Yes, moving is a huge undertaking and it can be incredibly stressful, but think about it: what does moving require you to do? It requires you to actually look at the things you own. It forces you to think objectively about your finances. It forces you to think about the way you really want to live. It forces you to look at life from a literally brand new perspective. Let’s break this down a little further.
Looking at What You Own
In her amazing book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin begins her year-long project by going through her home and getting rid of everything she doesn’t need and then better organizing what’s left over so that she doesn’t fall back into old habits of just letting everything pile up. What’s the first step in moving? It’s going through everything you own and deciding what to keep and what to toss. You have to do this first so that you know how many boxes you need, whether you’ll need to hire a team of professional movers, hire independent help via a moving service app like Pikkup, or if you can talk your friends into schlepping a few boxes.
Sorting through your belongings requires that you literally hold every single item you own in your hands, that you look at it, and that you decide how much it means to you. This year (and this move) here is a good rule of thumb: if it doesn’t have huge amounts of sentimental value and you haven’t used it in the last six months (holiday decor being the exception), donate it. You’ll pare down what you own to just the things you love the most and actually use and you’ll help other needy families in the process.
Thinking About Your Finances
When you move, you’re forced to think about what you can afford based on your current income and what you can’t. This is especially true for renters whose apartment approval will depend on their income-to-rent ratio. You also have to think about what your utilities will cost. Compare these numbers to what you have coming in. Can you really afford where you’re living now? If your budget is stretched thin by just your basic fixed costs (rent, utilities, food) it might be time to downsize to a smaller and more affordable home.
Living in a smaller or more efficient home will save you money on everything from rent and utilities to how much you spend decorating and furnishing the new apartment. It could also be the wake-up call you need to ask for that raise you’ve been wanting or to finally leave the less-than-satisfying job you have now for something better.
Thinking About How You Really Want to Live
What kind of life do you want to have? Do you want to be someone who lives green? Who cooks and entertains at home? Someone who spends most evenings out and about? Do you want to have pets? Do you want to live alone or with roommates/significant others? All of these decisions come into play when you move into a new home. Moving is what could change your life from someone who is stuck in traffic for an hour every day to someone who walks to work. It is what could change you from being kind of a hermit into someone who is more social (or calm down a too-active lifestyle). When you search for a new home you have to think about how you want to live so that you can find the apartment that will fit those needs in a way your current home doesn’t.
Forcing a Brand New Perspective
When you are in a new environment, you’re forced to look at your habits and how they shape your life. You’re forced to figure out what’s important to you and what isn’t. And, when you are in a new environment you are literally looking at your whole life from a different space and angle. It can help you find some of the stark clarity that you might have had trouble finding in your old space, where you had gotten used to the status quo.
If you really want to reorganize and rebuild your life into something better this year, moving—as stressful as it is—could be exactly what you need to do to make sure your new resolutions stick!