By Relocation.com Staff
Any big life event is slightly scary, whether you're getting married, having a child, changing jobs, or retiring.
However, few life events seem to compare to the stress that people feel about moving. Our research bears that out. When we asked a sampling of people who moved recently about their level of anxiety of when it came to moving, a whopping 52 percent said it was high -- of that figure, half said it was 'very high.' Only 19 percent said their anxiety was low.
Let's take a look at the likely sources of anxiety -- and the ways you can feel better about them.
1. Fear of being ripped off
Let's face it, this is number one for a reason. We've all heard stories about rogue moving companies that try to jack up the price they quoted you after they get your belongings, and then hold them hostage until you pay.
That has happened and does happen, but it's the minority of moves, and there are several straight-forward ways you can protect yourself that don't require you hiring a detective to sort out the bad guys.
1. Don't take a quote over the phone or the Internet -- if the movers can't see your stuff, how in the world can you expect to get a legitimate quote?
2. Make sure you're dealing with the moving company and not a broker who just sells your business to a moving company you know nothing about -- and probably has little interest in whether you ultimately have a good experience.
3. Get at least three in-home assessments from moving companies. This alone will help you weed out the scumbag movers. However, if you get a very low-ball quote, steer clear -- there's a good chance the mover is giving you a low quote just to get your business with the intention of jacking up the quote later.
4. Check out the movers with the Better Business Bureau, your state's authority of moving to be sure that they're licensed (if they're not, avoid them like the plague), and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's website, www.safersys.org. This article explains what to look for. And this article can give you further tips on getting a trustworthy moving company. Finally, this article explains moving companies' hidden charges.
2. Fear of getting it all done
This one's easy (at least in theory): Have a plan, and do bits and pieces of the planning process according to a strict timeline.
For starters, set aside a room as "packing central" -- keep your boxes, packing materials, and any correspondence with the mover there. And then set a plan for packing the rooms.
We won't lie -- there's a TON of stuff to do when you move, but if you map it out in simple, easy-to-take steps, you'll be surprised how much easier it is. These guides can help. (The move day itself is addressed separately further down in this article.)
3. Fear of stuff getting damaged
We have several articles on packing fragile items for the move. But you know what? If you're really scared, just plan to carry it with you in the car -- why fret about something that you can control? If it's a large object, try to move it to the new place BEFORE you move. Or maybe you'd feel safer shipping it out yourself via FedEx or UPS. If you really must have the movers pack it, tell them it's valuable to you, and ask them to be extra careful.
And if you're still worried, check out your options for moving insurance -- or read up on the claims process so that you have an idea of how the process works if something's damaged. Knowledge is power.
4. Fear of fitting in
If you can, take a trip to your new hometown. Let the kids see the new house; you can check out some of the sights -- landmarks, the restaurants and bar scene, the local churches and the local parks. Visualize yourself there, and start getting excited about what a new life can mean to you. Here's an article on how you can see your move as a positive experience.
5. Fear that my kids will hate me for moving them
They might, and that's normal. One of the best pieces of advice is to include them in the process. Of course, you don't want the kids picking the moving company, but they can weigh in on which neighborhood they'll live in, or the type of new home they favor. Beyond that, have weekly updates on getting ready for moving -- it will help you keep on track, and will help them stay apprised of your progress. Here are some other tips on easing the transition.
6. Fear of getting everything changed over to the new home
This has actually gotten a lot easier -- you can change your address, sign up for utilities, get a new driver's license, and change auto and homeowners policy -- all on the Internet. If it makes it any easier, set aside a few hours one weekend to do JUST this task -- and hold your nose and get it done! This article explains ways to switch out your Internet, phone, and utilities.
7. Fear of moving day
Moving day can be downright exhausting. So get an idea of what expect. This article takes you through your move day chronogically -- what you know can't scare you THAT much. And a final move-day checklist to make sure you're completely set.
Remember that scene from "Parenthood" where Steve Martin is getting overwhelmed by all the drama in his life -- until he visualizes his life as a wild roller coaster, the up's more exciting because the downs are so frightening?
Moving can also be a roller coaster. But just remember that the end of the ride you'll be smiling, because you'll be living in a great new home and starting a great new life!