I Sold My Home And Moved Across The Country During The 2020 Pandemic
Have you ever told yourself “I’d NEVER do that”, or “We are NEVER moving.” And truly believed that you would NEVER__fill in the blank__?
I will NEVER_______.
We will NEVER_______.
The older I get the more I realize the word ‘never’ becomes more of a lie than reality.
If your parents are like mine, at least once while growing up they counseled you to, “Never say never”. That quote rings far more true now than I ever believed in my younger years.
Had you told me, even one year ago, that the year Clark and I would finally decide to pack up and move across the Country (which was something I once said I’d NEVER do, because our home was perfect, and we LOVED Pennsylvania) would have been during a WORLD PANDEMIC, I would have laughed at you.
Why, with our depression and anxiety, would we choose to do something this stressful and life-changing when the world is in chaos, rampant with protests, economic collapse, deadly virus and everything else you can imagine… I have no idea why we chose now… but sometimes life pushes you to take action when it NEEDS to happen, regardless of what the rest of the world is doing.
What’s even more interesting, is that this whole experience has been one of the most positive life-changing experiences of my life.
Moving through the motions of this experience, the ups and the very stressful downs; it brought me closer to God than I had ever felt before.
Perhaps that is the whole point of ‘why now?’… it needed to happen during a pandemic. In what other circumstance would we have ever seen so clearly, that a power much greater than us – or anyone on earth – can make all things possible. That even during such chaotic times in the world, where we would have every reason to fear, be extra cautious, and choose not to move, He would guide us safely through every step of the way as we proceeded forward in faith, being careful to make wise decisions throughout the entire process.
I doubted heavily in the beginning. I had an emotional meltdown multiple times throughout the process. There were many times when we wondered if it was still going to happen. But in those moments where we questioned if we were still going to proceed forward, much like anxiety behaves – painting an illusion of fear that looks and feels very real, we found in the end when we faced our worries, there was always a solution. 💚
We found that each stumbling block was an opportunity to grow closer to God, and that is how this strange plan to move during a pandemic became one of the best decisions we could have made.
I wanted to remember this time in my life, and so I’ve written down 5 lessons I learned during this process of selling a home and moving across the Country during a pandemic. Hopefully what I’ve learned through this experience can be helpful for you or someone you love. 💚
You may be wondering whether or not its safe to move during these uncertain times, or you’re experiencing something in life that’s pressing you to make a big life decision. Whatever your situation may be, the suggestions below hopefully will bring some clarity and direction in your life.
1) Plan Ahead
After all was said and done, our truck packed and we were able to quietly say good-bye to a wonderful home we lived in for 5 years, a wonderful town and state we lived in for a total of 7 years, we found that the time we took to plan ahead gave us a peaceful ending to a wonderful chapter of our lives.
We had made the decision to move back in Fall of 2019. We set a goal to list our home for sale in early Spring. Knowing we had several months to prepare, that gave me time to give my close friends a heads up of our plans, and I was able to map out my ‘plan of attack’ for cleaning and packing the house.
Some days I was able to go through a lot personal items in the house, other days it was tough to pack even just one box. But nothing had to be rushed, and that really helped me manage the stress that comes with moving.
2) Small Challenges
If you think of moving, it’s natural to look at your house and feel overwhelmed… like “Oh boy, that’s A LOT of stuff to pack!”
What helped me hold on to my sanity, was to take one room at a time. Knowing I had enough time to prepare, helped me to know I could tackle one section at a time.
I would recommend writing down your plan. Make one list of the BIG picture, and then a separate list of what you plan to do for the day. Make a checklist of what needs to be done, and celebrate after you finish checking off each item in the list.
On the really bad days, the ‘I don’t even have the energy to shower’ type of days, give yourself permission to do just one box. You could even call it a ‘one box day‘. Because something is better than nothing, and one box keeps you moving forward. I had several of these days, and the miracle that happened for me was proof that those one box days made all the difference in the end when we were able to pack everything and be done by our deadline. 🙂
3) FOCUS – Best Possible Outcome
It’s easy to get discouraged during a big life change. Worry can stack up, especially when the world seems to be on fire – making an already stressful event under normal circumstances, that much more stressful.
