Moving Checklist: How to Minimize the Stress of a Major Life Transition

“And I just think that if you believe in something and you want it so much and you’re not hurting anyone else, you have to go for it. Which sometimes means taking a risk, even if it’s scary. But the thing you want most to happen doesn’t stand a chance unless you give it one.”  […] Listen now or continue reading below.


“And I just think that if you believe in something and you want it so much and you’re not hurting anyone else, you have to go for it. Which sometimes means taking a risk, even if it’s scary. But the thing you want most to happen doesn’t stand a chance unless you give it one.” 
― Susane Colasanti

The Simple Sophisticate, episode #48

The homes we inhabit are in many ways an extension of ourselves. They not only become the hug that greets us each evening when the work day is done or when we return from being out with so many uncontrollable variables, but they provide a sense of security, a source of inspiration and offer a place for our routines to continue, restful sleep to be had and meals and conversation to fuel and energize us.

Being that our homes are such an anchor in our lives, when we choose or must move from them, relocating to an entirely different town, state or country, such an endeavor can be daunting and full of a mixed bag of emotions.

As many of you know, in just the past two weeks, I have relocated after living nine years in eastern Oregon, to Bend, Oregon. And as I have documented the entire journey on Instagram, readers have asked that I share, what appeared in pictures to be quite seamless and stress-free, the tips and tricks of what truly was a simply luxurious move.

Beginning on Monday July 13th when the moving trucks pulled up to my former house up until now, I never would have expected for such an effortless life transition to unfold. Therefore today, I would like to share with you how it happened, so that you too, whether you are simply moving from one side of town to another or entirely different zip code, can begin your new life on the best footing possible – rested, cognizant of what you want, knowing how to go about doing it and giddy about your new prospects.

I’m going to break up the process into three separate stages: Before, During, Settling In.

Before

Depending upon how much time you have, you will tend to each of the items below at your ability and necessity. Having two and a half months at my disposal to prep myself for the move, while at times it felt like a long-emotional goodbye, it was an ideal amount of time to set down a path that would lead to a successful transition.

1. Inform Those Closest In-Person

Depending upon the impetus for the move, keep others’ feelings in mind that you will be leaving due to your relocation. If your news is likely to spread quickly at work or through the social network, be sure to break the news first in-person to those closest to you: dear friends, immediate family, students enrolled in your classes, etc. Then share the news with the town criers of the organizations you work with as you know the news will most likely spread faster than you can blink. By tending to this vital piece, those you took the time to talk to one-on-one will appreciate the gesture and make for an easier good-bye as well as offer understanding and support.

2. Express Gratitude

For acquaintances and colleagues who made a positive impression on you that you won’t soon forget and want to make sure they realize how grateful you are for their optimism, support, inspiration, leadership, etc., take the time to write a thank you note and mail or deliver. You may never know how they received it, but at least you will have expressed your gratitude for someone you may never see again, but caused you to be forever changed because of their presence.

3. Plan Gatherings Ahead of Time

If you would like to have a last evening with friends and family, depending upon your personality and schedule, plan such gatherings or dinner parties ahead of time. For me, I knew saying goodbye to my house would be extremely emotional, so I wanted the last few days and nights to be just me and the boys. For others, the last night in your house you may want to fill up with friends and family, but be sure to plan ahead so that you can exit in a way that leave your memories in your place positive and quite memorable.

4. Leave on a Positive Note

Whether at work or in the groups you spend time with, perhaps each day wasn’t ideal, but hopefully it was. No matter the case, leave on a positive note. Be genuine with your goodbyes, but always make sure the last memory of you is one you is positive. You never know when a former colleague or boss will end up working with you down the road. If you have grievances, leave them in your journal, not out in the public.

Utilities & Mail:

5. Mail

The USPS (United States Post Office) requires 10 working days notice to promptly redirect your mail to your new address. So be sure to stop by your local branch and fill out the simple form.

6. Subscriptions to Magazines & Newspapers

With the ease of the internet you can quickly go online and change your mailing address. Often the latest issue (if you haven’t received it yet), may have already been addressed and queued up for your old address; however, if you change your mailing address early enough, you can often designate a date at which to have your address switched.

7. Financial, Insurance, Loans, Credit, Bank Accounts

While many of these items are tended to online for most of us, each of these accounts must be updated with the new mailing address.

