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The One Exhausting Thing About Moving

By Rosanne Ullman January 19, 2023 Lifestyle

When we move from one home to another, we anticipate a learning curve. We expect that waking up those first few days will feel strange in that unfamiliar room, even if it’s in the same bed. We know we’ll have to set up yet one more kitchen.

If the relocation’s purpose is to be near children or grandchildren, we look forward to more active involvement in each other’s lives. If we’ve moved to improve our weather, we might have to swap out our wardrobe. We assume we’ll get to know our neighbors and make new friends.

Moving Home

When I migrated from the Midwest to Florida, I figured in all of that change. But there’s one thing I didn’t quite see coming after residing 36 years in the same house. With different living space, I had to rethink every ordinary habit.

Remember when masks first became a thing? You had to establish a place to keep them so you could get to one quickly before you left the house. Was that in a drawer or on a shelf? Did you stack the masks on a tray, hang them on hooks or throw them on a counter?

Did you don the mask before you left the house so you could check the mirror, or did you grab and go, waiting until you spied another human before fitting the straps from ear to ear? You probably had additional masks stashed in your car, purse, and coat pockets.

I’ve been facing those types of decisions for every single item I own, and let me tell you: it’s exhausting. And on top of choreographing movement within my indoor geography, there’s the entire outdoors. I’m taking not only a new route to the grocery store but becoming acquainted with a different grocery chain altogether.

Truly Starting Over

Since I was starting anew, why try to replicate what went where and in what order I did things? I wanted to determine what should go where and in what order I should do things.

The habits I formed and the way I navigated my spaces in my 30s and 40s may not work as well in my 60s. Bending and reaching aren’t quite as easy, and there are only two of us living in this house – no small children to consider or teens to give input.

So, I have reconsidered everything from what to keep in my desk drawers to where I, the night owl in my partnership, should watch low-volume TV in the wee hours.

Like many challenges, this one has its benefits once you get through it. New patterns exercise the brain, plus years of ingrained habits and resistance to change can keep you from exploring methods that turn out to be more pleasant or efficient.

The Two Drawers

For example, in my last house I dedicated the prime real estate of a kitchen drawer to nail polishes and other manicure necessities, which I probably began doing when the first of my three daughters entered her teens.

This drawer sat above a larger one that was home to wrapping paper, bows and ribbons – supplies I wanted to keep at easy reach for the constant stream of birthday parties the kids attended, along with various other occasions that required gifts.

By the time I moved, both drawers looked much the same as they had for 30 years, even though these needs could no longer justify a claim to such prominent space. In my new home, I’m stocking just a few shades of nail polish in the bathroom and storing a roll or two of wrapping paper in a back room closet.

New Layout

I’m discovering that much of the change is driven by the layout of my new space. So many large rugs, so few big rooms! And our current house lacks a linen closet.

My daughter pointed out that we don’t really need one anyway – we’re as much hotel as house now. Since the extra bedrooms are for visitors, even when they’re family members, she suggested that we keep each room’s linens in that room’s closet. Makes sense!

With a living room much smaller than our last one, the piano just didn’t fit. So, my office has become home to the piano, and the unexpected result is that now I actually sit down and play. In the living room in our other house, the piano seemed invisible and sat idle almost all the time.

New Beginnings, New Decisions

After I unload each box and determine where the objects should go, maybe my decisions will be permanent and maybe they won’t. Gradually, getting used to living in this house, I may find that I made mistakes.

I’m especially shaky on spots for books, mirrors, artwork, and framed photos. And if anyone has ideas for where to put four somewhat tacky and altogether creepy harlequin dolls we displayed in our previous foyer wall niche, I’m listening!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you recently moved to a new home? What were your reasons? What’s different in this new home from your old one? Are you arranging your things as you did before or in new ways? Please share your strategy!

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I am sorry to say I shared a post on the facebook page.. then I was conatcted by a as much as I love to respond to the posts, I will no longer

Karen Jennings

I moved from an upstairs apartment in the same building to a downstairs apartment. Same layout- I seem to have more room, which I love! Easier on the knees, no stairs, although I miss my balcony! The patio is good- I have plenty of plants and decorations!

Rosanne Ullman

Enjoy your new space! Sounds like it wasn’t a big adjustment :).

Wendy Kurchak

The creepy dolls?
In my childhood, I had a “Peek-a-Boo” doll with eyes that appeared to follow me around the room. She was creepy.
I finally suggested to my younger sister that our “Peek-a-Boo” dolls would be happier together, in HER room.
The doll creeped me out.
She loved it.
Someone is just waiting for those Harlequin dolls to love.
Sell them and buy a beautiful, lovely, house-warming gift for your new home.


It’s all in your attitude. When my marriage fell apart, I chose to leave our family home (a single family house in a residential area) for a two apartment on the second floor of a century home in the city core. I did this with a teenage daughter who was still in high school. I looked at this as a new adventure for us. I downsized tremendously, and we gradually changed our lifestyle in this new location. Once she graduated from university, we both moved on again, to different apartments. I ended up moving a total of 5 times in that decade until I landed where I am now. I embraced each change, continuing to downsize with each move, discover who I was becoming, explore each area, and finding joy in each new space. I’m happy where I am now and don’t plan to leave, but life can throw a curve at us at any time. I know I can adapt to anything now. Enjoy these changes in your life, rather than be anxious about them.

Carol Boucher

Hi, I assume your comment about the Harlequin dolls was a joke, but if you did want to get rid of things that no longer work in your new space, it could be liberating. It might be worth passing along those items that don’t make sense in your new home. Instead of trying to find space for them, find relief by donating or selling those things that don’t fit your new lifestyle. It’s a work in progress for me. Thanks for the look ahead into what could be my own future…

Rosanne Ullman

The dolls are no joke, Carol! I like having them in my office. I got rid of so much from my house up north that it’s comforting to have some reminders of my long life before moving south. I wish I could have packed up my friends and brought them!

The Author

Rosanne Ullman has a long freelance writing career. She is the author of the children's picture book The Case of the Disappearing Kisses, an admin for the Facebook group "Grammar Matters," and the creator and instructor of the Write My Memoirs Grammar and Writing Course.

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