Tips For Adulthood: Five Upsides To Moving

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

So it looks like we’re moving again. Yes, I know that it’s only been two years. But our landlord passed away last year and her estate is now selling the entire building as a one- family home for a whopping sum of money that would make your head spin.

So we’re outta here…and soon.

I’ve mentioned before that for me, at least, moving is about as much fun as having someone stick a red poker in your eyeball. Or force you to slow dance to Wham!. In short: Pure hell.

One thing we’ve done right this time around is to begin the de-cluttering process early. For the last month or so, we have assiduously gone around the flat – room by room – and ruthlessly tackled every drawer, closet, box and bookshelf. Every weekend, I take our long out-of-use double bicycle stroller and make a pilgrimage, Fiddler On The Roof-style, to assorted homes, charities and libraries in the neighborhood to drop off a new of donations.

And just as the last time I did this, I discovered five ways to stay positive while you move, this time I’ve discovered an entirely new set of upsides to moving. Here they are:

1. You realize how little you need. Let’s face it. Most of us have way too much sh$%. So moving really is the perfect excuse to trim down to a lean, mean fighting weight. (I’ve been telling myself that my flat is now bulimic, purging at regular intervals. I know. It’s a terrible image. But so apt!) I’m quite keen on the whole tiny house movement, which argues that living small can be good both for our wallets and our carbon footprints. And since living large is not really an option for us here in London, we’ve embraced the idea of “small is beautiful” with open arms

2. You see how far you’ve come. Consistent with #1, one of the things you discover while de-cluttering are all the things you may have needed when you first moved somewhere, but no longer serve you anymore. In our case, as my husband was rifling through some box buried beneath the piano that I hadn’t even realized existed, he discovered an entire list of words that have a different meaning in British and American English. This was something he printed out nearly six years ago, just before our move to the U.K. I remember glancing at it at the time and thinking, “Really? They say diary to mean calendar and dummy for pacifier?” Now, I look at that list and note how many of the expressions are second nature, like saying that I am “called Delia” rather than “named Delia,” and that I’ll have you “round to ours,” rather than “I’ll have you over to our house.” And as I toss that sucker in the bin (whoops! there I go again!), I can feel a sense of satisfaction and pride.

3. You locate projects you really do want to tackle. But while one of the big joys of moving is learning that you don’t really need most of what you’ve stored away, occasionally you do come across something you really do value but had forgotten about entirely. In my case, that was books. While I’ve donated a ton of books to our local library during this move, I also found a few that I have always meant to read but never quite got around to, things like Alaa al Aswany’s The Yacoubian Building and Dawn Powell At Her Best. Something to look forward to on the other end!

4. You get your children involved. In keeping with my ongoing resolution to do less for my kids, I have enlisted both of their services in this move. Whereas in past moves, I would surreptitiously creep into my daughter’s bedroom at night and, Grinch-like, and steal all of the toys that I didn’t think she needed anymore, this time I asked her to do it. And it worked so much better. She was surprisingly open to giving up things that she doesn’t use any longer and even took pleasure in rearranging her “desk” (top of bedside table where she keeps her most prized possessions.) She also spent an entire afternoon sorting our “crayon drawer” into pens, pencils, and markers and then putting them in tidy piles which then went into a box. (Clearly she doesn’t take after me. Ahem.) But I felt like the entire process was beneficial for both her and me.

5. You let go of one thing you hate. Every house or apartment has one thing you hate about it. It might be the broken gate leading out to the garden. Or the poor reception you get on your cell phone in the living room. Or a faucet that is forever leaky. We actually like our current flat just fine. But it is located at the top of a small hill that is about five minutes away from cafes and shops. And every day when I come home on the school run, I find that just as I begin that small ascent up to our street, I’m ready to stop. In other words, we live about five minutes further than I’d like to, ideally. That’s not something to give a house up over. But given that I’m leaving anyway, I’ve decided to zero in on it as a motivator.

What about you? What upsides do you find in moving?

Image: Charlotte Moving Company Moving Simplified – Sofa Moving via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.




  • Reply Tamsin Hickson

    April 25, 2012, 8:44 pm

    I adore moving. I grew up moving, which makes staying put hard – I like your five points, I could add another twenty, but I daren’t in case the desire to move comes on too strong. Enjoy it!

  • Reply GingerR

    April 26, 2012, 12:08 am

    I’m not moving but we’ve been painting and re-doing our home of 15 years. It’s good to have a pressing reason to clear things out because it’s amazing how much junk you accumulate that you can live without!

  • Reply BigLittleWolf

    April 26, 2012, 2:44 am

    Oh – moving – ugh!

    I think the circumstances around moving make it more or less palatable. When you’re forced to move (divorce, job loss) – it’s wrenching. When you’re forced to move as you are (not your choice), it’s aggravating, but maybe – just maybe – it can become an adventure.

    I do love the fact that de-cluttering becomes a mandate when we’re moving. That’s a positive, though it’s a grueling process. There’s also excitement at the prospect of a new environment – a chance to switch things up, and benefit from the energies generated in any big change.

    The work sucks, of course… and the expense… but here’s hoping that you’ll find somewhere that suits all of you for this next stage in your lives. New memories to make! New spaces to stake!

    • Reply delialloyd

      April 26, 2012, 11:46 am

      @biglittlewolf-yes precisely. new vistas. new dry cleaners! new friends. I do look forward to all of that once I get the endless boxing up/boxing down out of my head. the decluttering really does help. I feel lighter already!

  • Reply Kathryn Pritchett

    April 26, 2012, 5:18 am


    I took a break from packing tonight to look over new posts in my Reader feed and was pleased to find this post. I’m sorry you have to move, but I was relieved to find that I’m not the only one purging and packing right now. I, too, hate moving. But I’m also finding a good deal of pleasure in tossing no-longer-necessary stuff.

    Tonight as I packed up my college age son’s room I relished reviewing his childhood interests and books. Much of what I touched will be gone before we move, but some things–including a couple of chapter books we read together when he was little–will go with us and I was grateful for the chance to relive some happy memories through these things tonight.

    Best of luck in the move.


    • Reply delialloyd

      April 26, 2012, 11:44 am

      Glad that it spoke to you, @Kathryn! I, too, found the most amazing stuff from my kids’ childhood today-most of it artwork- and while we can’t take it all with us, we did laminate and store the best of it. It does bring you right back, doesn’t it?

  • Reply Cecilia

    April 29, 2012, 1:29 pm

    Great post. I remember the last one you wrote when you were moving and am glad you are excited. I’ve always loved moving, maybe because my messiness had made every home intolerable to live in and so I was happy to escape. Our biggest move was from Japan to US, which really forced us to purge. But then it took less than 4 years to accumulate enough clutter to make me want to move again, lol. I’ll need to get inspired by your points about decluttering. I’m just overwhelmed and paralyzed. Good luck with your move!

  • Reply delialloyd

    April 29, 2012, 9:03 pm

    Thanks @cecilia! I love people who love moving. My husband really doesn’t seem to mind it either. (Thank goodness!) I think it might be time for you to move again….:)

  • Reply Cecilia

    May 2, 2012, 12:59 pm

    LOL! If only we had more money. So for now it means I will have to clean!!

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