Moving house is of the most stressful experiences that anyone will ever go through.
But with over 275,000 UK households currently moving according to recent data, why is there no secret formula to help us get through it without tearing our hair out?
This Mental Health Awareness Week, London-based storage company Storage X asked experts across a range of industries to share their insights into why moving house is so difficult and what homeowners and renters can do to try and reduce the mental toll it takes on our wellbeing.
Why’s it so stressful to move home?
Where do you start? And when does it end?
If you’re moving home soon, you’ll likely have found yourself asking those questions regularly.
One of the primary triggers for stress when moving house is the sheer number of things you need to consider. You’ll be spinning plates like never before. And that can all become a bit much. You’ve also got to balance work, life, and family.
Here are the main stressors that you need to be aware of:
- Everything is in flux, and your usual comfort zone is thrown into chaos.
- Things outside your control will crop up, and you need to deal with them as and when they arise.
- Life still goes on. We still need to put the bins out, go to work, and take the kids to school, all while planning and organising to uproot our life and plant it elsewhere. It’s a big ask, but it’s something that we need to learn how to manage effectively.
- You may not fully understand what you need to do. You may be doing something for the first ever time (applying for a mortgage or moving with kids). It’s your job to find the advice you need, conduct your research, and ensure you have all the information you need before making big decisions.
To help you reduce the stress of moving home, Storage X have sourced top tips from a number of industry-leading experts.
From mortgage advisors to WiFi providers and home clearance experts, we’ve got tips from every angle to help you through every stage of the moving process.
Organise your home removal well in advance.
“Waiting until the last minute can lead to rushed decisions, limited availability, and added stress,” said Marcin Markiewicz, the owner, Removal & Storage Experts.
Figuring out how to physically get your items from A to B during a move can be one of the biggest stress triggers when moving home. You want everything to run like a well-oiled machine, but when things are out of your control, it’s hard to guarantee that.
Marcin from Removal & Storage Experts, a removals and storage company based in London, believes it’s incredibly important to get your removal booked as early as possible to avoid disappointment and stress further down the line.
He added: “If possible, book your removal as soon as you’re given a completion date. This allows you to get yourself booked in early, ticking a huge task off of your lengthy to-do list.”
Create a realistic budget and give yourself some breathing room.
“Be sure to leave some wiggle room for unexpected expenses,” said Mortgage Advice Bureau.
The Mortgage Advice Bureau is the UK’s leading mortgage intermediary, providing homeowners with advice, guidance, and support throughout the mortgage arrangement process.
According to the Mortgage Advice Bureau, “One of the most significant contributors to stress when moving is securing a mortgage and the fear that you won’t be approved for one.”.
Their spokesperson then went on to say, “Lenders take a variety of things into account when moving through the approval process, and this can be daunting.” However, with help on hand, it doesn’t have to be a troublesome experience.
Another common stressor of moving is money. The purchase price of the property and the associated fees can be stressful to think about.
Examples of these fees include:
- Legal fees
- Stamp duty
- Moving costs
- Council tax
- Utility bills
- Early repayment charges on your mortgage
On this topic, the Mortgage Advice Bureau suggests: “Make a detailed list of what you know you’ll have to pay and be sure to leave some wiggle room for unexpected expenses. A budget will help you determine how much you can afford and identify any areas where you may need to cut back.”
To round things off, the team at the MAB have solidified one of the running themes found throughout all of the expert comments: organisation is key.
“Keep track of all your paperwork and documentation to avoid delays, be sure you’re sticking to your budget, and always ensure that you’re staying on top of your mortgage payments.”
Make a comprehensive list of tasks that need completing
“List everything you own, from the bed to the number of spoons,” said Jorge Santos of Fantastic Cleaners.
Fantastic Services‘ Jorge Santos has some excellent advice concerning the most common stressors relating to house cleaning and preparation when moving house.
“The lack of knowledge about where to start and what exactly needs to be done is perhaps the most common stressor. Moving out is an extremely stressful experience. It is not only cleaning or packing but also a lot of paperwork for two properties, huge changes and more.
The number of tasks and the required standard often stress out people. Among that, many are worried their budget will not be enough for a successful move. Understandably, this often leads to deposit loss due to underperformed end-of-tenancy cleaning or losing some of their belongings during the move for various reasons.
The Fantastic Services EOT operations director goes on to give a few lesser-known tips to help reduce the stress of moving that readers may not have already been aware of.
Jorge said, “As simple as it may sound, make a list. So many people do not do this, and it is so helpful. You can list even the smallest things, like brushing your teeth on the day of the move.”
Jorge continued: “List everything you own, from the bed to the number of spoons. Not only will you not lose or forget anything, but you will see how you can group them and pack smarter. For instance, you can gather your spoons, knives and forks with hairbands and wrap them in hand towels.”
Finally, Jorge offers some insights into how you can tackle cleaning the property before moving out.
He stated: “Regarding cleaning, think of everything you clean regularly. List these last. Then think about all the places that are hard to reach, like on top of the wardrobe or under the couch.”
For best results, Santos suggests that you start from those tough-to-reach places and then work towards the obvious hotspots that you may have forgotten about, such as door handles and light switches.
Take this opportunity to find a better mortgage deal
“Moving home is a great opportunity to look around for a better mortgage deal,” said Nicholas Mendes of John Charcol.
Storage X contacted Nicholas Mendes, a Mortgage Technical Manager with John Charcol, for advice on mortgages when moving home.
