My husband recently accepted a position in Florida.  After having lived in the Los Angeles area for the last 20 years – raising children, building a life, deep friendships, a company – it wasn’t as easy to leave as I thought it was going to be.  But the thought of living on the beach, something that I’ve always desired, and the opportunities that surrounded the relocation, we welcomed the new adventure. Welcoming the move, and ignoring the anxiety of moving, are two different things.  My fabulous Italian Language Teacher – or ex-teacher, I sadly say – told me that in Italy, the land of many proverbs, they have a saying to some people that annoy them for you don’t want to wish them harm… you just say, “We wish you to move on a rainy day!”

Like if moving isn’t torturous enough!

When I first found out that yes, we were going to do this, other than grabbing a glass of wine, I realized I had to start DE-CLUTTERING.  I had always tossed out things here and there to make room for the new, but my Spring Cleaning is really dusting.  Maybe rearranging a few sweaters, washing a couple pair of sneakers, possibly cleaning out my china hutch or under the bathroom sinks.  Other than that, I really ignored over the years what needed to be cleaned out – drawers!  Starting in the kitchen.  I had kitchen cooking gadgets that I had no idea what they were! I’ve had friends that sold kitchen "helpers," so I guess I was thinking of them when I purchased these oddly shaped pieces of plastic, but they still left me dumbfounded.  But after learning I was moving, every time I opened a drawer, I would not shut it without saying, “What have I not used this year?”  or “What do I love and what do I like?”   

Next is, LOVE.  You see, with this move, I’ve realized something – I don’t want anything around me except the things that I love... really, really love.  I want things that make my heart sing a glorious melody.  I don’t want any substitutes because I don’t want a corner to be bare, or a cabinet empty.  LOVE everything in your life – around you, beside you, whether a shirt or a serving tray or a picture frame.  Let looking at it make you breath in joy, and exhale peace.  Just love it!

Next... RELEASE THE OLD.  I’ve had to take a good look at things I was keeping of my mother’s and her mother’s, maybe even her mother’s, and there were items that I had memories of them loving, but many were dilapidated, shredded, broken, or crumbly.  And I had to ask myself, “Is it time to let go?”  You see, memories we can take from one state to another.  From one side of the world to another.  Do we need to take up the space with non-fixable items that causes clutter in our lives? Would they really be upset with us to know that we discarded an old shredded book, or a hair net, or a razor, or a smelly bedspread, or stained dishtowels, or even a piece of furniture? No, I don’t think they would.  A friend once said that she had to ‘release’ her mother’s dining room table, her grandmother’s bed frame, and her grandfather's credenza, because she simply after decades of storing them – not using them, but storing them – that she had nowhere to put them in her new downsized condo. “The guilt with releasing family items makes you stay up all night, and the next night, and the next,” she sadly said.  They wouldn’t want us to feel guilty.  So, RELEASE if needed.

STAY ORGANIZE.  A spiral notebook with built-in folders will become your best asset during a move.  Every page for every phone call you must make to all gas and utility companies, phone, electric, and water companies, waste collections, landscapers, exterminators, insurance, moving, mortgage, and escrow companies, pet transporter, pet hotels, veterinarians, post office, doctor’s and opticians, DMV’s – take notes.  Lots and lots of notes with your new address being on the first page.   Don’t try remembering all you must do and all that you have done.  That notebook will become your best friend! Also, do not forget to take with you – in your possession, not in your menagerie of boxes – your Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, Marriage License, and Car Insurance and Title, (might as well keep your home insurance papers with you, as well) so you can apply for your driver’s license and tags.  Most states only allow a short amount of time before requiring such duty, forgetting the stress that you are under as you try to rummage through countless boxes to find these items.  If moving out of state, or out of country, keeping them with you will alleviate a lot of headaches.

KNOW THAT THE BOXES WILL BE THERE TOMORROW.   My youngest daughter, who came with us and transferred to a great, and local, university that offered her specialized degree, politely told me those words.  I am one that wants it all done yesterday.  And I will work from sunrise to almost the next sunrise to make it happen.  That’s not the case with moving, especially across country.  “You just got to take it in chunks,” as a friend suggested.  They both are right.  Take time to go to a local festival and meet the local people, or go on a Date-Night to a movie, or go to a popular Happy Hour! Just know that all is well, and it will be better than yesterday. 

If you have ANIMALS, please know that they, too, show signs of stress.  Our dogs and cats did.  Especially our cats.  So be sure to give them lots of extra love, and be patient.  Also, keep with you their shot records.

Last, know that saying goodbye to your friends, and especially your all-grown-up child is as hard as it sounds.  Excruciatingly hard.  My oldest daughter is recently married to a wonderful young man, she's on her career path, and doing great, but that didn’t make it any easier.  Regardless of their age they are always your babies.  BUT, thanks to modern day technology, it makes it a lot easier.  Not as good as a hug, but easier.

So, if you have to move, just stop and breath.  It is very overwhelming, you do not have to be unpacked and settled overnight, and your friends, and children, and family, will always be your friends, children, and family, regardless of where you live.

Love doesn’t disappear because of the miles between us – it widens the road.

--Debbie Caldwell