There is a reason why moving from one place to another comes under the heading of ‘major life event’. Moving is stressful, a game changer, and requires a lot planning and adjustment. Of course there’s no way to completely eliminate stress from this big move, but being prepared will go a long way to mitigate it.

No one looks forward to the work that comes with moving to a new suburb, city or country, even if the move is for an exciting reason. There are myriad ways you can reduce the stress that comes with a big move. If you’re thinking about moving in the new year, let’s talk about what all you can do to make the transition as smooth and pain free as possible.


Give yourself enough time

It is quite unlikely that a move appears on the horizon with little to no warning. The impending move is already on your radar well before it happens... But many of us put off dealing with it and pretend it’s not happening. The enormity of moving, the work, planning, and innumerable tasks involved can be overwhelming. Then you postpone starting the process, causing more stress.

The first and most important thing to do is to give yourself enough time. Be cognisant – and accepting – of the fact that the hourglass will run out, and time will go much faster than you anticipate! Set realistic deadlines, be accurate around timeframes and as much as possible, give yourself extra time. Get an early start on the moving process. Mark out time on your calendar just for moving related tasks, and ensure your tasks get done.

Get organised

Having a plan is the key to a successful, minimally stressful move. There is a time and place for a moving checklist – and this is it! When you are moving countries, even close neighbours like New Zealand and Australia, making a list (and checking it twice) will help you get everything done, in time, and within budget, and most importantly, without going crazy. If you’re moving between NZ and Australia there’s a great moving checklist from Ausmove.

Start with an overall plan of action, and then make sure you identify and plan out the different steps you need to complete. Everything from accumulating boxes, to booking flights and rental cars, to giving yourself time to set up the new space. Make a master to-do list and then work through it in a systematic manner.

Clear out the clutter

Moving is the best time to de-clutter! The longer you live in one house, the more stuff you accumulate and forget that you own. This is particularly true of kids’ toys, old books and unused or rarely used appliances and utensils, clothes and makeup. There is no better time than when you are moving, especially when that move is to a new country like Australia, to purge and get rid of all those items that you and the family have collected and stored.

There are three options – sell, donate, and throw those which aren’t worth retaining. Put things on Gumtree, which will not only help you get rid of unwanted stuff and the amount of stuff you need to pack, but will also bring in some handy extra dollars to help with the move. Head over to the Salvation Armyor Red Crossshops and donate the stuff that didn’t sell and is still in good enough condition to be usable. Again, you’re getting rid of clutter, reducing what needs to move with you, and donating to others who need it!

Ask for help

Don’t try to do it all alone. Reach out to your friends and family for help. The more heads and hands you have at your disposal, the faster and easier the moving work begins. It is worth asking for a quote and getting the assistance of a moving company who can help to minimize the stress by helping you deal with paperwork and processes. Ask someone to give you a ride to the airport, help with putting things on Gumtree, find someone to stay the last couple nights before you leave – each of these things will reduce the burden. Also have a plan B and people to help you if something goes off the rails.

Make time for yourself

It is so easy to get overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done that you forget to properly eat, sleep, or take care of yourself, especially in those last few weeks and days leading up to the move to Australia. This is a recipe for disaster – you are more likely to forget something important, or get sick, neither of which is a good scenario. Being at the top of your game, having mental resilience and staying on the course are important and necessary ways to minimize the stress of moving.

Be prepared to feel uprooted

If you’re moving to a new city or suburb, you might have moments of feeling lonely, out of place and homesick. The best ways to reduce these feelings is to work hard on making friends, join a sports team, community group or hobby group like a book club. It will get easier, and it won’t be long until will begin to feel like home.

By - Alina Maul