Nicholas has provided a few pointers for homeowners looking to protect themselves during their move or to find a little more value for money in their next mortgage agreement.
Mendes kicks things off by suggesting that the first thing that homeowners should do is get their broker to talk to their existing mortgage lender.
He states, “It’s a good idea to involve your mortgage broker when you’re first thinking about moving. They’ll be able to review your options, whether this is reviewing terms with your existing lender or looking at an alternative lender to ensure the best plan of action.”
He continues, “Most mortgages are portable, meaning that you can ’drag and drop’ the mortgage to the home you want to move to.”
The next tip that Mendes offers is in relation to ERCs, otherwise known as early repayment charges.
“Moving home is a great opportunity to look around for a better mortgage deal, and if you’ve built up equity in your property since you originally bought it, you may be able to get a better rate and reduce your monthly repayments,” he states.
“You should start by checking whether there are any penalties to pay on your existing home loan. A mortgage broker will be able to help you do this, and they’ll look at fees and additional interest charges you’ll have to pay.”
#5 Make sure your furniture fits BEFORE moving day!
“Plot out the furniture dimensions on the new floors using masking tape,” said Katherine Blackler of SortMySpace.
Katherine, a certified professional organiser at SortMySpace, a professional organising, decluttering, and interior redesign company, has identified two common stressors for people who are moving and their top tips for combatting them.
Stressor 1: Furniture not fitting the new room or accessways
Katherine said: “Measure the items you want to take with you. If you can get access pre-move, plot out the furniture dimensions on the new floors using masking tape and walk around the new rooms to see if you have enough space.”
She continued: “Check if the hallways and doorways will accommodate your large sofa or king-size bed, or whether it needs dismantling to get it through door frames.”
Stressor 2: Intimidating piles of cardboard boxes left after the movers have gone
Katherine suggested: “Label your boxes clearly, including the destination room in your new home (not where they came from).
“Put up signs above doorways in the new home to show the moving team which room is which, for example, “Ryan’s bedroom” or “Amina’s office”, so you can easily direct them on the day to drop in the right zone.”
Be brutal and get rid of what you don’t need
“This is the time you get to completely curate what goes to your new home,” said Chrissy Halton of Organise My House.
When you move house, it’s the only time in your life that you absolutely have to touch each and every single item you own. Chrissy Halton, an expert from Organise My House, has given her thoughts on how this can impact one’s mental health:
“This is quite confronting, as you can literally see everything laid out. All the good and bad, and you’ll be feeling all those emotions, which is tiring to say the least and something we’d rather steer clear of, right?”
But, instead of looking at decluttering with dread because it’s hard work, stressful and draining, why not see it as an opportunity?
“Think about it this way – this is the time you get to completely curate what goes to your new home”, continues Halton. “You’re the gatekeeper to how you want to live in that space, and that’s exciting!”
If you just can’t let go, place your precious items into storage
“Choose a reputable storage facility that offers secure and climate-controlled units,” said Patryk Panczuk, manager at Storage X .
Although moving home can be a great chance to clear out some unwanted items, sometimes it’s just too hard to let go.
From your beloved record collection to priceless family heirlooms, some things are just part of the fabric of what makes your home… home.
We asked Patryk Panczuk, Manager at Storage X, his tips on keeping valuable items safe and secure during a move.
Patryk said: “If you need to store some of your belongings during the move, make sure to choose a reputable storage facility that offers secure and climate-controlled units. Research the options in your area and read reviews from previous customers to ensure you select a reliable provider.”
Research the best local broadband providers and find the right deal for your household
“Make sure you do your research and select the right package to fit your household needs,” said Graeme Oxby of Community Fibre.
Exploring broadband packages and deciding which provider is best for a home you haven’t yet lived in can be a common stressor.
Graeme Oxby, CEO of Community Fibre, said: ” When choosing a broadband provider for your new home, make sure you do your research and select the right package to fit your household needs, such as considering how many rooms you have in your house to how many people will be using your WiFi.”
Community Fibre’s top tips for finding the perfect broadband deal for your new home are:
- When choosing a broadband deal, check what speeds you can expect to receive at your new home. You can use a mobile application like Speedtest by Ookla to find your home’s broadband speeds.
- WiFi speed is always slower than the advertised wired speed of your package, so be sure to overestimate your needs!
- Remember to look out for the difference in your download and upload speed. A fast and reliable connection should give you symmetrical download and upload speeds. If you find that your speeds aren’t what you were offered, contact your provider to discuss potential troubleshooting tips.
- Today’s devices require fast, stable broadband; however, copper and standard fibre connections simply aren’t built for such high capacity and often slow down your internet.
- Check if 100% full fibre is readily available before choosing a new broadband package, as this will provide the fastest and most stable broadband speeds.
Remember, looking after yourself is a priority when moving home
Moving home can be a stressful experience for many people, but there are ways to reduce anxiety and make the process smoother.
As we’ve heard from various experts in this article, taking steps such as planning ahead, staying organised, and seeking support can all help to ease the stress of moving.
If you find yourself needing some additional support to manage stress during the moving process, here are a few valuable resources that you can utilise:
By being proactive and mindful of our well-being during this transitional period, we can make the move to our new home a more positive and empowering experience.
As we mark Mental Health Awareness Week, let’s take these insights to heart and prioritise our mental and emotional health during the moving process and beyond.