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From the Suburbs to the City – A Moving Guide

As DINKs, we have all sorts of unique flexibility & freedom in our lives, so taking advantage of an opportunity to move somewhere new, comes mores easily to us. Recently, my husband & I took the plunge and moved from our house & yard in the suburbs of Boise, Idaho to a hi-rise condo in the heart & soul of downtown San Francisco – That’s one big change in lifestyle! We are loving the energy in the city and are excited to explore our new ‘hood’. But we found that keeping these 10 things in mind along the way during our move, maintained our connection as a couple & made a potentially stressful life change, an exciting new adventure!

1) The change will be both exciting AND scary, so revel in your boldness!

You represent the small percent who are actually transforming a common daydream…into a reality! Rejoice! Do you know how many people fantasize about moving to a new place? A LOT. Do you know how many actually make it happen? Very few. And childfree couples are probably the highest percentage in that small category. So be proud of what a bold move you are making! But even though the decision was mutual and your new life will be exciting, its perfectly normal to be a little scared too. But just remember, you & your partner are a powerful force & taking on the unknown as a team can change any anxiety into a sense of adventure!

2) Have more than one reason for the move.

There is usually one primary driving force for a big move. Many DINKs are career focused, so it could be a job opportunity or madated work requirement. But it could simply be because you are ready for a change in your life and a new place to live has its appeal. But if you do have some control in the matter, having more than one reason to move helps soften the abruptness of the change, and will give you a broader perspective from which to survery your new home. Whether its related to your career or simply out of personal choice, ask yourself: why is this change needed in our lives? How will we both benefit? What are some other reasons (aside from the primary) that makes this particular new city a good place to call home? Considering all these aspects will prevent you from relying too much on just one to fill your needs, and will ease your expectation for instant adaptation.

3) Make sure both partners can survive, emotionally & financially.

Moving to a new city is a big deal, even for DINKs. Sure, we don’t have worry about kids adjusting to a new school or routine, but we still need to be good partners & make sure the change is right for each other. Will each of you be able to find work? What is your partner giving up to move? Is he/she ready to give this up for the needed change? Check in with each other along the way as you plan your move. You may find that one of you has a stronger sense of ‘moving towards something’ & the other a sense of ‘moving away from something’. There is nothing wrong with either, but they are different emotional states & a good partner will acknowledge this & talk about both.

4) Plan for the move on both ends & save money so you have some flexibility.

Any big change takes place more smoothly with good planning. And it starts with saving or setting aside some money for the change. Save some cash from each payday for obvious things like the moving costs themselves. But also, consider the money needed if one of you doesn’t start work right away. What if you need to sign your new lease early to get the place you want, or if you have to carry the home you are selling or renting for a month or two after you leave? Timing the move perfectly with lease or purchase agreements may not always happen. Make a list of all the little details at both ends & create a timeline of when they need to be done. Include everything from closing out & restarting services & utlities (don’t forget any penalties you may have to pay for ending a contract early!) to planning for & prepariing your old home for sale or rent . Ticking off lists will not only give you direction, but will give you both a sense of accomplishment as you get things done.

5) Understand the trade-offs – some things just won’t compare, but others will be an upgrade!

It’s rare that any move is all positive. Even when change is greatly needed, you no doubt picked the place you lived before the move for a reason. And you will no doubt miss certain aspects of that place. And that’s okay. Trying to play ‘Polly Positive’ all the time isn’t possible. You are leaving some good friends, some favorite restaurants & some great places you loved to hang out. So recognize them, give them credit & then sit down & talk about all the cool things that are going to change for you both! Again, dialogue is key. You both made this decision & acknowleding some losses will not detract from your enthusiasm for your upcoming gains. It just means you are human!

6) Be prepared to downsize – Do you really need all that stuff?

