Planning to Move
1. Before the move
Once the decision has been made to move, the planning should begin. With so many things to organise, even after preparing a range of checklists, it can be easy to run out of time and end up extremely stressed. In fact my motto is to allocate how long each task will take and then double or triple it.
The first step should be deciding how much you can realistically do on your own. Consider your current work, family and social commitments and don't forget to include some special celebration time to say good bye to work colleagues, friends, family and people you see regularly (including local shop keepers, sport/hobby friends etc).
See how much you can delegate by setting a budget, with some surplus funds to cover little extras. Remember that professionals in the field can often do things in half the time you can, so it may be worth paying for some assistance. Why not ask people you have helped in the past to help you? They will be pleased to be involved and this will give you some extra time with them before you leave.
Many parents awaiting the birth of their first child are more anxious about the actual delivery than the future life of the child. It is a bit the same with moving. It is easy to remain focused on having everything ready for the removalist. But have you started thinking about the resources or skills you will need at the new location?
2. What do you have to do?
Do you need to learn another language? Do you have suitable clothing for when you arrive? A stash of supplies you can't do without (like your favourite foods/vitamins/medicines that can be brought with you)? Have you received some cultural training or attended some courses on how to move with children? Can you extend your stay in temporary accommodation if you cannot find permanent accommodation? And do you have some back up plans and extra cash just in case 'worst comes to worst' and you can't find work, housing etc?
As well as thinking about your new location, have you thought about your old one? This may sound strange, but leaving can be a lot harder than you think. If you have not finalised all of your property, financial or other arrangements before you have left, can these matters be delegated to someone else? Have photocopies of all important documents and items in your wallet/purse just in case they go missing (and keep them in a separate location to where you are with a trusted friend or relative).
3. Do you need to set some boundaries?
Have you also set some boundaries for your new location? Quite often, in the first 12 months after an interstate or overseas move, friends and family from your old location will want to come and visit you (and possibly stay for lengthy periods). This can cause problems.
Firstly, it will mean that your new home routines are disrupted whilst the guests are staying and you may end up being the local 'tour guide' each time people arrive. Secondly, these regular visits mean that you are not always in a position to accept invitations from people in your new location. Quite often, if you decline the first invitation, you may not get another one. If you cannot attend at the time they suggest, see if you can make another time to enjoy each other's company in the near future.
If you don't do this, you may find that after 12 months of regular visitors, your 'first chances' will have been used up and people will assume that you are fully settled. Now that your old location friends and family know you are safe and well, they may be less likely to visit in the second 12 months. You could be left home alone waiting for the telephone to ring.
Encourage your potential guests to 'spread out' their visits and let them know that whilst they are in town, you may not be able to spend all of your time with them (if you receive an invitation). Alternatively, it may be appropriate to suggest that they stay in alternative accommodation either close by or in the city and then you can join them for special outings. That way they can have a holiday and you can still catch up. However, it may not be a good idea to suggest this option to close family and friends - they may be offended if you don't want them to stay.
4. Do you have time for a reconnaissance trip?
If you have an opportunity to complete a 'reconnaissance' trip before you move to a new location, this can help you recognise familiar sights when you arrive. This can be very comforting if the time before moving has been hectic. A good first impression on arrival day can make the world of difference. See if you can time it so that you and the people you are moving with will be 'at your best.' And if any extra assistance is available, make sure you use it. See if you can find someone to meet you at the airport or your new home when you arrive.
5. How do I stay in contact?
And last but not least, if you haven't already, make sure you have an email address that you can access anywhere in the world....like a Yahoo/Hotmail/Gmail one that will be easy to tell people and suitable for your new location (don't keep a .co.uk one if you are moving to an area like .com.au - people will still think that you are living in the United Kingdom). That way, even if people cannot contact you by phone, they can still get an email through to you. Create a listing of people you would like to stay in touch with so that when you are settled, you can email your new contact details directly to them.
Whilst there are various ways to keep in contact over the internet for free (Skype, instant messaging, social networks), if you are looking to make low cost international telephone calls, you can use an online phone card which is usually cheaper than using your standard landline or mobile/cell telephone service.
6. Final advice
If you find yourself at the last minute with too little time and too much to do, either call in some help or see which tasks you can either miss or complete later. Moving can be challenging because plans often change and delays disrupt schedules. Sometimes people just try and do too much. Trying to fit in tasks that you have put off for the last five years in the midst of moving is not a good idea.
However, if you have time to be reading this article, it suggests to me that you are half way there, gathering the appropriate strategies to prepare yourself for moving day and your new location. Well done - and all the best!
Finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed by a potential move or settling in, we would strongly recommend that you seek some professional assistance...do not battle on until problems start occurring. There are usually a range of confidential free and low cost services available in local communities or you can consult professional service providers on a fee for service basis. Are you planning to take better care of your furniture than yourself when moving?
7. Additional articles that may be of interest
Planning your move (this includes checklists, guides and useful information for all movers)
Plan your move (gives hints, tips and free e-card idea)
Advertisers on this Planning to Move page
In Melbourne, Sydney,