Monday, January 20, 2014

7 Steps to a Finished Move

Earlier this month, I shared that we're going to be moving soon - from our home in the Netherlands back to the US. This will be my 21st move since I graduated from college ("university" for my Euro friends - love you all!).

Yep, you read that right. 21 moves.

2 .... 1.... moves ....

When most people learn that about me, they almost always immediately ask some version of the same three questions:
1. why in the world would you move that much?
2. aren't you exhausted?
3. you must be a box-packing pro, huh?

Easy answer to the last one - "um, no." You'd think practice would make perfect, but um. Yeah, still "no" :)

Answers to the first two - I've moved this much due to career choices - first, for my own career, then for my boyfriend/fiance/husband's. And, no, I'm not exhausted. Maybe, if we keep doing this in perpetuity, but for now, I'm ok.

And I'm ok, because over the years and across the miles, I've developed a bit of a process. As I've shared it with other movers over time, it developed into a 7-step plan and every step starts with "p."

In the coming weeks, I'll expand on each "p" in the series. I'll share links I find to be really helpful, printables I use and books about moving that have assisted me make transitions over the years.

To finish a move, I ....

Pray 
about the move, about my attitude toward the move and all the details that go into moving

Prepare 
myself, my heart, my husband, my kids, my friends here, my extended family

Print 
moving checklists, packing lists, bon voyage party invitations - my printer is on overdrive during the moving process! 

Pack 
I do pack a few things myself and make sure I hire good movers to do the rest 

Plan 
oh boy, do I plan! 

Process 
every move requires the closing of one door and the opening of some wonderful windows - I take time to process my emotions, grieve if I need to and carefully help my kiddos and husband do the same, in their own way 

Praise 
as we begin life post-move, I praise God for His blessings in our lives, for new opportunities and for warm memories 

And in those first few weeks post-move, I circle right back up and repeat my first step - with lots of prayers for our new home.

Now, an important caveat to everything you just read - this is what I do to finish my moves. Note that I didn't say "7 steps to an easy move." Or "7 steps to an organized move." Or even "7 steps to a happy move." All for a very important reason - in my experience, moves aren't easy, organized, or even particularly happy. Even when they're for good, exciting and awesome opportunities, most moves will have one (or more) circumstances pop up that try my patience or add a few more grey hairs to my 32-year-old head.

But, while moves are rarely easy, they do always have a finish. Regardless of what happens in between the time I turn in one set of keys and pick up a new one, eventually, my moves do end. And a new chapter in life begins!

My hope in sharing my thoughts in the coming weeks is that I'll be able to help others who are moving look at their processes a little differently - and find the "p"ositives in all moving "p"rocesses :)

Reader question: have you moved recently? What resources or advice would you share with other moving women? 

16 comments:

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    1. Hi Toni! I'm totally terrified of buying a home! I told my husband that I'm not signing my name on any dotted lines until he can be 90% sure we'll be there for at least 5 years :) So, we're stuck in renter land for the foreseeable future! I tried that FB group URL - but got an error message. I love that idea though, so if you have another link, I'd be happy to try it!

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  2. Hey, I'm from your SITS tribe! I love your voice and I can't imagine having moved that many times! I'm not a mover if I can avoid it. Your 7 steps sound like a ton of work. Wouldn't want to do that 21 times! I haven't moved in 8 years, so the only sound advice I can give is the one I use for packing for travel - always roll your clothes! They take less room and they don't wrinkle. :)

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    1. That's great advice Bolton!! We're going to be living out of suitcases for a while as we move back from Europe, so I'm going to give that a try :)

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  3. Hello, I'm for the SITS tribe. I have probably moved on average every three years. Some moves were easier than others. I like your thoughts on processing the move. It can be emotionally hard to leave some places. Right now we are praying/thinking about moving to a bigger house. We moved to our house with three children and now have eight. As much as I look forward to an extra bedroom, I love our house and know I'll have to work through letting it go. Thanks for this article. I look forward to reading the expanded articles.

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    1. Hi, Jennifer! Excited that we're in the same SITS tribe this week - looking forward to getting to know you! I love your site - and you're such an inspiration - I love how you seem to be able to meaningful connect with all of your kiddos!

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  4. Yes! I've moved a lot. I can so relate. Your approach is brilliant. Looking forward to you expounding on each "P".
    My approach with 5 children is to breathe and keep as calm as I possibly can. I prepare myself for the stress, the strain, the downs of feeling unsettled. Our last move went well up until the last day and everything fell a part. It wasn't pleasant but we recouped. Life goes on.

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  5. Hi there, I'm Jen from your SITS Tribe. I can relate to moving....but wow 21 moves, that's allot lol I haven't moved that much! I absolutely love your 7 step plan, what a great idea.

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    1. Thanks Jen! Hahaha - yes, it's a ton! Way too much, but it's been a blessing as well to see so much of the world :)

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  6. We are in the same SITS tribe! Boy- I thought we had moved a lot- but 21....that is really a lot of moves :) I love your list of "P's" and find them to be really insightful and spot on. So much of moving is emotional and mental stress and anxiety and its great to have such a realistic perspective about the things that are most important. I found that keeping a specific scripture in front of me that I could look at when things got hairy was by favorite coping tool.

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    1. That's a great idea Meggie! I actually have a list of Scriptures to go with each P - and this is a wonderful reminder to make sure I list them in my future posts :)

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  7. Hi Christa! Stopping by from our SITS tribe! I envy all of your moving. It sounds like you've taken risks and leaps of faith to follow the path laid out for you. I've handled myself with a little more trepidation, but dream to bust out of my comfort zone! I would love to get the chance to live overseas for a while! Best wishes on your move! -Lani

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    1. Thanks Lani! Risks and leaps for sure - you can do it, girl! Close your eyes, hold your breath - and just jump :) Hugs from Holland!

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  8. I've moved around quite a bit too! 17 times before I was 20 and 13 times since I moved out of my parents house! Thats a lot of moving and its never been "fun", exciting, but never fun! Planning is definitely a big part of moving successfully!

    So glad to be part of your SITS tribe! Can't wait to connect further!

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    1. I'm excited we're in the same group too Jennifer! I completely agree with you - never "fun!" Hahaha ... I'm having one of those "not fun" detail days - trying to get everything organized. Blerg...

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