You’re about to move and are a little overwhelmed? We’re in the same boat. I’m about to move abroad and should really be an expert by now. After all, I’ve moved ten times over the past seven years. These are the steps I’m taking to get ready:
1. Make a To-Do List
Making a To-Do list is fairly easy, but the trick is keeping it to one list, rather than many, and actually working it off. As I’m falling asleep or walking home from work I think of a thousand things I need to get done before leaving. On a good day I actually jot it all down, only to end up with ten crumpled post-it notes that then end up in the dryer. Not so great. So my tip: Have one list and keep it close by!
2. Plan ahead
If I’m leaving on Saturday morning, I should be packed by Friday night. I’m busy all week, so I’ll get the laundry done on… ahm… I could really use a house elf right now. Take a good look at your To-Do list and plan ahead. It can save you a lot of last-minute stress if you do it right.
3. Stick with your plan!
A plan is only worthwhile if you stick with it. But the reality is that seeing your friends one last time is more important than arriving with ironed clothes and batteries for your life-saving electronic translator. So when I say “stick with your plan!” I actually mean, “Good luck! I hope it works out for you, but in the last seven years this part hasn’t worked out for me so well.”
4. Freak out
How did sticking with the plan work out for you? It obviously didn’t for me. It’s Thursday night, the laundry isn’t done, the To-Do list is long enough to cover the entire staircase, and time is running out. It’s time to freak out a little. You’re moving halfway around the world; it’s ok to be a little overwhelmed. If you’re too calm and collected, your friends may think you’re more of a robot than a person.
5. Toss it all in
Still not packed? Here’s your chance! I ended up tossing it all in, sitting on the lid, and forgot to keep the weight limit in mind. If you can’t lift it, it’s probably too heavy. If you previously made a packing list, now would be a good time to take a look around the room and squeeze everything in that you previously missed. (I still haven’t managed to cross the ‘Make a Packing List’ entry off my To-Do List)
6. Pretend it was the plan all along
This is the point where you can show off your theatrical skills – convince your friends and family that you enjoy the thrill of doing it all at the last minute. In the end, it always works out. As long as you have your passport and visa, don’t sweat too much about all the things you could or may have forgotten.
Enjoy the trip and be grateful for all experiences, even the ones you struggle with at the time. I can’t say it better than Eleanor Roosevelt: “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Here’s to your adventure, to the experience of a lifetime! I’m off to Mexico, what about you?
Dorothee Rembold is an intern at Teach Away Inc.