Moving is uniquely stressful because it combines physical stress with emotional stress. We get the physical stress from packing up our belongings and hauling them out to the moving truck. We get the emotional stress when we think of leaving our current life behind in order to start a new one in a faraway place. Psychologists who study moving say that people who move frequently are more likely to be risk takers, while those who stay in the same place for a long time may be emotionally stuck and afraid of change. Both feelings are understandable. The key to finding a comfortable middle ground when moving is to prioritize a few really important things, then try not to worry too much about the rest.
Move your money
More than 90 percent of Americans have a bank account. There are approximately 7 percent who don’t are considered “unbanked,” but luckily, that number has been declining during the post-recession recovery. Unless we bank with a big national chain that has at least one branch near our new home, we have to change banks when we change addresses. No one likes doing that, so the best way to deal with it is to get it over with as soon as possible. Start researching local banks a couple of weeks before you pack up the last box and leave town for good. When you’re looking up local financial institutions, don’t forget to check out credit unions as well. In 2014, membership in credit unions topped 100 million for the first time, as consumers continue to get turned off by the antics of big banks and seek more personalized service. That service typically includes lower fees and better interest rates.
Credit unions exist all over the country in cities big and small. You’re just as likely to find a credit union in Louisiana as you are to find a credit union in Massachusetts. Once you find a local institution that works for you, you can start the process of moving over your accounts. It may be best to leave your old account open for a couple more weeks just to catch any recurring charges that you forgot to cancel, but otherwise, open an account at a credit union and enjoy being a member of an ever-growing club. It’s easier to move forward with moving once you know your money source is secure.
Get help with the labor
When we start really thinking about moving, it’s typical to take inventory of our house or apartment and wonder how on earth we managed to acquire so much stuff. A month or so before leaving, start giving away anything that you can’t use. If none of your friends want that old nightstand, see if you can donate it to Goodwill or a similar organization (and remember to get a receipt for taxes). Once you’ve pared down what you own to mostly necessities, start thinking about how you’re going to get all that stuff packed and loaded into a vehicle or vehicles.
Remember that it’s OK to hire help with moving, just like it’s OK to hire help with things like house-cleaning or babysitting. Get quotes for complete packing services and, if the price is right, hire someone to come pack up your stuff for you. If you have physical limitations, hiring help is even more useful. You’ll still be just as moved as someone who spends hours of their own time sorting, packing, and loading boxes.