What to Expect when You're Expecting...a Move

Updated: Mar 2

Moving. It’s one of life’s necessary evils. Whether you’ve lived in the same house your entire life, or you’re part of a family where moving every few years is the norm, moving is something all of us will likely have to tackle at least a few times in our lives. If you’re anything like me, you might be faced with moving a LOT in your first few years of your adult life. After moving from my childhood home to a new house with my family, moving out of state and living away from my parents for the first time, moving in with my in-laws, and now moving into my husband and I’s first home later this month, I have moved almost 4 times within 4 years! Moving can be REALLY STRESSFUL, but I’ve learned a few things that you can use to hack your first move and come out on the other side ready to take on the new “normal” of life post-move. Here’s a breakdown of tips and hacks you can you use to take yourself from pre-move to post-move- without pulling out all your hair or taking up drinking: PRE-MOVE: 1. Research: If you do not research, YOU SHALL NOT PASS! But seriously, this step is super important! Whether you’re just moving to a new town, or out of state, you need to know some basics things about your new city. What is the cost of living? Are the taxes any different from where you currently live? What are the top things to do in the area? Is this somewhere that you want to live? What parts of town have higher crime rates? Do you or someone you know have an acquaintance there that can fill you in on the low-down of what happens around town? What’s the weather like there? I could go on, but you get the idea. 2. Look for lodging: Don’t be afraid to be unconventional with your lodging! Moving in with a family member, friend, or roommate can be a great way to adjust to living away from your family for the first time. Living with others can also be a great way to save money! Unless you live somewhere where the cost of living is very low or you have a very good paying job, it may be the only way you can afford to move! Keep in mind that you should be looking for a place that is relatively safe, and will only take up about 25% of your income a month. 3. Budget: This is SO important, especially if you’re not used to closely watching and managing your money. Be sure to add things like rent, utilities, car payment (if you have one), insurance, internet, and your phone bill! Also, figure out what is a reasonable amount to spend on things like groceries, toiletries, eating out, entertainment, clothing, and gifts. Be sure to remember charitable giving and to leave some room for saving and spending! Although you won’t have exact numbers for everything, it’s important to know about how much money you will need to live every month. Apps like Mint provide an easy transition to budgeting for beginners and are helpful in tracking how much you spend in different categories each month. 4. Look for a Job: If you’re moving a significant distance from your current home, finding a job beforehand can be a big stress-reliever. Be sure to look at your budget and calculate how much you’ll need to make a month to survive. Don’t apply for any jobs with income below that dollar amount. Just don’t. Contact future employers over the phone or email and introduce yourself, and offer the option of a long-distance interview via phone or video call. Doing so can make you stand out among others and gives a personal touch to your application. This is another great time to contact anyone you may know in the area, they could be a great resource in finding a job! 5. Save up an Emergency Fund: This is another must-do when moving. Try to have at least $1000 of a buffer to cover the time you will be taking off of work, any move-in expenses, or even basic living expenses while you are waiting for your first paycheck at your new job! Moving always takes some money, so having a little extra can really help relieve some of the tension and anxiety that can come with unexpected expenses. 6. Ask for Help: Set a date for your move (often the weekend is the best time to make the transition), then ask for help! If you’re not renting a moving truck, ask family or friends to help you drive your things to your new place. Having help with packing, moving things on the day of, and unpacking the day after are huge life-savers! If anyone offers to feed you, that’s a huge help too--you won’t have time to cook on the day of your move. Try to reach out at least a few weeks in advance to insure that your support team will be available to help. 7. Pack a Little at a Time: Packing over the course of a few weeks will allow you to slowly de-clutter your things and pack them without getting overwhelmed. Spending an hour a day on packing sure beats spending 12 hours the day before your move trying to stuff everything into boxes. Moving hack: you can use priority mail boxes from the Post Office as moving boxes! They are FREE and a smaller, convenient size that will allow you to better organize, label and pack lighter boxes. Another great thing to stock up on is large plastic bins from Walmart. Having a couple to pack larger items in is great and I love them because they stack and can be used for storage at your new place! Lastly, don’t forget a good sharpie and some fun duct tape! 8. Change Your Address: This is simple and can be done electronically on the US Postal Service website. Also, make a list of businesses you need to notify of your new address after moving, such as your employer, bank, credit card company, etc. Set a reminder on your phone to visit the DMV a few days after you are settled in to change your address on your driver’s license. 