If you move from the suburbs to the city like we did, be prepared to downsize! One of the trade-offs for being in the ‘heart of the action’ is that it often comes at a premium. So you find that what you can afford in your new place, is half the size of where you left. You may not even have a garage anymore! So take this opportunity to assess what you really NEED. Ask yourself: have we used this item in the last 10 months? What can we sell? We don’t have kids, but we DINKs can sure collect a lot of adult ‘toys’ and recreation gear! Do you use them all on a regular basis? Will you use it when you move? Could you buy it again later if you regained interest? Now, is the time to be honest with yourself. Give yourself permission to have one large ‘personal box’ for all that memoribilai & childhood momentos, and then consider what you can sell on ebay or craigslist. You may be surprised at how much extra cash you will have when you liquidate those items that are collecting dust in your garage. And don’t forget that donations to local chartities or the Salvation Army are tax-deductible – DINKs need as many of those as we can get!

7) Have a plan for dealing with the stress related to the move.

Ok, so you planned everything down to a ‘T’ and you are both excited & talking about the change. Despite all of this, there is no doubt going to be some stressful situations come up that you will need to deal with. For us, we were both working full-time up till the week we moved, my husband was traveling 3 days a week, and we were trying to sell stuff, pack, get the house ready to rent….ack! That’s a lot going on all at once! So make sure you know what your ‘hot buttons’ are and what you need from each other to try to minimize the complexity of all that is going on. For us, Nic commiting to a list of ‘items to complete’ on the weekends, made his weekday travel more tolerable & I didn’t feel like I was doing everything alone. Nic asked me to really scrutinize which items I could get rid of, as I tend to be a bigger ‘saver’ than he is. So this made him feel like he was being considered. We also reserved one evening each week to just relax & be together, watching a movie, drinking some wine or seeing friends. We still had our moments of frustration but when they did occur, we had a better understanding of how they were triggered & how best to handle it.

8) Plan for the change in your social circle & have a plan to create a new one!

Leaving good friends behind can be the hardest part of any move. Being DINKs, we found that a lot of our friends were having kids and were becoming less available. So our social circle was shrinking anyways. Although this wasn’t the primary reason for our move, it did give an exciting new dimension to the adventure. But sometimes living in the city requires a greater effort to start from scratch & meet new friends. City dwellers tend to be transient or work-focused, and can sometimes fall into the trap of thinking its too difficult to connect. But don’t be discouraged! The best way to meet new friends is to start a pattern of going out & being social yourselves and try to spread the word through sites like DINKlife.com’s MeetOut page, or other social networking tools that lets people know your interests & that you are new to the area. Try starting a social networking group for an activity you both are into. Search for local neighborhood or city fundraising events you both can be part of. Volunteer, join a running or hiking group, take a couples cooking class or just show up at the same coffee shop every Saturday morning and start chatting with familiar faces you have seen there repeatedly. Yes, it takes some ‘guts’ to reach out to others in this way, but remember there are two of you to take on this challenge. So at least you know you will never be sitting at a bar alone while you are waiting for someone to show up to your MeetOut – ha!

9) Stay healthy! Don’t let the planning be an excuse not to exercise

DINKs are very concious of maintaining their looks & sexuality for each other. But if you are both working full time & doing all the things needed to plan a move, you can easily let your workout schedule fall to the wayside. Its unrealistic to think you can do it all, and some areas of your life will take a hit while you are planning your move. But try to at least factor in 60% of your workouts into the plan. It’s a great stress reliever & you will feel good that you are staying commited to your health. Including your partner will keep you both on track. Or include those friends you are leaving behind – that way you combine exercise with letting them know how much you will miss them in your daily life.

10) Plan a few days to relax & explore your new home

Well, you made it. Your boxes are unpacked (or you can at least see the floor & you have your bed put together). But before you jump right back into work mode & social circle creating, take a few days to relax with your partner & explore your new neighborhood. Not only will it familiarize you with all the services, restaurants & great new haunts in your area, but will acknowledge to you both what a great deicison you made & what a rewarding experience this wiill be. Besides, a few of those new rooms could stand to be broken in with a bit of sexual ‘blessing’, don’t you think? ;)

Have you ever made a big move to a new city?

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