We moved to our dream house in the country last year, I say dream house, it has all the potential to be a dream house, but it’s a constant source of work. Now that we have done 16 months here in the Peak District, just outside Ashbourne, I thought it might be a good time for some reflections on the process of moving house. We went through all the emotions and feelings and I do wish I could have handled a couple of things differently now.
How can you make house moving happier? Here’s my advice, with a large smattering of hindsight!
Remember you are not alone. People all over the world move house daily for all kinds of reasons. I found this strangely comforting. I had to keep kicking myself to remember I wasn’t moving because I was forced to, we had decided to move to follow a long held dream to live in the country. I was lucky to be moving even if it was the most emotional thing I had done in years. Although I could have done with someone other than myself to blame for the decision to cause so much upheaval some days!
Accept what you can and can’t control. When we were trying to sell we couldn’t change our proximity to a main road. When buyers came to look round we could play music, wow them with the inside, but everyone has their non negotiable points. Likewise, buyers who didn’t have the money to do the work they felt was needed weren’t going to bring us down to a price that didn’t work for us, no matter how much we wanted to sell then and there.
Trust your decisions. When you have made a decision, be proud of it and own it. No doubt you put a lot of thought and research into it. There will be pros and cons to every decision, but the more you believe in a decision, the more you see the happy in it.
Most of my nerves were about uprooting our children. Here I would simply say, try and trust yourself – you know your children better than anyone, let your gut feelings surface when it comes to choosing schools and managing their emotions. Things actually worked out so much better than I could have imagined, and in many ways their news schools are a much better fit than the old, but I was often too fixated on what might go wrong to possibly entertain that I might have made an excellent judgement call.
Try to keep relationships cordial with all involved – buyers, sellers, estate agents, solicitors. People are far more likely to help you out if you keep professional, appreciative and assertive. It’s amazing how assertive you can be without being rude, and how far a sense of humour goes too.
Seek objective support. Have friends you can moan at when things don’t go to plan, but put a limit on it too, other people’s house moving stories can be really long winded, slightly baffling and never ending for those not involved.
Time Out. Make time to do fun stuff, don’t let relationships and family suffer, its important to keep making memories amid all the moving house plans.
Look for the happy endings. There are so many people with nightmare house moving stories to tell and unfortunately they are only to happy to share them just when you don’t need them. But there are beautiful stories too, and moves that went with a hitch, even better houses that came along – you just don’t hear them so much because people don’t like to rub it in and we humans prefer a drama! I found when we were at our absolute lowest and had nearly given up, some of the loveliest stories came to light and gave me hope. Here’s my house moving drama with a very happy ending.
Try to look on the bright side, it’s easy to worry what potential buyers think, to let feedback get to you, to see the worst in surveys and other people. Try and adopt a growth mindset, see obstacles as challenges to overcome instead of complete and immovable roadblocks to your dream.
Hopes and Fears. When you wake up at 3am wondering what you are doing, refocus your energies on something more positive, write down your worries, hopes and fears or write lists of things to do. Write down and name your feelings, it helps to process them rather than have them all swimming in the sea in your head.
Say goodbye properly. Rather than being the emotional overwhelm I thought it would be, our farewell parties for the kids and for me (Mr A still sees all his friends at work) were a joy, and full of support and strength that got us through the last few days. Plus I think they strengthened quite a few friendships after we moved too. Make time to say goodbye to the old house too, we walked through each room as a family which was hard but important.
Look forwards. New can be scary, whereas old is familiar, so tip the scales in favour of new and do what you can to get to know your new environment before you move. Visit in real life and/or online. Plan days out, find activities, clubs, shops or cafes you want to try. Make a fun list of things to keep you busy exploring your new location.
Be organised. The more organised you can be, the more you can enjoy the move – moving is exciting and a bit like planning a wedding or anticipating the arrival of a child, you deserve to actually enjoy as much of the process as possible. Often sorting practical stuff helps with the emotional stuff too, making peace with sadness and loss and embracing new shiny horizons.
Beware of denial, it can creep in towards the end. Suddenly the removals team are here and looking at you strangely because they only agreed to pack a few ornaments and the place looks like a bomb hit. We had a large item delivery to organise too because we forgot about a huge 360 video game playing screen. It all takes longer than you think it will, so don’t let denial make you complacent.
Look for the positives. For ages after our move, if the smallest thing didn’t work out I was prone to wondering if we had done the right thing, it is so important to try to look for the positives and remember it takes time for the bigger picture to emerge.
Here are my top tips on making friends when you move.
Post in collaboration with Shiply who give those moving house or furniture access to quotes from 102,334 rated transport providers. The transport providers quote on listings where they are already in the area or making a similar route, therefore saving money and the environment.