8. Driver’s License

You can quickly call your state’s DMV or go online to change your mailing address. A new label will be mailed to you within a week to stick onto your current driver’s license. (free)

9. Voter’s Registration Card

Now this one is vital if you want to have a voice in your community. Go to your new state’s Secretary of State page or simply type in “[state name] voter’s registration” and you will quickly be shown a link. As long as you have a driver’s license or a Social Security Number, you will be able to change your county or residence to that you can vote in the next election. A card should be mailed to you shortly.

10. Current/Old Utilities

If you are leaving a rental or your house is already sold and you will not need to keep the home heated, yard watered, etc., then shut down all utilities (you may be moving a few such as cable, etc). But if your home is still for sale or the sale hasn’t closed yet, keep your water, heat/A.C., electricity, and gas up and running.

Also, for any of the utilities you are shutting off, you will want to give them your new address so they can send you the final bill. Below is a list of utilities you will want to have shut off or moved:

  • cable (may have to drop off or mail receiver)
  • internet
  • water
  • garbage
  • heat (gas and/or electric)
  • electricity
  • land lines (cell phone bill address will need to be updated)
11. Set up New Utilities

Well in advance of your move, once you have found a rental or purchased a home, set up your new utilities. Why? Some utilities are simple and can be turned on at the last minute (water, electricity, etc), but others will need to have a scheduled technician stop by your home. In other words, if you want to have television and wi-fi when you arrive, you will need to schedule well in advance. Also, be prepared to prepay the first month’s bill on certain utilities. A list below of utilities you might need:

  • cable and internet (3-4 weeks out to schedule an appointment for your arrival)
  • water
  • garbage (have bins dropped off the week prior so that you can immediately have them filled and ready for the first pick up). Ask about pick up date, times and rules when extra charges are added (over-flowing cans, etc.)
  • heat (gas and/or electric)
  • cell phone ( you will simply need to change your address). If you make any changes other than you address to your plan, beware of losing being grandfathered in to certain clauses.

Moving Preparation

12. Moving Company

As someone who has moved over eight times, and at my last location have now lived for nine years, I had acquired quite a bit of furniture, etc as I had fully moved into my 2600 square feet house. While I have had the wonderful help of family previously, this time I decided to hire a moving company. Remember, the cost of the move can be written off in your upcoming taxes.

While I will get to the details of working with a moving company in “During”, prior to the move you will want to scope out a few moving companies and schedule them to stop by to give you an estimate. At this time, ask for recommendations of customers who they have worked with. Schedule these appointments as early as possible, especially during the summer months as many families and people are relocating and their schedules become full quickly.

13. Plan a Moving Sale

A move is a wonderful opportunity to expunge from your life items, furniture, clothes and anything else that you truly do not use anymore. Planning a moving sale also offers a great way to provide your neighbors and acquaintances to stop by and have conversation as well as say goodbye. Below are a few images from my moving sale that occurred just days before I moved. It was a wonderful success and ultimately saved me money as I didn’t have to move as much stuff which kept my moving costs lower. Click here for tips and organizational ideas to help plan your next yard/moving sale.

tsllyardsale1

tsllyardsale2

14. Get Your Beauty Info

Gather your hair color information from your hairstylist, your tanning color from your aesthetician, and anything else that you will need as you move from your regular professionals to a new set.

15. Let Your Emotions Out

Whether you have chosen to move or not, allow your emotions to be felt whatever they are. Crying, dancing, cheering, or bawling, do it. It is natural. In many ways, you are either grieving the loss of the life your are leaving behind or exuberantly celebrating your growth and new beginnings. Either way, feel it, move through it and then strive forward.

During

1. Moving

I want to first begin by recommending wholeheartedly and without hesitation Mountain West MovingFrom the first phone call to the last box being unloaded, I and my furniture and decor were treated professionally and with great care.

a) cost: There are many myths and horror stories about hiring a moving company, but in Oregon the cost is regulated by state law. If you are moving out of town, the cost is determined by distance and weight. If you are moving within the same town, the rate is hourly. Click here for Oregon Department of Transportation guidelines.

b) insured: You are able to purchase insurance on your move at many different tier levels of coverage. Just remember that everything they pack is insured and anything you pack is not. Just another reason to sit back and relax.

c) what to pack: Make sure before the packing begins to walk through what should not be packed. It’s best if you have concerns about anything, to pack it yourself. I, for example, packed all of my clothes, shoes and accessories. However, I must admit, I’m sure they should have been more than fine being packed by the movers, but it gave me peace of mind.

d) pack a travel tote: Most likely you will be traveling or living out of a suitcase for a night or two (I had two nights not in my physical bed, although one night was on my mattress which was on the floor). Before the movers arrive, pack your suitcase as though you were traveling. Have all of your toiletries, beauty supplies, pjs, outfits and shoes, so that you can be as comfortable as possible during the transition, and the packers can pack the rest. (this includes a dog tote as well with food)

e) clearly label: Whether you are packing or someone else is, clearly label on the sides of the boxes (not the top), the contents of the box and to which room it will be moved to.

