Like anything else, it’s all in your attitude.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated: May 08, 2019
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Only a crazy person would call moving a fun experience—the abundance of moving tips, lists, guides, and complaints out there prove that moving can be incredibly stressful, whether it’s a move across town or across the country. Reading and re-reading a trusty moving checklist and tracking down where to buy moving boxes can help mitigate some of that stress, but there’s also a simple trick to turning a move into a wholly positive thing—and it doesn’t require purchasing a single thing.

Ali Wenzke, author of the new book The Art of Happy Moving: How to Declutter, Pack, and Start Over While Maintaining Your Sanity and Finding Happiness (To buy: $14; amazon.com) and a blog of the same name, moved ten times in eleven years to locales across the country. If anyone knows moving tips for lower-stress transitions, it’s her, and her comprehensive guide to managing the moving process includes everything from moving tips and checklists to suggestions for making friends in new cities.

Believe it or not, Wenzke believes moving can actually be a positive experience—it just takes the right perspective and some good intentions.

“A part of happy moving is focusing on the positives more than the negatives,” she says. “There are going to be a lot of great moments. Yes, there are stressful times, but this is an opportunity to have a fresh start in life.”

Appreciating a move as a fresh start is, in Wenzke’s experience, the secret to making the whole experience ultimately joyful. There are always pitfalls and roadblocks—like the unexpected cost of selling a house, a snafu with the movers, or missing the window for the best time to sell a house—but the right attitude can help all those bumps along the way feel like part of the process instead of large-scale tragedies.

“It’s an exciting time,” Wenzke says. “You can make changes you want to make and start over. You don’t get that many opportunities in life to get a fresh start, and I want people to take advantage of it when they do have one when they’re making a move.”

Moving to a new home in a different part of town may not feel like the same sort of fresh start as moving to a whole new city, but Wenzke says any disruption to your (and your family’s) day-to-day routine is an opportunity to make lasting changes.

“Even moving somewhere locally, you have this opportunity to bring in new, good routines or even break some bad habits because you’re out of that cycle,” Wenzke says. “Having that move is the perfect time to make the changes you want to make, whether it’s in your home, your relationships, or your own self-improvement. I definitely think people should take advantage of that opportunity.”

Moving, like the start of a new year, is a great time to make resolutions. Maybe you want to keep your home clutter-free; maybe you want to get into a habit of walking for an hour every morning. Whatever your goal is, keeping it in mind while you’re packing up and settling into your new space can make it a reality.

The new house will provide a new environment where you can try new things and succeed in sticking to them or even promise to not fall into old bad habits. In a new environment, whatever was holding you back before might be gone, leaving you free to make lasting changes in your life. What better happy ending to a stressful move could you ask for?

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