No Man's Land

I dislike this part of moving. The in-between part. Living with stacks of boxes, down to two coffee mugs in the cabinet, and the absence of a homey feel to the abode. The anxious excitement about getting to the new location that is tinged with nostalgic grief for the current. For me, those both tend to increase as move day draws closer. In the past, this process only took a couple weeks, max. Some only days. But this one - we're looking at months. Everything still hinges on Miss Monster's eligibility for export to Maui and the house selling. I'm most anxious about the former, but the latter still looms.

Our chosen organizer has been pretty helpful this week. We've individually priced all items for the garage sale and boxed them according to category. This process was hard, but also cathartic for me. We are getting rid of a lot of things, but nothing I'm heartbroken to part with. This week has been much harder for Husband. In addition to recovering from the plague I passed to him, he's also faced the challenge of letting go of stuff. But he's not as far along in the emotional process as I am. I've been slowly weeding through papers and packing belongings for months. Mentally categorizing and deciding what to do with things. Letting go of lots. Working through the emotions that start with absolutely-can't-let-go to of-course-I-can. I've been fully immersed. He jumped into the water until this week. Granted, he let go of some really big items, but it's the build up of the little ones that is now getting to him.

On top of that, we live in chaos without many of the conveniences we are accustomed to having. Like a spatula. I never knew how often I used spatulas until they were gone. Reaching for things that are no longer there is our new normal. Existing in this no man's land between the past and the future is challenging, but we keep reminding ourselves it's temporary. Our stuff ships out this week. The rest sells in two weeks. Repairs and painting will begin the first week in February. Then, if we're really lucky, our amazing real estate agent will sell it the week after. Yes, my optimism is off the charts on that last one, I know. But it could happen. She did it last time!

Of course, the biggest motivating factor to getting all this done quickly is to get to the actual move part. But there is a strong second factor. Spending time with our families and friends. I'm ready for the to-do list to dwindle down to waiting. With fewer items on the plate, I can devote more time to seeing the people I will miss so much. Make a few more memories here before we begin our journey there.

If you find yourself in the No Man's Land of the moving process, make the best of it. Here are six coping strategies we've developed to handle the moving process.

Be Kids Again

Living with one plate and a glass wasn't that tough in college. Some of my favorite memories revolved around makeshift pizza box plates and sitting on the floor with my friends. We talked, laughed, and had not a care in the world. Doing this again while staring down the barrel at 40 reminds me how precious time is. Every moment is a gift. Be appreciative of giggles.

Share the Stroll Down Memory Lane

Downsizing can lead to some tough decisions. If you have the luxury of taking your time, use the opportunity to connect with people you haven't talked with in a while. When you find that picture with your friends from 15 years ago that makes you laugh out loud, call and let them laugh with you. The best part of those memories are the ones you share them with.

Take a Day Off

Major change can stress the strongest of relationships. If you find your anxiety is getting the best of you, stop. Take a break. Snuggle on the couch and ignore the chaos around you. Go out with your friends. Remind yourself why you made the decision to make this big move. Clear your head, reset, and come back to the task at hand with refreshed eyes. The task won't seem as daunting and you'll be much more effective at completing the items on your to-do list.

Talk it Out

When you're feeling the pressure, chances are your partner and/or family is too. Be open about the emotions you're experiencing. The release will do you, and those around you, wonders. There's a lot of comfort in realizing you aren't the only one feeling stressed about the impending change. For us, these conversations usually start with "I hate this..." and end with "I can't wait until...". We're back to feeling excited about our decision before we know it.

Keep a Routine

Normalcy is a rare commodity in No Man's Land. Keep a routine as close to normal as you can. A meal schedule can easily bring a sense of structure to a fluid living environment. If you have pets, a routine is critically important. Their environment is changing and you have no way of explaining to them why. Keep their feeding and walking schedule strict. Be sure to set aside some extra time to spend with them. I don't have kids, so I can't speak to that challenge, but I would imagine some of the same rules may apply. It's easy to get wrapped up in the chaos. Remember the effect on the most vulnerable members of the family.

Stay Healthy

Eat as healthy as you can. Cooking can be tough when everything is all packed up. Make good decisions about food as often as you can. Going to bed with a chest full of anxiety and a belly full of crap does not a good night's sleep make. Don't beat yourself up about the occasional fast food decision, but keep these to occasional. Don't forget to exercise, either. Preparing to move can be physically taxing, but don't dismiss the power of a quick run, walk, or trip to the gym to clear your head. Have a firm bedtime. You need rest to accomplish all you have in front of you. Both your body and mind will thank you.