I have got some major news for you guys. Me and Tyler are officially moving into our first home together on Friday *squeals*. That means no more grotty student houses, or living in a one room outhouse that his parents own. Hallelujah. Although we've been living together for a good three years now, we've never been living on our own, so it's still quite a big step forward in our relationship.
We're so ready to finally have a place that is just ours, that we can fill with little bits and pieces that mean something to us, and (most importantly for me) that we can host our first Christmas as real adults in.
Almost everything is sorted out now, and a finalised contract between us and the landlord just needs to be signed in the next few days and then we're ready to get the moving truck (thank GOD my uncle owns a plumbing company haha) down to our new place. Once Friday is over, Saturday will see us making a lengthy journey to go to Bristol's IKEA and pick up all the new furniture and decor we need.
You see, I've been super organised about some things. I know what I want to go in each room. I've got my deposit and first month's rent ready. I've booked the time off work that I need for the moving business. I've even gone onto IKEA's website to look up all the furniture I want and jotted down the price to get an estimate. The one thing I haven't done? Started packing. Yep, I have four days until moving day and packing is non-existent. The one saving factor in all of this is that we only unpacked half of our stuff when we moved out of student housing - everything for the kitchen and a few other bits went in the loft and haven't been touched.
With all this organisation, why haven't you started packing yet Steph, I hear you all muttering at your screens. Well, because packing is something that massively triggers my anxiety. Even the thought of it makes me want to shove the idea of packing into the tiniest corner of my mind so that I can (hopefully) forget about it. You see, my anxiety is largely based around the notion of being trapped, but it's more of a psychological entrapment than a physical one. For example, being in a lift or on a packed train doesn't really phase me. But, the idea of leaving my home and not being able to go back inside it for a few hours, ergo being trapped in the outside world, sometimes gets my hackles raised.
The notion, therefore, of having to 'trap' my belongings in boxes, shut them up and then not be able to re-open them or make sure everything is packed properly stresses me out completely. Let's not even talk about leaving something behind, and trapping it in a house that I no longer have access to! So, I decided to write this post partly to procrastinate from packing of course, but also to create some tips both for myself and for all of you on how to deal with anxiety based around packing. Anxiety affects everyone in different ways, but hopefully these tips will be broad enough to help a few of you.
1.) Have an action plan. Packing up an entire house is a mammoth task, and can(/does) feel completely overwhelming. Planning can help make that task a little bit easier, and as an added bonus, it's the perfect excuse to procrastinate, hehe. Seriously though, deciding what you're going to start packing, what you're going to leave until the last moment, and what bits and pieces are going to be packed together will take a weight of stress off when it comes to actually packing.
2.) Start with one room and move to the next. About a year ago I made the mistake of starting to read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Now, I'm not saying it was complete bullshit, but basically yeah. It advised you to work with themes rather than rooms, e.g. collect all of your makeup together and then sort through it, deciding what you do and don't want. Now, this is all well and good until you've boxed up all of your makeup and then remember that you've actually hoarded a set of lipsticks in a random place you've forgotten about. You see how this can start to go off the rails? So, stick to one room, and package everything up until you have packed everything you can and then move to the next room. Starting with your least necessary room is always useful: a spare room or conservatory is a good one.
3.) Declutter as you go. This is something that I always manage to do when I'm moving. Set up one bin bag for charity shops bits, one for the bin, and have a box for things you're keeping. This really helps in not feeling shitty when you get to the other end and have to unpack everything wondering why you bothered to pack Dinosaur Top Trumps when you didn't really need it.
4.) Get a friend or family member over to help. My sister is my go-to for this (and everything really). I'm pretty appalling at organising myself so she stands there, sharpie at the ready, and tells me what to put in what box, and helps to get things ship shape. Sometimes it really helps to have an extra pair of eyes. And someone to join in on snack breaks, obvs.
5.) Put your favourite music/TV show on. When I'm doing something that makes me a little anxious, I like to have something on in the background. My go-to is Youtube videos. I can tune into them, and tune out of my anxiety. I think having something extra to focus on can really help.
6.) Take time out to pack effectively. Packing in a rush after an 8+ hour day is always going to suck, anxiety or not. Packing on your days off, or booking a few in order to do it will help keep your mind free of work related stress (hopefully) so you can focus on the task at hand without being over tired.
I really hope these tips were helpful! What do you do to make your packing less anxiety-ridden?