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How to Stay Sane During a Move

If there is anything that rattles me to my core it’s moving. Relationships are challenging enough and throw a crazy move into the mix and everyone’s issues start to bubble to the surface. It’s well known that moving is one of the most stressful situations you can experience even if you’re moving into your dream house. We thrive on routine and when it gets disrupted as it does to a very high degree during a move it can cause major stress in our lives.

Moving in with your significant other is a huge transformation for both parties and it is important to have some foundational guidelines in place before the big move day. Talking out the details and your feelings beforehand will better equip you to show up and support each other through this exciting and stressful process.

In my 20’s I was a gypsy. I lived in multiple states and countries which made it easy to just pack up and go to the next place. I remember moving every year I lived in San Francisco, four apartments in four years. I never unpacked all of my boxes, just kept moving them from one place to the next. This was a very fun time in my life and I loved not being attached to anything.

Three and a half years ago when I moved to Los Angeles I was ready to settle down. I made a commitment to buy a bed frame and couch – purchases I was never willing to make because I moved and traveled so much before. I also decided it was time to unpack ALL of my boxes and create a nice nest for myself. My body was worn from years of moving all of the time and I was looking forward to creating a life in a city that felt like home on my first visit.

Over the years I have moved more times than I can count and I’ve learned some helpful tools along the way, particularly when it comes to moving in with a significant other. Moving in with your partner can cause a remarkable level of tension especially if you are busy with work or going through a health issue. It’s important to respect each others challenges and use the move as an opportunity to grow together. It’s easy to fall into being frustrated or snappy with each other when stress levels are high.

The real work of moving is to stay calm, grounded, kind and present regardless of how the move unfolds. I realize this a very tall order but your intention is everything. Start each morning with the aim of calling those qualities into your life and it will be much easier to pull yourself back on track when you slip off.

The following guidelines have helped tremendously during the move we are in the middle of right now. There have definitely been tears, some hurt feelings and a few more arguments than normal but we have the tools to handle each situation as it arises and we don’t go to bed upset with each other no matter what.

Leave behind what isn’t serving you
Moving is a wonderful invitation to leave behind habits, physical objects, and beliefs that you don’t want to take into your new home. This is a great time as a couple to get clear on your vision for your relationship and set revised intentions for this next chapter of your life together.

Work together
There is very little if any downtime during a move. Working together helps keep the energy of the move flowing and ensures you get time with your partner. Even if you’re not packing boxes together be sure that you are both there on move day to help out. It can feel very isolating to move alone and you want to enter your new home as a team.

Open communication
This is crucial. Moving is a huge transition and both parties must be willing to communicate what they need, their vision for the move, how they are feeling during the process and anything else that comes up along the way. Make it clear in the beginning that communication lines are open and do you best to listen to your partner from a place of love and understanding.

Make time for romance
Let’s face it, the majority of moving is a total drag. It’s easy to get so involved in the nitty gritty details that you forget to have date night or a hot make out session. I get that scheduling romance isn’t the most dreamy, but when your lives are upside down from the move it’s essential to have something on the books to bring your closer together. Set aside that time so you can remember why you are moving in together!

Let go of expectations
It’s rare that a move is going to run like clockwork or be exactly as you planned. When you let go of expectations and surrender to each moment you reduce stress, have less fights and more fun. Take deep breaths when you need to center yourself, be willing to step up and do more than you might want to in a particular situation and know when it’s time to be gentle with your partner.

Talk about your new home
In the midst of all the moving craziness it’s helpful to check in with the excitement around your new home. Talk about your plans for the new house, the garden you want to create together, the new habits you are looking forward to building as a couple or the fun dinner parties you want to start hosting when you’re settled. Discussing what you are looking forward to in your new home will help keep you sights on the big picture.

Keep up your self-care
Moving can be a very tough experience. In order to stay sane and connected we need to keep up with our self care rituals. They might have to look different for a little while and that is okay, stay flexible! Make nourishing food choices when you’re eating out, stay with your spiritual practices and journal even if you’re exhausted. Moving can be very depleting and it’s wise to make self care deposits as often as possible to keep yourself on track.



  • Rebecca

    The first time my boyfriend moved in, he moved to my place. It was short term at the time. When we moved in together a while later it was refreshing to be making the move together. I was happy that it was his place too and not just me giving him a drawer or a section in the bathroom cabinet. Keeping up the communication and taking the time to get it right are necessities. Sometimes moving can be a very daunting thing and you just want to hammer through it…. get all the boxes out/in as quickly as possible. I believe it’s best to realize it’s not the funnest thing but still an experience you can enjoy. It’s part of starting a new chapter. Best to get off on the right foot!! We’ll be moving again at the end of August so hopefully I can live by my own words and take some of your advice into account as well.

    • ashley

      Hey Rebecca, thank you for sharing your experience. I totally agree with everything you wrote, I’m grateful that we are making this move together as a unit. It’s really important to have that support in place. I love what you said about getting off on the right foot – YES! That is huge. This IS a new chapter and we want to start with as much of a clean slate as possible. Sounds like you have some great experience to draw on for your future move next month! Wishing you all the best. xoa

  • Andrea

    i love your paragraph about “the real work” and if you change the word moving to “life” you’ve got a pretty good motto/approach

    • ashley

      Thanks Andrea and you are so right, this work applies to ALL areas of our lives. Wishing you a wonderful evening. xoa

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