Family Matters: Moving on up

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.

Box (photo credit: Wikicommons)
(photo credit: Wikicommons)
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 new city.
If you’ve moved houses before, you’re probably thinking of sending me a big virtual hug right now.
Moving 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.
Stress and 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 partners.
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
In 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.
It may seem like a simple difference of opinions, but in fact it’s a much bigger issue. It’s the clash of opposing personalities.
The 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.Shimrit 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 protected].