Settling In

1. Plan Ahead for a Warm Welcome

The little things make a tremendous difference, especially when you are arriving at your new town and home. And while it may be the last thing on your mind, take time before you arrive (perhaps weeks ahead of time), and plan for a few welcome touches to occur on the first day of your arrival.

For example, my aunt and uncle live in the Bend area, and they hosted a lovely dinner the night before I moved in (as I needed a place to sleep). Thinking ahead, my aunt provided me with left-overs so that I would have dinner the next night. Also, two much-anticipated books were scheduled to be released on the day of my arrival in Bend (July 14th), so I decided to have them delivered to my new address. Sure enough, when I arrived, they were waiting on my new doorstep. And as burdensome as it might sound, I traveled with a bouquet of flowers that were just too beautiful to leave behind. Placed on the floorboard of my passenger seat in my car, they made the journey and lasted an entire week. Just having flowers in my home while everything else was a bit discombobulated was a great comfort.

And lastly, while this particular event didn’t occur on the day I arrived, it was something I had to look forward to. Once I knew I was moving to Bend, I learned that a band I enjoyed listening to, Pink Martini, would be playing in the Amphitheater in town. I decided to give myself a gift and purchase tickets. At the time, I had no idea who I would go with, but I knew I wanted to go and it would be a great way to see and experience Bend. Just this past weekend, I attended the concert, and it was indeed a lovely culmination to the moving in process.

tsllbooks

~Go Set a Watchman and The French Beauty Solution~

tsllmoveflowers

pinkmartini

 

2. Set up Mail Service

If you have a locked mailbox, stop by your local post office branch for the key. If you have to have a key made, it will cost you $40. If you simply have a traditional mailbox, you are golden and will typically only have to fill out a card for the mailman indicating the names that will be accepting mail at that address.

3. Copy All Keys of Importance

From your front door to your work keys, make copies now. Nobody wants to be locked out in a new town as you may now know the neighbors yet or the area.

4. Introduce Yourself to Your Immediate Neighbors

Casually and naturally, you don’t need to knock on anyone’s door, if you happen to see your neighbors outside, introduce yourself briefly. It is crucial to make the first meeting of neighbors a positive one.

5. Help Removing Moving Materials

Once I had unpacked all of my boxes, my entire garage was filled to the brim with cardboard and wrapping paper. Thankfully local moving companies will come and pick up (for a fee) all of your moving material.

6. Keep All Receipts of the Moving Process for Taxes

From the mover’s receipts to the mileage on your car, keep all of these filed away safely for tax season as you can write off your expenses for relocating. (Click here for more help with organizing your taxes.)

7. Remove or Revisit Later

If you come across boxes of stuff or items that won’t work at your new home or you realize you don’t need, keep them boxed up and revisit them in a year to see if you truly need them or immediately donate them. Your storage space will thank you.

8. Stay in the Know

Set up your local newspaper delivery as a way of getting to know your new community and discovering all of the social events and outings to explore.

9. Begin Setting Up Your Home Gradually

While it would be lovely to snap our fingers and have our home magically be set-up, take time with this process as you truly get a feel for what would work best for your lifestyle. A few rooms that should be set up first to help you feel at home: Master bedroom, Kitchen, Bathrooms and Living/Family room. Often as we begin to live in a space to forget about routines as they don’t work in our new space. This in turns effects how we will set up our homes and what we will need. The second stage of rooms to set up would be the laundry room, dining room and office, and the stage three would be outdoor spaces, hallways, entry/foyer, extra rooms and the garage.

Set a goal, depending upon your schedule to have each of these rooms, therefore your entire home, set up and unpacked in one week or one month. I was elated when my garage was empty so that I could pull my car in and use it as it was intended. I saved the garage for last as a way of punctuated the end of moving in, and it really felt like the closure I needed. Set your goals and make steady progress.

