Family Matters: Moving on up
By SHIMRIT NOTHMAN
Expert Shimrit Nothman gives her advice on how to handle a spouse who can’t let go when packing to move to a new home.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I packed up my husband and two young
children, alongside 50 odd boxes. We moved our lives to a new home in a
If you’ve moved houses before, you’re probably thinking of sending me a big virtual hug right now.
can be very exciting. It’s a chance for us to redecorate our home, to
meet new people and to have a fresh start.That said, there might also be
some negative emotions associated with the move.
anxiety are two of the most common ones. Your to-do-list will seem
endless; choosing reliable tradesmen for the renovations, deciding on
colors, sizes and cost of new “stuff” for the house. And finally,
packing and unpacking your belongings. This list can get a person
anxious quite easily, not to mention the stress it can cause between
So what should you expect and what can you do to prepare for the big move? Here are some ideas:
The keepers verses the throwers
her drawers she keeps clothes she last fitted into 10 years ago. He
offers your books to friends, so as to clear some more space on the
shelf. A couple made of a “keeper” and a “thrower” can coexist with no
apparent problems for years. But when it’s time to pack up and move,
hell can break loose between them.
The “keeper” would like to
pack it all, with extra paper and bubble wrap, to insure it all makes it
to the new place in one piece. The “thrower” believes this is an
opportunity to get rid of unwanted and unneeded objects.
seem like a simple difference of opinions, but in fact it’s a much
bigger issue. It’s the clash of opposing personalities.
psychological explanations are many. It might be that a “thrower” is
that way because their mother was a “keeper,” and throwing things away
is a way to rebel or gain independence from her. A “keeper,” on the
other hand, may have old sentimental objects around the house because it
gives them a sense of belonging.
You will likely have noticed by
now where your partner stands on the thrower-keeper spectrum. And so,
when it comes time for packing your belongings, brace yourself for the
next couple of weeks. If you feel like it’s too much for you to handle,
consider hiring a delivery company that also does the packing.
Delegating is the magic word in such cases.
You say tomato, I say tomato
Moving into a new home consists of many small decisions that need to be
made. We want our home to look perfect, but we also have a limited
amount of time to have lengthy discussions about the color of our
curtains or the door handle’s style.
Keep in mind that,
ultimately, you’re both looking for the same thing: a place you long to
crawl back to at the end of a long day. You might disagree on the best
location for the kitchen knives, but you both want the place to be a
cozy, pleasant one that you can call home.
Although you both have
the same goal, you might not always agree on the means to that end. Try
defining what is most important to you and make it your primary
concern. Let your partner have the final word on things that matter to
them the most, even if they decide that Fuchsia Pink is the perfect
color for your bedroom walls.
You finally made the big move, but
your new place looks like a small warehouse. With boxes half full and
your paintings sitting as a happy bunch at a corner of a room, it just
doesn’t feel like home yet. Between work, kids and other commitments,
you can’t find the time to get it all done.
Instead of incessant bickering with your partner, try adopting one of these three tactics:
1. The weekend attack: Put
one or two weekends aside to get the unpacking, assembling, hanging and
relevant shopping done. Prepare for this weekend by writing a detailed
list describing all that needs to be done. Make sure you have all the
equipment required for hanging and assembling your things.
2. It takes an army: Get
anyone who has shown even a slight interest in helping you with your
move, to assist. Get them to solve problems you couldn’t fix, such as
installing the light fittings or putting up some shelves.
3. Slow and steady wins the race: If
all else fails, just do what everyone else does - accept that it’s
going to take you weeks to get everything sorted out and do little by
little whenever you get the chance. In the meantime, your kids will love
using the boxes as a hiding place and you will “enjoy” discovering,
bit-by-bit, things you’d hoped you’d never see again. Maybe your partner
will agree to throw them out… the next time you move.
Nothman has a Masters degree in Conflict Resolution and believes that
like charity, conflict resolution begins at home. If you have any
questions for Shimrit, please use the comments section below or email
her at email@example.com.