After 16 moves, I learned the secret to make it as stress free as possible. No, it’s not to drink wine in the days before – although that might help too.
First, as soon as you know you are moving, start purging. We have those items we found on our last move that make us say, “why or how did this make the move?” Get rid of them this time. Also follow the decluttering experts’ advice: If you haven’t used it, worn it or seen it for the past year, out it goes. Two assignments ago I received a set of five dessert dishes with spoons. They were beautiful. But when I went through the cupboards this time, I found them tucked in the back. Since I never used them, I put them in the donation pile. Same goes for items you no longer love.
If clearing out closets stresses you out and you have a tight time frame, don’t worry. Do what you can and remember, you can continue at the other end. You may have more time as you unpack than you did when packing up.
Even having the moving company pack you up, start deciding what you are carrying with you. We have a travel trailer which comes in handy. I usually complain about the trailer, but I missed it on the move from Hawaii. Since the mover won’t take open food, cleaning supplies or candles, you either have to carry them with you or give them all away. These can get expensive to replace. Our travel trailer saved us much money over the moves, not to mention hotel fees and plane fares.
My biggest stressor is cleaning our house before we leave. We usually live on base and the military can be meticulous the cleaning process. If you don’t pass final inspection, you have to clean until you do. That is a problem if you get delayed.
When the military owned housing, we hired a cleaner from an approved list to make sure we passed the first time. Now that housing is privatized, we simply pay the management company to clean and walk away. It makes sense. Maintenance comes in after we move out and repair anything needing repairing, and repaint the lovely white walls. Why clean before the workers finish? What a load off my mind. It costs less than hiring an outsider and the house is done to management’s satisfaction.
As we head into our 17th move I am remarkably calm. I guess it’s because I finally learned that it is not worth getting upset about.