I started this blog with a disclaimer: I strongly dislike moving. We’ve relocated 11 times in 13 years (with our 12th move coming up at the time of this writing), and a lot of those transitions have been really hard. But along the way, we’ve come across quite a few side benefits of the semi-nomadic lifestyle. Maybe not enough to outnumber the difficulties of moving frequently with kids, but still worth adding to our list of silver linings.
If you have a move coming up—or are getting ready to join the military or other relocation-heavy workforce—here are some of the little perks you can look forward to:
- Junk mail companies have a slightly harder time keeping up with you. We still get junk mail, but I shudder to think how many credit card offers, political campaign ads, and unwanted periodicals would be showing up in our mailbox if we’d lived in one place all this time.
- Every move means more change of address forms, and thus more coupons to Home Depot and Pottery Barn! It’s true, friends. Call it more junk mail if you wish. But those coupons sure come in handy when you are replacing your trash cans and shower curtains for the bazillionth time. I’ll take all the help I can get, thank you.
- You never have to do spring cleaning because you are always doing move-out cleaning instead. A rolling stone gathers no moss, I guess? Just remember it’s okay to ask for help if move-out cleaning has you overwhelmed.
- It’s easier to put your memories in chronological order, since practically every year is associated with a different location. When I ask my kids when a certain event happened, they quickly tell me “That was when we lived in Clarksville!” Or “That happened this year, because we had X’s birthday party in that house, remember?” Of course having all your photos stored on our phones in chronological order doesn’t hurt either. But still.
- You have the potential for lots of pen pals. We are still working on this one. I wish I had taken advantage of it more myself. But as the kids get older I plan to reach out to more people to explore the possibility of staying in touch long after the move via letters.
- You get really good at decluttering (and if you’re lucky, some of your kids do too). Seriously. You can’t be a family that moves a lot and still keep all the stuff. You will go insane. But the good thing is that the whole family learns to look at new material acquisitions through a more critical lens. Not all of our kids have an appreciation for minimalism, but they all can understand why it’s best for us to keep personal items pared down. Because everything they keep will eventually be taking up valuable space on a truck. Just like with move-out cleaning, decluttering for a move can be a great chance to let go of the things you know you or your kids won’t need in your new home, and possibly even bless someone else with your grown-out items.
- By the time you are ready to settle down, you know exactly what kind of house, what kind of neighborhood and what city will fit your family, because you have tried them all. We have definitely found this to be true as we’ve lived in more and more different homes. Still crossing our fingers for the chance to put all that wonderful knowledge to use in a long-term home! But even as we’ve continued to relocate, it’s great not to be guessing about what it might be like to live in a certain type of home or neighborhood. From experience we can confidently say there are pros and cons to each, and we can go forward knowing what kind of living situation would be the best fit for our family.
Call them perks, side benefits, or one mama’s crazy attempt to be relentlessly optimistic about our frequent moves. But it’s nice to stop and consider that there are hidden blessings to be found in the trickiest of situations if we’re willing to look for them.
What are some of the unexpected perks of moving you’ve discovered?