Moving can be a stressful experience for individuals, roommates, and couples. It can put a lot of stress on your relationship when you have to coordinate a move together. Since I am a marriage expert and just survived a move, I’ve written down some things I’ve learned to help you all survive this frustrating ordeal without taking a sledgehammer to your furniture or your spouse. 

Planning. Decide that you are real adults now and it’s time to hire professional movers rather than torturing your friends with yet another “Help us move! Pizza and beer provided!” Facebook event. Call various moving companies asking for quotes. Listen as an agency owner lectures you about the importance of truck licensing and how his prices are double the prices of other movers because your “valuable possessions” will be fully insured. 

Consider the quality of your possessions: the Craigslist dining set, the comfy couch you bought despite the cigarette burn on the faux suede, the dresser some guy from Facebook gave you without mentioning his son carved a huge dick into the wood. Decide you don’t need to insure any of this stuff and book the cheapest movers you can find.

Make an elaborate planning checklist on Google Docs that you will never look at again. When your husband brings up something that needs to be done, inform him smugly that you’ve already put that on the list. Forget to do the thing he suggested. 

Purging. Have in-depth discussions with your spouse about which items to keep or get rid of. When he says he wants to throw away your “ugly old-person reading lamp,” don’t mention that the lamp actually did come from your grandpa’s nursing home. Bring it out to the curb in the hopes that a neighbor might pick it up before the trash collectors do, only to have the trash collectors drive by as you’re doing this and take the lamp right out of your hands. Whisper a sad Marie Kondo “thank you” to the lamp as they chuck it on top of all the other trash and drive away. 

No matter how thoroughly you’ve searched for all the dead batteries in your house, your husband will inevitably unearth more immediately after you’ve dropped off a load at the hazardous waste collection center. When he offers to just throw the batteries in the trash, scold him for hating the earth. Make another trip back to the collection center in your oil-leaking SUV and grumble about his environmental negligence the whole time. 

Packing. As he fills an eighth box full of unread paperbacks, your spouse may ask if you really need all these books and couldn’t you get rid of some? The only permissible answer to such an insult is “I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it.” 

If you don’t have enough bubble wrap to pack your fragile dishes, your husband’s shirts will make a great substitute. Wrap each dish and mug in a shirt or two and pack it nice and tight in a box. Write “FRAGILE” on the box in letters big enough for your movers to completely ignore.

Your health-conscious spouse might offer helpful advice on how to put less strain on your spine while moving boxes and lifting heavy items. Snap at him that you know how to do this and please stop lecturing. Later, complain loudly about how much your back hurts.

Commit to packing only one category of item in each box. Follow this guideline admirably until you make it to the laundry room, which is overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of uncategorizable rubbish imaginable. Become paralyzed with indecision on how to arrange and pack all of it. Refuse to let your husband help until you take a wine break to calm down and he quietly does it all himself. 

Entrust your husband with labeling the packed boxes. Watch as he loads several small shoeboxes into a larger box, tapes it shut, and writes on the cardboard, “SMALL BOXES BOX.” Give him a high five—he’s doing it perfectly. 

Moving day. On moving day, spend far too much time coordinating last-minute Buy Nothing Group pickups and not enough time cleaning all the expired salad dressing out of the fridge. When a neighbor wishes you good luck with the move, point to the movers and joke that they’re the ones doing the hard part. When the neighbor replies that the hard part is selling it, am I right?, pretend you’re not a renter and laugh like you know exactly what it’s like to own a house in Toronto where the average home costs over 15 years’ worth of your gross annual salary.

Once you’ve made the drive to your new home and the movers have finished unloading, start rearranging furniture with your husband. While carrying heavy furniture together, bark vague orders like “forward–not like that” and “left, wait, right” and “ow my foot! Remind him that majoring in painting makes you an expert interior designer and he needs to listen to and respect everything you say. 

Suggest that your husband can store most of his possessions in the creepy attic. When he ascends the pull-down ladder, make loud comments about the attic scene in the horror movie Hereditary. 

When he unpacks his clothing and asks where all his favorite shirts are, tell him you have no idea and is he sure he checked the right bin?

As evening falls on your moving day, set up your bedframe and put some fresh sheets on the mattress. Take a long, hot shower to wash off the stress of the day. Discover that the water heater at this house is weak and there is no hot water left for your husband. Remind him that cold showers build character.

Fall down on the bed and give your partner a tired kiss. Tell him you’re welcome for leading you to this new place. You made it! If you can do this together, you can do anything.

1 Comment

  1. Phil Rienstra

    I just moved, and NOW I’m catching up enough to be here. Fortunately, I seemed to have followed in the spirit of the post, for the most part. The only thing I would add is the panicked late-night food run on moving day when you realize you haven’t eaten in several hours and most places close in ten minutes.


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