In the beginning I had big concerns about people walking through our home, wondering what they might touch, how do we keep track of keeping the entire house clean, will people actually wear masks, etc etc… I was reading news headlines about the market crashing, gas stations closing, borders closing, everything was stacking up to seem like red flags “DON’T DO IT!”… but if I ignored all those ‘what ifs’, we still felt impressed that it is important for us to move and be closer to family – NOW.
We prayerfully made the decision to set our ‘what if’ concerns aside, and focus on the end goal. We chose to focus on what is the BEST possible outcome in this decision to move. How can everything turn out right? What if everyone respected our home, wore masks, and avoided touching a lot of surfaces? What if our home sold quickly and we didn’t have to have a lot of people walking through? What if we found a buyer who made the whole process easy and drama-free?
While we slipped up and stumbled into pockets of frustration, worry, and stress; overall we were able to redirect our focus on ‘what if it worked out?’ and ‘what if it actually ends up being super easy, we remain healthy, and never had to worry?‘
It worked for us. We accepted an offer within 2 weeks, we were able to have even more time to prepare the home in cleaning and packing it, we found awesome buyers, and the road trip drive out to UT was WAY easy, safe, and BEAUTIFUL. Redirecting our focus on the best possible outcome, WORKED! 🙂
4) Make Your World Small
Ok, it’s all fine and good to say “just keep focus on the positive’, but sometimes it all collides and the overwhelm rises to the surface. You might need to declare “I’m having a cave day – leave me alone!” to those around you.
For me it was all the negative news headlines. The reports of the virus spreading, the drama with the presidential elections, the ever-changing guidelines on physical distancing, masks, and “don’t do this” oh wait, you can actually do that, but now you can’t do this – confusion. The world went from “How can I help you” positive news, to people attacking others over the debate of whether someone is wearing a mask or not. It all seemed to be growing more and more negative and it was really hard to hear people being mean to each other, and it all seemed too big and overwhelming. So I made my world small.
I took a break from social media, quieted the outside voices and took back my power. I was intentional over what I allowed myself to listen to. I simplified the ‘covid guidelines’ and told myself I couldn’t control what others did, but I can wear a mask when going into a store, I will keep my hands washed, keep my house clean, and keep physical distance. That’s it. I won’t worry about anything else.
When I simplified my smaller world and took a break from the outside noise, I was able to collect myself and regain a more positive perspective on life.
5) Ask For Help
At heart we want to be superhuman and ‘do it all’ ourselves, and we never intentionally want to be a burden on others. However, the truth is — we ALL need help.
Clark and I both agreed that we could not have done this without the help of others, so here’s the list I would strongly recommend you take the time to put in place:
- Find someone who you can trust to LISTEN to your frustrations. Someone you can call often, who won’t be bothered by the several calls to VENT. Unload all your positive and negative emotions to them. Maybe this is your therapist, your mom or dad, your sibling or best friend. But find at least one person who you can shed your ugly side and positive side. You’ll be experiencing them all! 🙂
- REMIND YOURSELF OFTEN that you cannot do it all – it’s too much for just one person. So write down everything that needs to be done, and ask yourself if there is anyone in your life who can help take charge of any of the list items. Can someone drive the truck for you? Can someone drive with you?
- YOU NEED HELP PACKING – ask for help with packing boxes in your home.
- YOU NEED HELP LOADING THE TRUCK – this is huge. If you’re wondering if you can afford the help loading the boxes and furniture into the truck – YES, you should do everything you can to find a way to afford it. It’s so worth it! Maybe you can find some friends, or people in your church who could help for free, but it’s totally worth the money to hire the help.
- YOU NEED HELP UNLOADING – the same with loading the truck — you need help unloading.
- YOU NEED HELP UNPACKING – there’s no shame in asking for help. Ask a trusted friend or family member to come and help you unpack, because leaving your home unfinished can be a slow-festering layer of stress on the mind. The sooner you can get your home in order, the sooner you can relieve your mind of the burden of stress of ‘unfinished projects’.
Remember, it feels good to serve and help others. You cannot do it all, we were never created to walk this earth alone. All good-hearted people want to help, so let others help you. By you allowing others in to your world to help you, you in return are helping them feel good. It’s a beautiful circle of love 🙂
I hope my experience of moving in unusual times can help bring comfort and inspiration to your mind. If you found this article helpful, please feel free to share with your friends and family. 🙂 💚