9. Pack an “Essentials” Box and Suitcase: As you near your move-in date, pack a box of “essentials” (things you use everyday) like toiletries, towels, and sheets. Another great thing to do is pack a weeks worth of clothes in a suitcase. You want to be able to have things readily available so you can live comfortably during your transition without having to unpack everything right away! 10. Ask for Basic Household Items as Gifts: Depending on the time of year you are moving, you may want to consider asking for some “new home” gifts. If your birthday or Christmas is coming up, suggest that relatives looking for gift ideas consider purchasing a new set of towels, a nightstand, trash can, or kitchen appliance in place of more conventional celebration gifts. This is one way prepare for your move and be ready before hand with things that you will need. WHILE MOVING: 11. Go for It!: Once you’ve set your move in date, it’s time to take the plunge. You’re about to start a brand new, exciting chapter in your life! Make sure to clear your plans and be prepared to put 110% of your effort into your move. It’s go time! 12. Cry: NEWS FLASH: Moving can be emotional! As mentioned above, you’re starting a new chapter of your life, but that also means a chapter is ending. If you’ve lived in the same place for most of your life, moving out for the first time may bring up a lot of emotions (and some goodbyes), and that is totally okay. Prepare yourself for a flood of both positive and negative emotions during your move, and don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself feeling down. It’s absolutely okay to cry, this is a big step! 13. Document: Take pictures of your moving boxes, one of you saying goodbye to your old home, your new apartment, your welcome mat, etc… Journal, Instagram, Vlog, Blog- whatever works for you! Years down the road, you’ll be glad you took time to document your journey and capture this interesting new stage of life. 14. Unpack: After you’ve had your first sleep in your new home, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get back to work! Unpacking all your boxes can take some time and mental energy, but it helps to start early in the day and unpack the most necessary items first (clothes, kitchen and bathroom items) and save the less crucial items (like decorations) for later. If you can’t get it all done in one day, no worries--you’re certainly not the only one. Rest assured in knowing your boxes aren’t going to grow legs and walk off. ;) 15. Make Use of Your Closet: This is a GREAT way to make use of a small space. My first apartment had a walk-in closet and it was so helpful! Keep in mind that you can put more than just clothes in your closet. You can use closets as space for storage, laundry baskets, trash cans, and shoes. Also, if you can hang most of your clothes in your closet you might even be able to get away with not have a dresser in your bedroom, which will save space and make it look much more open! POST-MOVE: 16. Buy Essentials: Buying something new that you now have a need for can be a really fun way to christen your new space. One thing I invested in were some nice, colorful bath towels. After you’ve been living in your new space for a week or so, you’ll begin to realize some things you need that you may not have thought of pre-move. Especially if this is your first time moving out, there might be a lot of little things that you took for granted while living with your family that you will need to buy. Treat yourself to a fun, practical shopping trip with a little of your first paycheck and buy something that you need, whether it be sheets, tea towels, cleaning supplies, or that coffee maker you have been missing! 17. Join a Church: I highly suggest finding a local church to get plugged into after moving to a new place, especially if you are a spiritually minded person. This is a great way to continue to grow and learn about your faith, meet new people, and find ways to serve your new community. It may take a while to find a church that fits your style, but take some time to visit local ones in the area, and try attending a small group or young adult event. Your first time moving out provides a great opportunity to make your faith your own, push yourself to define what you really believe, and grow in your faith. Be open to trying different styles, denominations, and church times- for instance, I enjoyed attending a church with a 5pm service time on Sundays while I lived in North Carolina, it allowed me to focus so much better than I was able to in the morning! 18. Sign up for a Class: Another great way to make connections in the community is to join a class or club! Pick something you are interested in (dance, pottery, yoga, parkour, cooking…) and try it for at least a month. Commit to it by signing up and paying the class fee, this will help to ensure that you follow through with attending! Not only is this a great chance to learn something new, it's an awesome way make friends and adopt a healthy, social, intentional lifestyle. 19.Create a Schedule: Now that you’ve moved out it’s up to you to manage your time. With more responsibilities, it’s more important than ever to keep track of your free time and use your time wisely. Adopting a schedule is an easy way to help yourself begin to adapt to and enjoy your new environment. Whether you use your phone or buy a planner, listing out when you will go to work, study, attend the class you signed up for, go to church, do household chores, explore the area, and rest can be an extremely helpful tool in living a purposeful life. Moving is one of the most stressful, and exciting things in the life of a young adult. As your move approaches, prepare with confidence, know that things won’t go exactly as planned, and enjoy this new phase of your life. Just think, moving could be your first step towards falling in love with a new place, finding the person you will spend the rest of your life with, discovering a new passion, or learning more about what it means to be an adult. Leaving your home to make a new one is a leap of faith, and I highly recommend it! Use these tips to hack your first move, and be sure to reach out and share how it goes. YOU’VE GOT THIS! Written by Deborah Dunman

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