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How to Deal With an Unexpected Move

How to Deal With an Unexpected Move

There’s no hiding it; an unexpected move has the power to wreak havoc on your life. It could come out of left field for a number of reasons. Maybe you’ve received a surprise promotion at work that means moving to a new city in another province, or country. Maybe you have to move on a moment’s notice to be closer to family in need, or your landlord has unexpectedly sold your building and the new owners want the place to themselves.

Whatever your reason, never fear – there are a lot of ways to turn this unexpected hiccup around, to help it benefit you, your family, or whomever you happen to live with. Here are our favourite ways of dealing with the prospect of an unexpected move, and how to stay positive.


Emotions Run High

Where we live can easily become a part of our human fabric. Our houses become homes when we invest our time into their upkeep, their energy, and their aesthetics. We make our homes a reflection of who we are, and so leaving them can prove difficult, especially if you’re not expecting the news that you’ve got to go. Having reduced time to make plans, say goodbye, and deal with the stress and emotion that comes along with moving can be rough – but we have some ideas.

Throw yourself a moving party as a way to enjoy a final send-off for your time in your household. Invite the people who helped you move in, some family, friends, and share some memories of good times you’ve shared in the space, and allow them to comfort you in their presence. The people who have helped you build such cherished memories aren’t going anywhere, and believe it or not, you’ll create new memories in your new place just the same.

A sneaky way to give yourself an emotional release is to plant something of yourself in the home before you go. Liken this to people putting their handprints in the concrete when they lay a new foundation for a garage or an addition. It marks their presence, and their dedication to the space. In the back of a closet or underneath a countertop, leave a hidden memento of yourself – a handprint in paint, a nick-nack, a little note, etc. Maybe it’s a tad sentimental, but you’d be surprised how much this can help some people when they need to move on quickly.


Make a List

This is the big one. When you’re moving in a rush, it’s easy to adjust your focus on the things that seem like the biggest obstacles – like finding a new home or apartment in a short time period. But consider the plethora of little tasks that matter a lot – like transferring your utilities to a new address or suspending them until you find home again, or defer payments to an online platform so you don’t end up missing mail once you’ve moved out.

Putting your tasks on paper helps to verify your plans. Mark down your move-out and move-in dates so you have a clear chronological timeline in front of you. Organize your list by days, so you can break up jobs into smaller, more manageable bites.



Ugh. Packing up in a rush is never fun, but it’s a great opportunity to take stock of what’s truly important and to shed some of the clutter that’s managed to weasel its way into your life. Take this opportunity to get rid of old things that hold no real value to you; old clothes, books, paintings, excess kitchen cutlery, plates, etc. Reducing your clutter not only relieves a considerable amount of stress, but makes packing and moving easier – something that’s worth its proverbial weight in gold when you’re moving in a rush. Organize your stuff into four categories to help you differentiate:

  • Sell
  • Donate
  • Toss
  • Keep

Donate your excess clothing to a local consignment shop, homeless shelter, Goodwill, or Salvation Army location. Consider selling your coffee table, kitchen appliances, or even your bed to streamline your move. Toss out damaged goods, and keep the things that will be tough to replace, or the things that hold value to you.

Pack with a plan. Ask yourself why you’re packing what you’re packing, and make sure you have a clear plan for unpacking once you get into your new place. Don’t neglect to label your boxes accordingly and remember that rushed move is still a move. If you’re going to get through it with as much of your sanity as possible, don’t discredit the simple things that will make your life easier.


Ask for Help

Don’t try to do everything by yourself. You’re just going to stress yourself out and that will inevitably lead to forgetting important things that only contribute to the strife of moving in a rush.

If you have family and friends who offer to lend a helping hand, accept it. Ask them to not only help you move your stuff come moving day, but be willing to accept help packing, organizing, setting up new utility accounts, etc. And last but not least, consider hiring moving staff if necessary. Depending on the amount of things you need moved, having the professional services of movers who are familiar with packing in a rushed state can be both reassuring and stress-relieving.

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