1. DEVELOP A DECLUTTERING HABIT. Especially if it is likely that you may move within a year, turn a critical eye to your possessions – all of them. The goal is to get rid of things that you have not used in the past year. Dedicate a regular weekly or monthly block of time to go through cupboards, basement, garage, and closets - a little at a time. Actually get your hands on every item that you own. Ask yourself, “Keep and move?” or “Get rid of it?” Unwanted things can be separated out and relocated to a staging area with sections designated for friends and family, donations, throw away, yard sale and/or consignment. The less you have the easier it will be to pack and less expensive to move.
2. CONSIDER YOUR NEW PLACE. Is it smaller? Laid out differently? In a warmer or cooler climate? Does it have built-ins or not? Does it have a garage, garden, basement or attic? If any of these storage options are different from what you currently have then you need to plan accordingly. Where will your attic items go if the new place has no attic? If there is no basement in the new place, then anticipate where the “basement” storage will be located.
3. SELLING A HOME? Invite a few realtors in to get advice about renovations, decluttering, staging and overdo maintenance. They will know what is worth doing and what is not. It is never too early to get this advice. At the same time you will be “interviewing” realtors for the future sale.
4. START A PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOLDER for the eventual move. Even if you are dreaming as opposed to actively doing the moving process, it is extremely helpful to write down ideas. You will feel more in control the more you think about the process. This is a time to determine whether you will do the work yourself or hire professionals to do parts: packing, hauling stuff away, selling, decluttering, and repairs. Will you move or sell large pieces of furniture, large pieces of artwork, rugs, and appliances? Include a timeline for steps to be done: six months before moving day, two months before, one month before, and during the week prior.
No move is completely stress-free, but by preparing, anticipating and planning you will gain enough control over the process to reduce stress to a manageable level.