10. Furniture and Decor that Makes a Space Feel Like Home
  • area rugs (whether you have carpet or not, as it defines the space)
  • luxurious bed linens
  • good food
  • trays to create vignettes on coffee and side tables
  • mirrors
  • a place for keys and coats (preferably in your foyer)
  • flowers
  • table lamps (softer lightening that is warm and inviting)
  • candles and scents
  • bathroom decor (curtains, towels, floor mats, etc)

Check out TSLL Decor Archives for more specific home decorating tips and ideas as you go about creating your very own sanctuary.

11. Scope Out and Establish Regular and Necessary Haunts

From your grocer to your coffee shop, begin to explore and then eventually settle in on the shops and destinations that you will be visiting regularly. As you begin to do this, you will begin to feel more and more as though your new hometown truly is home. Below is a list of places to scope out:

  • grocery store
  • specialty grocery stores: wine, cheese, meat, bread, etc
  • coffee/tea shop
  • spa (for your regular beauty appointments – waxing, facials, massages, nails, etc)
  • hair salon
  • dog groomer
  • dog supplies
  • gym or studios for yoga/pilates, etc
  • walking/running/biking trails
  • parks (dog parks too!)
  • restaurants for your favorite fare
  • markets (farmer’s, etc.)
  • bookstores
  • take-out for favorites: Thai, Indian, Mexican, American hamburgers, etc (did you know many restaurants in Bend offer take out through BendTakeOut.com?)
12. Begin Establishing a Social Circle

The beautiful opportunity of moving is a fresh start when it comes to meeting people. And while our work places often provide a social network, it is nice and healthy as well to establish relationships outside of our professional field. The key is to not be too over-eager, have patience, to be sincerely ourselves and remain curious. Below are a few ways to connect with others:

  • Check out Meetup.com
  • Attend events alone as I did when I went to the Pink Martini concert. I ended up being seated next to a lovely fellow-Pink Martini fan. We struck up a conversation and eventually exchanged numbers to meet for coffee. You never know!
  • Become a regular. Once you’ve found a favorite coffee shop, bookstore, grocery store, etc., begin to get to know the staff and don’t be afraid to strike up casual conversations with other regulars you see.
  • Visit local parks, walking and running trails regularly
  • Attend city council meetings

With anything in life, if you have a plan you will be more successful in your endeavor. Maybe a few things will be changed or occur unexpectedly, but for certain, as one of my former colleagues reminded students, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Moving is an extraordinary journey you will be undertaking, but the beauty is that is an enormous opportunity. See the opportunity to truly spread your wings, step into your new self and home and make the most of something that doesn’t occur that often.

I will admit, I still cannot look at images of my former house as I will begin bawling unnecessarily. However, I know that eventually this will subside and it will become easier. And from the moment I drove into Bend on my first evening here as a resident, the process of relocating was seen as an extraordinary occasion that I did not want to fritter away.

I feel quite fortunate to have had the positive experience that I have had during my relocation, but I know for certain this is not an anomaly. We can all have a similar experience if we prepare and approach it with a positive, yet informed state of mind. I wish you well as you move forward with your life. It will be lovely and it will be a change for the better.

“Because if you take a risk, you just might find what you’re looking for.” 
― Susane Colasanti

~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~22 Tips for Creating a Grown-Ups Living Space

~10 Tips on How to Decorate Small Spaces

~Accepting Unexpected Change

~How to Create the Change You Want to See

~Why Not . . . Recognize the Stages of Making a Lifestyle Change?

Petit Plaisir:

Berry Galette

Inspired by this Bon Appétit cover, I have recently discovered my favorite tart/galette/pie crust recipe. It’s all about the pecans, and you will love it. Fill with your favorite fresh berries picked up at the farmers market or apples from the orchard this fall, this crust will entice even the most reluctant pie eater to become dig in.

berrygalette

Ingredients

serving: 8

Dough

  • ½ cup pecans
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Filling And Assembly

  • 12 ounces berries (about 2 cups) (blueberries, blackberries, strawberry & rhubarb, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  •  teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • All-purpose flour (for surface)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Directions:

Dough

  • Complete 2 days or 2 hours ahead of time at least: Preheat oven to 350°. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10–15 minutes; let cool. Pulse pecans in a food processor until the consistency of coarse meal. Add flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon and pulse just to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces remaining.
  • Transfer to a large bowl; drizzle with 4 Tbsp. ice water (or less depending upon consistency) and mix, adding another tablespoonful of water if needed, just until mixture comes together. Gently pat dough into a 6″-diameter disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.
  • Do Ahead: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled, or freeze up to 1 month.

