Packing up. Moving on

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Most of 2017 for me was spent downsizing. Minimizing. Packing up what was left and moving it across the country. (Toronto to Vancouver Island)

I'm kind of a minimalist by nature. I don't like crowded spaces or a lot of mess. Not that my house is a neat & tidy at all times ;) I just like to have room to let my own thoughts and ideas roam around me without too much distraction. Plus when you keep things to a minimum you don't have as much to clean!

I've also learned to value the things I do have. It has purpose and meaning - which I find the older I get the more important that is. I say minimalist but I have A LOT of books. And not just novels, but pretty illustrated books that I maybe haven't read, they are more for design inspiration. Truthfully I was really unhappy living in Toronto, it wasn't my place and most of the "things" I had were probably more for comfort than practicality. I'm back where I belong now and am not finding I need comfort things as much (I mean I'll always want the comfort of certain things like my compilation of Hans Christian Andersen stories and my little glow in the dark kodama figure)

Whenever I tell someone I got rid of all my stuff and moved across the country, I always get the same response. "Wow, that's so brave. I could never do that". Yeah, it's a big undertaking and was a lot of work (and stress) and when I hear people say that I wonder how many people don't do things because they seem too daunting of a task. I'll be posting more in the future about the move, what led up to it, and the first year in my new city - so maybe it won't seem so scary to someone else. At least not scary enough to not do. Half the battle is just making the decision to do it. 

So I thought I'd make a little list of the top 3 things I learned from the experience and 3 tips for anyone thinking of a BIG move.

3 lessons learned

  1. You'll miss everything once you don't have it. But it's like a sugar craving, wait for a bit and you'll get over it. At least once a day I say to myself - oh man that would come in handy right now, but then I just find another way to do whatever it was and then it's done.

  2. Stress is normal and to be expected. You are flipping your life upside down and it's going to be rough, but knowing this and bracing for those turbulent times makes them a wee bit easier to deal with. And some days you are just going to want to stay in bed all day watching Netflix, ignore the world outside and that is 100% OK!

  3. Making friends as an adult is hard and takes a lot of time. I'm more of an introvert too, so this one worried me a bit. Finding my people, my tribe, like-minded people to do things with and other creative businesses to network with. But most cities have great resources for finding people. I joined some Meetup and Facebook groups for activities that I was interested in and once I started meeting people - who may or may not go on to become friends - I started learning about other resources and groups to join to meet more people. The first step putting myself out there was HARD, but once I took the first step (and luckily I met a great woman right off the bat who loves meeting and connecting new people) it was like people just kept throwing info and introductions at me! It's kind of like dating, you have to go through a lot of people to find the right ones!

5 tips for big moves

  1. Be organized. Whatever system you prefer just have a system to keep everything organized and accounted for. I have lists of the contents of each and every box, the ones that were shipped right away and the ones that stayed in storage. I made priority lists of the things I'd need as soon as I got there and things that could wait to be shipped until I was settled in (Although I did leave all my winter attire in storage and of course it snowed in BC within weeks of me getting here....) Also if you are moving provinces (or states I'm sure some of this would apply) you need to do the research on the finer details of switching over all your documentation (licences, insurance, healthcare, etc) It's fairly easy to find with a google search, but best to know these details before you actually move.
  2. Take the time to do your research and have a plan of action. No one just wakes up one day and says I'm going to move to another city and just does it the next day. I mean maybe if you're 21 and just finished college and have no responsibilities or ties to anyone (been there done that and it was awesome - if you're 21!) I made my decision a year before I moved. I knew I wasn't in a rush and wanted to be sure I would be on somewhat solid footing when I got here and had a plan I could stick to for the first 2 months to help me adjust and stay focused on what I needed to do to set myself up for success.
  3. Get excited. Motivate yourself. Pinterest the shit out of it. Pin up pictures around your home and workspace to motivate you. This may sound kind of woo woo, but it definitely worked for me. On days when I started to doubt myself, if it was the right move, at the right time. (So much more on this one to come - I could write a novel!) I could look at those pics and quotes and remind myself WHY I was doing it. I also had some great friends who would send me pics and pick me up messages when I got down. I even made a little mantra for myself that I use still on days when I get a little freaked out and second guess my decision. No one is 100% confident every hour of every day. But finding ways to let the self-doubt roll in, embrace it and then kick it out the door important in all aspects of life. You can abso-fucking-lutely do it if you set your mind to it!!!

Ok, that's it for today. If you have any other good tips for surviving big moves feel free to share in the comments :)

xo, michelle

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