We’ll just get it right out there. Even if you’re totally stoked about where you’re moving, getting there is a major hassle
And that can make us lash out at the people we’re moving with. In fact, 31 percent of Americans who have moved in with a significant other, including 46 percent of millennials, have had some of their worst arguments as a couple while moving.
Before you decide you’re going to make one more move—to your own apartment without your partner—check out our advice for avoiding moving fights and thank us later.
1. Decide Who Does What.
“We’ve got it down to a science with a clear division of labor,” says Ali Wenzke, who has moved 10 times in 11 years and shares her stories on “The Art of Happy Moving.”
She declutters, sells unwanted furniture, packs most of the boxes and researches the costs of renting a truck or getting storage. Her husband gets the truck, organizes the cargo like a jigsaw puzzle and drives them to their new locale. He also deals with canceling services and setting them up in the new house.
Even if you both are planning to pack, it’s still wise to divide and conquer.
“Go through the house and just pick a room that you will pack, and the other person doesn’t even go in there,” says Robert Barnes, who sold his house so he and his wife could support their 11-year-old old son’s march across America for diabetes.
“Couples have different opinions and love to offer suggestions to be ‘helpful.’ It’s better to just focus on your own tasks,” Barnes said.
2. Plan Ahead.
Nothing is more stressful that realizing you have to be out in 48 hours, and you haven’t started packing. If you can, remove those last-minute headaches by starting to gradually pack at least a few weeks before the move, suggests Klaus Gonche, a Realtor with Century 21 Hansen Realty in South Florida.
“Start with non-essentials and clearly mark the boxes, to ease the unpacking,” said Gonche.
3. Refrain from Last Minute Purging.
Is this the time to get rid of your significant other’s beer can collection or harass your wife about the outgrown baby clothes she insists on keeping?
Probably not, says licensed clinical professional counselor Shlomo Slatkin.
“Making decisions on what to keep or purge can be a heated issue, so either move everything and decide what to purge later or do your sorting and purging well in advance.”
Or, take a cue from Barnes, who offered to buy new things to replace some items that his wife was attached to, but that weren’t worth moving.
“The time and cost savings offset each other,” he says.
4. Be Nice to Each Other.
“The whole process is typically hard on everyone and people react in various ways – they could become grumpy, anxious or argumentative,” says Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor in the Columbus, Ohio, area. “Look at your partner with empathy: He or she is likely just as stressed as you and isn’t purposefully trying to create trouble.”
For that reason, Bruce Cameron, a counselor in Dallas recommends only communicating factually, as it relates to the task of packing and moving.
“Save the feelings for later, when you’re not caught up in the stress,” Cameron said.
5. Set a Budget.
Moving is also usually expensive, which adds a layer of financial stress to the situation, says Kerri Moriarty, head of company development for Boston-based Cinch Financial, who has moved eight times in the last seven years.
She recommends planning a budget for the move and allocating savings to cover the expenses, which helps avoid freaking out over the last-minute expenses that are bound to pop up.
“If you have time before the planned move, focus on stashing away as much extra cash as you can to create a buffer for any unexpected costs that might pop up,” she recommends.
If possible, consider budgeting for a company that packs for you, suggests Cameron.
6. Keep The End in Mind.
You’re moving for a reason, and it’s typically a good one: a new job, upgrading homes or downsizing to create less upkeep, points out Bennett.
“Focus on the positives as you go through the drudgery of moving. It won’t take away the annoyance of packing boxes and loading trucks, but it will remind you that the temporary aggravation has a positive long-term purpose,” Bennett said.
7. Make It Fun.
Take time to have fun – turn packing into a contest, cook your favorite dish as your “last meal” or try out some restaurants in your new community, suggest Jenna Weinerman, marketing director at Updater.com, which makes software to streamline the moving process.
8. Take Comfort That Practice Makes Perfect.
Not that you want to go through moving again, but it might be comforting to know that it gets easier. In fact the aforementioned survey found that those who have moved three or fewer times were about twice as likely (49 percent) to admit to moving day fights than the 25 percent who had moved more than 3 times (25 percent).
9. Hands Off the Flat Pack Furnishings, For Now
We saved the best tip for last:
“Don’t build any IKEA furniture until you’ve been settled for at least a couple days,” says Moriarty.