A newsletter reader asked if I had any advice for the
‘overwhelming hassle of moving’
Moving homes is recognized as one of life’s most stressful events. When you have ADHD that stress can be amplified because it involves planning, decision making, multi-step processes, phone calls as well as boring tasks like packing a box!
It also creates a disruption in your regular routine, which can make your ADHD symptoms feel worse.
Here is an ADHD Friendly Checklist to help with your move. The aim is to make your move as painless as possible. You can add or delete items to personalize the list for your needs.
1) Start Decluttering
As soon as you know you are moving, start decluttering your belongings. There is no point in moving belongings you don’t like or need any more. Use the Marie Kondo method to help with this.
If your decluttering includes furniture, the fastest way I know to declutter furniture is to list it on Kijiji as ‘free to a good home’.
There are pluses and minuses to giving furniture away rather than selling it. You don’t make money; however, you do get items of furniture removed from you home quickly (typically on the same day as you post it).
2) When is Your Moving Date?
Sometimes your moving date is set by other people, other times you can pick it yourself. Get clear on when your exact moving day is (even if it feels scary). Once you have your date, you can plan, book and arrange everything else.
How are you moving your belongings? Are you using a professional moving company, hiring a truck to move yourself or asking friends to help? Whatever option you pick, make the booking now.
Start collecting boxes. You can never have too many boxes when you move!
Stores will often give you their spare boxes if you ask. Boxes that have transported wine are great because they are strong. Whenever you are in a store, ask a clerk, ‘Do you have any boxes to help me move?’
I love Bankers Boxes from the office supply store. They are strong so you can use them for heavy items, and, because of their size, it is hard to pack a box that is too heavy to lift.
Bankers Boxes are designed to transport hanging files, which is perfect if you have a filing cabinet. Usually 1 drawer of hanging files will fit in one box.
However, you can use them for everything, including books, plates and other kitchen items, ornaments and bathroom supplies.
Specialty Moving Boxes
Do a Google search to find a local store that sells moving supplies. They have boxes in all size ranges. Perhaps the best box they sell is a wardrobe box, which comes with a rail. After you have assembled it, you simply move your clothes that are on hangers from your wardrobe directly to the wardrobe box. No folding and no wrinkles. They are an investment, so once you get one, keep it for future moves.
5) Other Supplies
In addition to boxes, here are other moving essentials. You can get these from the office supply store or the moving store.
Tape in a Dispenser
Buying a tape dispenser might seem extravagant; however, it saves so much time. You never have to figure out where the end of the tape is again.
To wrap your very precious items
To label your boxes. Sharpies are awesome.
Great for wrapping your plates and other breakables. You could use newspaper; however, if you don’t get a newspaper delivered it can be hard to track down enough newspaper for your move.
As you are packing, (hopefully) you will be throwing out lots of things, which means having enough garbage bags on hand.
These are big like garbage bags, but you can see what is inside. They are good to use for items being donated to charity. Having bags that look very different avoids confusion about what goes where.
If you are sentimental, or like to keep records , take photos of your current home now, before you start packing.
Physically packing your belongings into boxes is the moving task that many ADHDers hate the most. It can be boring, overwhelming and exhausting. However, it doesn’t need to be.
Break the task down into small parts. Pick 1 room and use your timer to pack in 15 minute chunks. Listen to your favorite podcast or music for company. After completing 4 sessions of 15 minutes, take a 15 minute break.
Once a box is packed, write in big letters what room that the items are from. This is for the movers. Underneath that, write a word or 2 that will help you know where everything is (E.g.,KITCHEN. Coffee maker). Don’t write miscellaneous on a box!
Pack in Phases
Go into each room and pack the items that aren’t essential in your day to day life. For example, out of season clothes, holiday ornaments, pictures, etc.
Start with the big things first. This gives you a psychological advantage because your home will look different and a bit empty, which will make the move feel real and help to limit procrastination.
1 week before your moving date, go room by room and pack everything else.
8) Eat Up
Start eating the food items you have in stock, particularly your frozen food, which is difficult to transport safely. This can be fun, because it forces you to get creative and think how you can turn X into an interesting meal.
9) Post Office
Go to your post office and fill out a change of address/redirect form. There are usually serval options for how long you want the redirection to last. Take the longest option even though it is more expensive. This way, you have a safety net in place in case you forget to notify someone important.
10) Change of Address
Write a list of all the people to contact with your change of address. For example:
*Government for driver’s license and electoral poll etc
*Newspaper and magazine subscriptions
*Friends and family
Then start to notify these people:
Contact your home insurance company and tell them about your move so your policy can be updated with your new address. There might be a small variation in your insurance fee, either lower or higher.
Notify the utility companies of your move. Have them cancel the services on the day of your move and reconnected to your new home. Your utilities might include
13) Admin Details
If you are renting, give your landlord your notice. Also remind yourself of your lease requirements. For example, get holes in the wall filled, professionally cleaned etc.
Also find out what your new lease requirements are, for example, paying 2 month’s rent in advance.
Speak to your bank and or real estate agent to find out specific actions you need to do, such as signing contracts and payments. If you don’t understand something, don’t be shy to ask; these are professionals, and their job it is to help you.
Arrange a safe place for your pets on the day of the move, such as with a friend, neighbor or kennel. A client lost her cat the day of her move because the doors were open for the movers, and the curious cat escaped. They found each other 2 days later; however, it was a traumatic experience for both of them.
15) Payment for the Movers
How are you going to pay the movers, by cash or credit card? Make sure to have those handy. Or if your friends are helping, have money to pay for the pizza delivery.
16) Day of the Move
Moving day can be physically and emotionally demanding. Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Have an overnight bag with all your essentials, like medication, toothbrush, cell phone charger etc. This will be the last thing you pack and the first thing to unpack. Don’t plan on doing anything else besides moving! Take a day off from work, and say no to all other requests. Focus on you and your move.