Moving is not easy. But just what exactly makes it so stressful? The house-hunting process? The piles of unpacked boxes in your kitchen? Maneuvering that behemoth of a moving truck? The research team at My Move decided to find out.
The study asked 1,500 consumers who had moved in the past three months questions about 75 moving-related tasks. What makes something stressful isn’t just how expensive, time-consuming or difficult the task is, but also how much more expensive, more time-consuming and more difficult the task was than expected. If a task cost more money, took more time and was significantly harder than a respondent originally anticipated, that task would have a high composite moving stress rating.
So which tasks had the highest stress ratings and how can you make them easier during your own move? Let’s break down the top five:
1. Packing and Unpacking. You never realize how much stuff you’ve accumulated until it’s time to pack it. And many items — that treadmill you stopped using two weeks after New Year’s, your bobble head collection, everything in your closet purchased during the ’80s — cause more stress to move than they’re worth. Make packing and unpacking easier by donating unwanted items to charity. Not only can your donation be tax-deductible, but less stuff means less stress during the move.
2. Loading and Unloading a Moving Truck without Professional Help. If you forgo a professional moving service in favor of a DIY move, you’re in for a lot of heavy lifting. Don’t try to tackle this task alone. Reduce moving-day stress by enlisting the help of friends and family (bribery in the form of a six-pack and pizza usually works best). Also invest in moving tools like a dolly, hand truck and moving straps to make the lifting and hauling easier on your body. And just because you haven’t hired professionals doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pack the moving truck like them.
3. Home Improvement Projects for New and Old Homes. Major home improvement and remodeling projects can be a serious financial investment and often take longer than anticipated to complete. Add to this the disruption they cause to your daily routine if you’re still living in the house, and it’s no surprise these projects ranked as the third most stressful. Whether you’re repairing the roof on your old home before putting it on the market or tackling a bathroom renovation in your new home, hiring the right contractor can make the process less stressful. Read reviews to find a reliable professional; subscribing to Angie’s List is a great place to start. Be sure to research discounts for subscriptions, as they are frequently available.
4. Searching for a New Home. Rent or buy? The ‘burbs or the city? Which neighborhood? Settling on a place to call home is a huge decision, and one made all the more difficult if you’re unfamiliar with your new area. Start your search early and, to simplify the process, identify the criteria you’re looking for in a home. If you have children, being in a good school district might be a top priority. If you’re relocating for a job, proximity to the office might be your number-one concern. Once you know what you’re looking for, make trips to explore the neighborhood options and familiarize yourself with the area.
5. Compiling a Home Inventory. We’ve already established that you’re stressing out about how much stuff you’ve accumulated and need to somehow pack into boxes. Now, add the task of documenting all that stuff — from art and furniture to electronics, jewelry and more. It’s overwhelming, but compiling a home inventory is crucial for insurance purposes in the event of fire, theft or natural disasters. It’ll also help you keep track of what went on and came off the moving truck, as well as the condition of each of your possessions. To simplify the process and save time, use a pre-populated downloadable home inventory spreadsheet.