What I Would Tell My Friend

If I had a friend who was undertaking an interstate move with one teen and four pets after almost 20 years in the same house, I would tell her congratulations on the new house!

And also that I would miss her very much.

I would remind her that moving is a really big deal–that even when you move across town to a bigger place, it’s tough to sort and prioritize and pack and think about where everything goes.

And it’s time-consuming. She’s probably forgotten how much time it takes to sort, pack, and purge. And she had far fewer things to sort, pack, and purge twenty years and two kids ago. She might need a reminder about that.

I would probably mention to her that while I know she really wants to purge all the non-essentials before she moves, some of those non-essentials will likely come along, and that’s okay. They have dumpsters in other states, too.

She might mention that it’s all pretty overwhelming, and she’s finding it hard to meet her goals in the midst of moving.

I would remind her that buying this new house and movingย are some goals she set for the year, so she is accomplishing them by enduring the process.

I might also say to her that if all she does at work for a couple of weeks is damage control–the things that must be done–everything will be okay. There is time to catch up later.

Especially on her pet projects. Those will wait. They are not going anywhere. They are in the cloud.

When she is feeling a little sentimental and sad about leaving a house and a child behind, I would give her a hug and tell her it’s okay to be conflicted about such a major move. It’s all right to look forward to the new adventure and feel misty-eyed about what is behind.

And if she were a very good friend, I might remind her of Edna Mode:


I would probably also tell her that no matter what she does during the last couple of weeks in her house, the house is going to be a disaster. It just is. Any time that she may have normally used to clean (and admittedly, if she’s my friend, she’s probably not much for cleaning) is going to be used for the aforementioned sorting, packing, and purging and not so much for scrubbing toilets.

This is how it is during a move.

In addition to the dog hair, dirty dishes, and toilet rings, she will probably find herself staring at tape fragments, cardboard box dust, piles “to be sorted later,” piles for the landfill, piles for Goodwill, and piles for miscellaneous other places, like paint recycling and e-recycling and bottle recycling and all the recycling.

She will not be able to find scissors, tape, Sharpies, or her Leatherman. She should accept defeat now and not waste time looking for them. When the student is ready, those things will appear, magically, probably right where she left them.

Also, I might mention that she should buy another box of Band-Aids, because I know how she is with pocket knives.

I will remind her that self-care is important, but that if she does not get out for exercise even one time during the throes of moving, it is okay. She can lose weight later. This period is no different than being sick or injured or on vacation. There are seasons when exercise cannot be top priority, and that is okay.

I might suggest to her that she have a couple of bottles of wine on hand, too. And some chocolate.

And I might remind her that it’s okay to eat out a lot, especially since a lot of people might want to see her before she goes.

I would tell her that even if she thinks people won’t miss her, they will. She is both more and less important than she believes. She has friends and family who love her, and they will want to visit and want her to visit them.

She should also remember, though, that people talk a lot about things they will do someday, and a lot of those things don’t happen, so maybe she doesn’t need to stress too much about having friends visit every weekend.

Most of all, I would tell her that things are going to be okay. Moving is hard. There’s a reason that it’s listed as one of the biggest stressors a person will experience. I would remind her that even though she wants to be strong and do everything, she’s only human. She’s going to be stressed out, and that’s okay.

I would tell her it’s okay to laugh and be excited and enjoy the process. And I would tell her it’s okay to cry, too.

It’s easy to be kind to my friends–much harder to be kind to myself. But if I think of myself as a friend, maybe I can make it a little easier.

What would you tell my friend who is moving?


4 thoughts on “What I Would Tell My Friend”

  1. Appreciate your post above!!!!

    1 – Don’t put stuff in a storage unit… you will effectively never use it again and the cost of the storage unit will quickly outweigh the ‘savings’ of keeping whatever item it was… (a friend of mine once moved but put a bunch of furniture in storage, for ‘when he could bring it down’)… 10 years later, and $99/mo x 120 months… He opened the storage unit and declared… OMG!! I would NEVER use that hunter green leather couch in my house now!?!) … that was a lot of new couches he could have purchased… Sell, give away, redistribute, donate, trash… just do it… You will thank yourself later!

    2 – We just moved into a new house after 8 years in the old one (+3 kids and a dog)…. We gave away 75% of our stuff to anyone who would take it… it was a seriously cleansing experience and yes, I have wished I had kept 1 or 2 things (a flower vase!) but nothing that couldn’t be replaced if need be. Of course, we were FORTUNATE to be able to do that and happy to not replace much of it at all!

    3 – Give every kid (and parent) a fairly decent sized rubbermaid storage box into which they put all of life’s trinkets and memories (I call them ‘memory boxes’) that they don’t NEED but can’t get rid of as they are a fundamental part of them (ie: my baby girl’s bunny slippers from when she was 6 months old…). We each have 1 and surprisingly none of them are ‘full’ but it was very liberating to know you had 1 safe, resealable, waterproof box that was all yours to put in whatever you wanted and it will always be there (or, in our case, in the garage…)

    4 – If you can, really sort out your storage solutions (shelving / slatwalls / hooks / baskets / storage boxes etc…) in your garage/attic to really work for you!! We went from a 2 car garage stuffed to the gunnels with Cr*P! to a lot of the same stuff (and more now that we have bikes and scooters, and soccer balls and camping gear….) but we accounted for all that in our garage storage design and happily our new 2 car garage (no bigger) can actually house a car and still has room for a ‘play’ area for aforementioned kiddo…

    Sorry, your Blog was very emotional and sentimental (and very right – that is why moving is listed as one of the top most stressful experiences in your life!), and my offerings are functional and practical… but there you go! Good Luck Amy!! It’ll all be fine as long as you end up in the new place with all the people and pets who were supposed to arrive there with you! That’s really the most important thing! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. You are right about the important things, Kati, and I appreciate your advice! We’re already doing basically everything you suggest, so I appreciate the confirmation that we’re doing good things. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Ah, but what would you tell yourself, as you do this thing?
    As one who contemplated such a move before the real-estate market made it a folly, your advice is spot on!
    All the best from a dedicated reader. I hope your recovery from the fall is complete, even though it may not have been as fast as you hoped.
    Quarantine safe (still) hugs!

    1. The eye is mostly healed… Scabs and bruises are fading… My daughter is working as a CNA in a care facility this summer and told me to be careful to not end up one of her patients, lol. Geez, don’t rush me, kid. ๐Ÿ˜›

      I am working on reminding myself of the important things… It’s hard to be kind to myself and say the things I would say to a friend. This is a growth opportunity for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

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