As a military spouse, moving should be our first middle and last name.
The first three years in our marriage my husband and I lived in four states. That’s a lot of boxes, a ton of car time and mountains of change. When contemplating this upcoming move, I started to think of the things I should have done in the past for friends who were moving away. There are things that I can now see that would have made their lives easier, happier, and more filled with love during such a weird time. I wanted to put these ideas in print so that I can pull them out the next time a friend or neighbor starts packing it up.
1. Feed them
Eating can get pretty dicy the last couple weeks before a move. Between trying to eat all the random stuff in the freezer and packing away the pots and pans, your friend is probably eating a lot of french fries. Invite them over for a nutritious hot meal. The food and time away from a house filled with boxes will help re-energize them for all the moving tasks ahead. Consider sending muffins or other breakfast items home with them that they can grab in the morning as well! You are what you eat and on many a move I have felt like a cheeseburger.
2. Send flowers
I had a neighbor tell me recently that when she’s moving she always keeps fresh flowers in the house. She uses the flowers not only to freshen the look of the room. but to freshen the smell of all the cardboard boxes. It got me thinking that fresh flowers could really help brighten the moving aesthetic, emotions, and smells. So send (or bring) your friend flowers. This is a great way to support a friend who already lives far away!
3. Offer support
Moving, especially to a new area, can be a very emotional experience. Your friend may be feeling a little anxious and depressed. These emotions are normal during a time of major change. Let your friend know that you are there to talk if you need them. During my most recent move I had a friend offer to listen to venting no matter what. I appreciated the ability to let someone know how I was feeling without being judged.
4. Be forgiving
Your friend is probably insanely busy during this transition. They are also probably feeling an array of emotions as stated above. This may lead to your friend reaching out less, being less available, and maybe being an all around crummy friend. Please be forgiving. Try to put yourself in their shoes with their emotions and time constraints. If you feel like your friendship is suffering, keep reaching out. Doing some of these things on the list will also help you stay close. One day you will be the one moving and hopefully your friend will return the favor.
5. Send snacks
If your friend will have to spend some time in the car driving to their new home, consider giving them some snacks. One of my insanely caring friends always sends a re-usable tote bag filled with semi-healthy snacks whenever someone is moving away. The snacks have saved many a hangry mover over the years. Munchies also make hotel living and the first night in the new place much more bearable.
We’ve all been there, and we’ve all needed the support of friends and family to get through the trying transitions. These few simple gestures can make a huge difference for your friend as they pack up their life. Be sure to try at least one when the next friend in your group moves away.