13 votes

What have you learned from moving to a new place?

Tags: personal, home

"New place" can be a small move to a new apartment down the street or a big move to a completely different city/country/continent.

What did you learn?
How did it change you?


Previous questions in series:

What have you learned from...
...being a parent?
...going through a breakup?

11 comments

  1. [4]
    autumn
    Link
    I always have too much stuff. Making friends is a learned skill. Exploring a new town/city is really, really fun. I’m so very sick of moving. Context on the last one: I had lived in about as many...
    • I always have too much stuff.
    • Making friends is a learned skill.
    • Exploring a new town/city is really, really fun.
    • I’m so very sick of moving.

    Context on the last one: I had lived in about as many places as I was aged in years in my early 20s. I’ve now lived at the same address for 4-5 years, and it’s so nice to do some nesting and really grow some roots.

    12 votes
    1. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      I used to pride myself on what I thought was a lean, minimalist attitude towards accumulating stuff, but every move I’ve ever done has humbled me to the point of embarrassment. How do I end up...

      I always have too much stuff.

      I used to pride myself on what I thought was a lean, minimalist attitude towards accumulating stuff, but every move I’ve ever done has humbled me to the point of embarrassment.

      How do I end up with so much stuff? Especially when so little of it sparks joy?!

      I had lived in about as many places as I was aged in years in my early 20s.

      Wow. I thought I moved a lot! Every time I’ve moved I’ve always gone through the same cycle of “I don’t fit in here” → “I’m homesick” → “I’m finally feeling more rooted here and it’s starting to feel more like ‘home’” → “Well, I’m moving again…” → “I don’t fit in here” → and so on.

      I hope you’re feeling more centered in your current location.

      4 votes
      1. autumn
        Link Parent
        I am! I was rereading some journal entries I wrote about a year ago, and in so many of them I described myself and my life as “stable,” which is not something I felt for a majority of my life....

        I hope you’re feeling more centered in your current location.

        I am! I was rereading some journal entries I wrote about a year ago, and in so many of them I described myself and my life as “stable,” which is not something I felt for a majority of my life. It’s a really nice feeling to feel so settled and content with where I am.

        4 votes
    2. HotPants
      Link Parent
      At a certain point, not having to move every year outweighs having a cheap place.

      I’m so very sick of moving.

      At a certain point, not having to move every year outweighs having a cheap place.

      4 votes
  2. [2]
    DawnPaladin
    Link
    About a decade ago, I was in a really miserable situation. My boss was abusive, I was living alone and struggling to make friends. I just felt miserable all the time. If I hadn't been able to find...

    About a decade ago, I was in a really miserable situation. My boss was abusive, I was living alone and struggling to make friends. I just felt miserable all the time.

    If I hadn't been able to find a way out of that situation, I think I might have done something self-destructive. The reason I was able to escape was because I knew that state of misery wasn't my natural state. I'd been happy before, living in other places with other jobs. So I knew happiness was possible for me. The hope of being happy again was the lifeline I used to climb out of there.

    Getting away from that town and that job was really difficult, because it meant coming home exhausted from work and putting in more work toward my exit plan. But (with help from my parents and encouragement from an online friend) I got out of there, and after a while I was happy again.

    Not every problem can be solved by running away from it. But some of them can! If your problems seem utterly insoluble, I highly recommend moving to another city and reinventing yourself. It beats turning to drink.

    8 votes
    1. HotPants
      Link Parent
      I want to second everything you said. I moved countries instead of cities, and made some amazing new friends who helped me completely reinvent myself. Plus maybe psychedelics... Definitely also...

      I want to second everything you said.

      I moved countries instead of cities, and made some amazing new friends who helped me completely reinvent myself.

      Plus maybe psychedelics... Definitely also psychedelics.

      3 votes
  3. Adys
    Link
    Oh this one is for meeeeee! Until Belgium, I had never, ever spent more than three years in the same place. I usually moved every year or two. Not just as an adult but my ENTIRE LIFE (I'm in my...

    Oh this one is for meeeeee!

    Until Belgium, I had never, ever spent more than three years in the same place. I usually moved every year or two. Not just as an adult but my ENTIRE LIFE (I'm in my thirties).
    Why? It kind of just... happened. My parents moved around a lot when I was a kid, between various cities in France and Africa, and then divorced, and I kept moving between my mom and dad until I moved with my mom to Greece... only for me to turn 18 and move to England. Then I moved around for jobs and relationships; to the UK, Sweden, Greece, and now Belgium.

    Moving so much has allowed me to learn about my own likes and dislikes. Know exactly what I want out of a city. Brussels was the first city I actually chose, rather than it coming up as my "next spot". And it's also the first time I have felt so exceedingly happy about my choice. I have fallen in love with my city. My new home. I've spent the past three years here in Belgium and, although I've already moved flat once here (lol), I intend to stay. I am hoping to get nationality in two years, once I become eligible for it.