Filling And Assembly

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Toss blueberries, cornstarch, lemon juice, and ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl.
  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12″ round. Carefully transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Mound blueberries in center of dough, leaving a 2″ border. Fold edges over, overlapping slightly. Brush dough with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake galette until crust is dark golden brown and filling is bubbling, 45–50 minutes. Let cool before serving.
  • Do Ahead: Galette can be baked 1 day ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Images: TSLL IG



14 thoughts on “Moving Checklist: How to Minimize the Stress of a Major Life Transition

  1. WOW, this is such an exhaustive and helpful list! So glad everything has gone well for you thus far with the move. One thing I just might add is that a regular haunt for many people (and an important one) is a place of worship. Great job on this…I even took detailed notes! 🙂

  2. As a long time TSLL devotee, your posts never cease to engage me. By design, I’ve had a TSLL immersion week-end. I let life get the best of me and fell behind on your podcasts and other sources of pleasure. In preparation for a long, four day birthday weekend, I gathered all of my luxurious supplies and embraced the simplicity of it all. Errands were completed early, the house was in order, downloads of the missed podcasts completed, a note pad to jot down details at the ready, and fresh Harney & Sons Paris tea.
    What followed was several hours of relaxation and mindful insights of what life should be all about. All in preparation for an upcoming year of simple luxuries and a life well lived.
    Thanks Shannon, for helping to set the tone of the upcoming simply luxurious year.

  3. Great post Shannon! Personally, I would emphasise the importance of decluttering / doing a purge of items prior to moving (the extent to which this can be done will obviously depend on how much time is available prior to the move). Your moving sale idea is a great way to make money from doing that purge! Being in the process of doing a major decluttering session on my home right now, I wish I had been more fastidious about editing my possessions PRIOR to moving. I’ve lost count of how many things I moved with me that were still sitting in unopened boxes from my prior move and which I have only now finally edited. I am so glad to hear that your move to Bend has gone so smoothly 🙂

  4. Love this! I would add- make sure your former employer has your current address so they can send your W-2 at tax time. Getting those reissued or redirected can be difficult as well as delay your ability to file your taxes.

    Also, thank you for your new Saturday podcast! I was up early on Saturday with my baby- she fell back to sleep, giving me the opportunity to sip a cup of my favorite coffee and listen to your podcast while coloring in a “grown up” coloring book. It was bliss!!

  5. Great post Shannon. I love how you broke it into 3 sections and great tips too. I’m glad your move went well and it sounds like you are settling in nicely.

  6. I agree with Steph and Julie – this is an exhaustive list that really can help someone in a major transition such as moving jobs/homes/cities, etc. What I like about this is that it is a PLAN – and it’s amazing how much easier even major events like this feel when they are written down and can be crossed off 1 by 1.

  7. Shannon I am late with my reading and podcasts this week so I’ve only just come to this. I knew you had a successful move and now I see why! I consider myself an organised person but this is superb — and I’m yet to listen to the actual podcast.

    We plan to downsize — after 33 years — in somewhere between five and eight years, I have started the declutter but there is a long way to go. I plan to start a folder now and I will begin with these fantastic notes. Thank you.

  8. Thank you Shannon for a wonderful post! I’m happy that you had a smooth experience with your big move. It’s fantastic that you were also mindful about what you learned from it and was willing to share it with us. I’ve lived in Australia all my life, but I’m moving to Europe very soon – the prospect fills me with both fear and excitement. I’m saving your list of practical advice to revisit over the next few weeks as I go through the various stages of my major transition!
    (I have a blog as well if you’re interested in stopping by, it’s http://www.aboutabeautifullife.com, thank you!)

  9. Hello, Shannon. Thank you for all the help you provide for me and all other people that need it. Me and my wife really loved your podcast and are definitely your fans. Thanks for sharing this amazing article.

  10. This is a really in-depth moving list, great advice. I know that whenever I have needed to move, I don’t put this much thought into it, and the move never goes very smoothly. So I imagine that going through the 15 before-moving steps would help a lot, thanks!

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