How to Make Moving with a Spouse Less Stressful

As one of life’s top stressors, moving can definitely bring out your worst. Maybe you’re grieving the life you’re leaving behind, the friends, the job, and the coffeeshop down the street where the baristas all knew your order. And then there’s the anxiety: the hustle and bustle of getting everything ready in time, crossing all your T’s and dotting your I’s before you hit the point of no return. All of this while you’re likely exhausted—moving is notoriously tough on your sleep and free time.

And when you move as a couple, you have all of that times two. Twice the jitters and twice the acting out. Plus, if you’re relocating for one person’s career, family obligations, or personal preference, moving homes can definitely cause a few squabbles between you two. While we can’t exactly be your couples therapist here, we can offer you some tips to help your move proceed as smoothly as possible—and protect your relationship in the process!

Make Lists and Share Them

One of you may be the Felix while the other is the Oscar. Unfortunately, a laissez-faire approach won’t get your joint record collection packed, so both of you will need to embrace your type-A side, at least for a little while. Specifically, you should work together on coming up with a shared to-do list—an online app like Wunderlist is great for this—and assign responsibilities for who will handle each task. Make sure the division of labor feels even. It’s not fair to ask one partner to pick up more of than their share of the work!

Pass Off Some of the Work to a Professional Moving Team

Moving two people’s belongings is a big job, to say the least, especially if you’re processing a lot of complicated emotions at the same time. If it suits your budget, it helps to divvy out some of the work to professionals—this will ease stress so that all of it isn’t pointed squarely back onto your relationship. For instance, we can handle the business of hauling your furniture and boxes, while a junk removal service such as our sister business Humpback Junk Removal takes care of the stuff you want to get rid of. In fact, if you’re pressed for time or need extra room, we offer additional packing and storage services to keep the whole process as stress-free as possible. You can even get help cleaning and running errands—services like Taskrabbit let you hire a hand for whatever small projects you need done, while a professional cleaning crew makes cleanup a cinch.

Talk to Your Spouse

I know, sounds obvious, right? But you have no idea how frequently a communication blunder or oversight triggers a massive fight between couples, when it could have been avoided altogether with a short conversation. If you find it difficult to discuss your feelings with others, there’s never been a better time than now to practice, so if you move brings up stress or tension, let your better half know. Just make sure you’re not using your spouse to vent your frustrations!

Resolve Conflicts Through Shared Sensitivity

If you’re just moving in together, congrats! You’re not only about to take advantage of some of the mutual benefits of cohabitation (hello, shared mortgage!), you get to see your sweetheart every day! But the downside? You’re probably both going to have to ditch some of your belongings to make room for everything you have. That can be a painful process—especially if you and your beloved don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on what items are “necessary.” Maybe she thinks your concert tee-shirt collection is madness, while you can’t understand why someone needs twelve different throw pillows. To handle conflicts over what goes and what comes with, it helps to come at it from your partner’s side of the room. Sure that baseball card collection may seem like junk to you, but we project a lot of our identity into our stuff. You should definitely choose your battles wisely here—and if it comes to it, hire a professional organizer who can give you a nonpartisan opinion.

Put a Positive Spin on Your Situation

We’ve focused a lot on the negative aspects of moving—how stressful and tiring it is—but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for even the most daunting relocations. Even if you’re less-than-thrilled about moving, the experience definitely offers an opportunity to deepen your relationship with your spouse. It’s likely that the two of you are feeling a lot of the same emotions: nervousness mixed with excitement about your new lives waiting beyond. It’s best not to fixate on how you differ in your responses to your move and instead find some common ground. Moving to a new home does not have to be a make-or-break moment for your relationship!

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