-sizing,” rather than, “down-sizing.” This concept may seem simple, but it is revolutionary! When considering a move really think about what you need, where you need or want to be and manage your expectations. In the end when it comes to a home, size may not really matter. As we’ve begun to entertain again my favorite comment from our friends is, “This house looks just like you!” I guess I really am home now.
Barbara Dab is a journalist, news reporter and award winning PR consultant. Most recently she hosted a public affairs program on NASH FM 103.3 and WGFX 104.5 The Zone in Nashville. She relocated to Nashville from Los Angeles, where she was a reporter and News Director for public radio station KPFK 90.7 FM. She has also worked extensively in nonprofit communications. Barbara has (finally) escaped the suburbs and is happily residing in Sylvan Park, a stone’s throw from Café Nonna, the Produce Place and her fave watering hole, McCabe’s Pub.