    So, what have I learned from all that?

    • Like @DanBC and @autumn, I dislike moving and am fucking sick of it. Fuckin' hell it's so annoying to move.
    • Like @autumn, I always have too much stuff.
    • When renting, it's nicer to have a furnished apartment, so I don't have to lug all kinds of crap furniture around (or get rid of it when moving out). I have wasted so much money in my life re-buying furniture.
    • Every city is a new experience.
    • Every country reinvents what other countries do, its own way.
    • Meetup is an amazing way of quickly creating a social circle. I adore my current social circle and really don't want to lose them.
    • Today, I am still unable to answer the question "Where are you from?". But I do finally feel like my home is Belgium.
    • For the first time in my life, a year or so ago, I changed my location from "Europe" to "Brussels, Belgium" (and felt good about it).
    • Being from the EU is an incredible privilege, one I treasure greatly. I believe it's a far larger privilege than being from the US (especially western europe).

    I dunno what else to say but feel free to AMA.

    8 votes
  4. soks_n_sandals
    Link
    It's the first time I feel like I'm in a place by choice, as opposed to some larger external factor. I was loosely pushed to move here to D.C., since my job and my wife's job are in different...

    It's the first time I feel like I'm in a place by choice, as opposed to some larger external factor. I was loosely pushed to move here to D.C., since my job and my wife's job are in different places. But, I've found ways to own the move for myself and put down roots.

    The main thing, I think, that living here has shown me is that the location matters less than the people around me. I have made a lot of really good friends here, and gotten back into my hobbies and passions in a way I've missed for years. I've also had to grapple with what it means to have a home in a place other than where you grew up.

    I've started consuming so, so much roots music: folk, country, blues, rock, soul. I'm no longer passively presented with music that's directly tied to my culture, upbringing, and community, so it's taking a lot of intentional work to reconnect myself. More than that, it's really how I want to portray myself. At home, I'm a Southerner because I just am. A lovely essay from Mikayla Jones in Salvation South a few months back had this to say on the topic:

    Over those first two decades of my life, I internalized the coded behaviors and language of our community. My ingrained codes tied neatly to the South ..., but [living in New England] turned the dial of “compare and contrast” up to nine. When I am home, I know how to match expectations: how much wait-time is anticipated when holding open a door for someone, whose first names to add “Ms.” or “Mr.” in front of, and which opinions to put a pin in at friends’ supper tables. Those are not universal rules. Knowing the codes of a community is how you become a part of that community.

    Many people view the South through a negative lens and see a lot of baggage. So it's my opportunity to upset that notion through music, which is an art form I'm well-equipped to interpret. Michael Trotter Jr. of The War and Treaty said during the 2022 Americana Awards ".... if you wanna know what Americana music is, it's the sound of family." I couldn't agree more. It's becoming my way of saying, "Y'all come on and sit down. Let's chat."

    5 votes
  5. [2]
    aphoenix
    Link
    I moved this past summer and have amassed much wisdom. These are things that were thrown in my face via moving, but don't necessarily pertain directly to moving: Get rid of things you don't need,...

    I moved this past summer and have amassed much wisdom. These are things that were thrown in my face via moving, but don't necessarily pertain directly to moving:

    • Get rid of things you don't need, but be mindful and intentional as you do so.
    • You get what you pay for, but there is a point of diminishing returns.
    • A task isn't done until you've cleaned up after it.
    • Most things can be used by someone else; don't default to putting something in a landfill.
    • Every [X] years, do a Purge Of Stuff. Don't wait it out and keep accumulating.

    These pertain directly to moving:

    • If you have a lot of stuff then, if possible, close on your sale at least 3 weeks after your purchase, and spread your move out. .
    • Deep clean before moving anything in. An empty house is 100 times easier to clean.
    • The Garage is not a staging area. If you dump stuff in the garage, it will stay there.
    • Staging your house is worth it. Most people don't see possibilities, they see what's there.
    2 votes
    1. nukeman
      Link Parent
      To add onto your deep clean point; bug bomb before you move in. Even new construction will have issues with bugs, and it can be a lot easier to deal with them before you’ve moved all your stuff in.

      To add onto your deep clean point; bug bomb before you move in. Even new construction will have issues with bugs, and it can be a lot easier to deal with them before you’ve moved all your stuff in.

      4 votes
  6. DanBC
    Link
    That I dislike moving That sack trucks and standard sized boxes make moves much easier, although you have to be careful when you have a box full of books and a box full of clothing and they look...
    1. That I dislike moving

    2. That sack trucks and standard sized boxes make moves much easier, although you have to be careful when you have a box full of books and a box full of clothing and they look the same.

    2 votes