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How to Lose Friends

Originally appeared on 1.24.17 in Times-Standard

Your friends and family asked me to write this. Dale Carnegie’s famous “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book assuredly did not list asking friends and family to help us move as a way to win or keep them.

Whether you are a serial mover, or are contemplating a move after living in the same place for many, many years, who do you turn to for help packing, loading the truck, and unpacking at the other end?

Most likely you will turn to family and friends for help. Most of us dread asking for help because we don’t want to impose, nor be judged harshly for all our stuff. Don’t worry, the feeling of dread can be mutual. Sometimes, there aren’t family or friends to help and this can trigger feelings of sadness or loss which might hijack the moving process.

Maybe you don’t think you need help and can save money by doing it yourself. It could be true, but “doing it yourself” isn’t free and almost always includes someone else. As we get older, asking ourselves and those we love to carry our load may not be the best plan. Even if it might save you money, there are other considerations.

To start with, think about your physical health and the toll a move can take on your body. Think too about your stress levels and your time. What price sanity? Have you really saved anything if your possessions break during the move because a dear friend inadequately packed them? Or because a well-meaning helper decided that you didn’t need a few things in the garage and “generously” got rid of them?

Did those hours spent feeling pressured or nagged to part with something you weren’t ready to part with add to the quality of your life enough to justify the money saved?

There is more to a good move than how much it costs. Peace of mind and the goodwill of your friends and family are priceless.

A quality move starts long before move day and requires thoughtful planning. Weddings which last only a few hours are planned further in advance and with more thought than some of us will plan our next move. A good move starts 3-6 months before the van gets loaded.

Is it a local or long distance move? A local move isn’t always easier and still requires packing and unpacking. Is it worth the cost of moving your stuff? If you are downsizing, what is the plan – sell, give away, gift, toss, recycle? Are you selling your home and planning for repairs and “perk-ups” to grab a buyer’s attention? A cleaned up and mostly depersonalized home will sell faster and for more than one full of priceless possessions.

Overwhelmed? Don’t let that stop you from doing something now! We hear from people who have waited until a few weeks before a huge move to begin to sort through their possessions. Not the best plan.

If you have planned a big wedding you know that hiring a wedding planner can be a lifesaver. Hiring a move planner/manager makes sense too, especially if this is a downsizing move after years of acquisition.

Forgive yourself – We learn to value our things and find it hard to let go, even of things we no longer use or need. It will be hard and you might make some mistakes, but it will be okay.

It’s not rocket science. Some things we can do ourselves. For some things we need help. While help from friends is nice, sometimes it is better to be nice to our friends and hire help instead. That’s how we keep the friends we have won.

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