There comes a time in many people’s lives where they find themselves making a move. This can present some logistical issues when you have pets in your family as well!
Moving itself can be a stressful endeavor. Consider using some of the following best practices to ensure your transition to your new home goes as smoothly as possible.
Get Ready to Declutter
One way to make your move easier is to declutter before you begin to pack up your belongings. If you have lived in your current home for a long time, it is likely you have accumulated things that you really do not need to hold onto moving forward.
Moving can be expensive, so it is prudent to declutter before you start packing to avoid having to pay for extra boxes to move belongings you don’t even need. Additionally, once you are in your new smaller space, the last thing you will want to do is figure out where to store all your extra furniture or clutter. Only plan on moving the essentials, and your new home will feel more open and spacious from the start.
If decluttering is a struggle for you, invite friends and family to help you walk through the process. It can be beneficial to make three piles as you look through your possessions: one to keep, one to donate, and one for things that just need to go in the trash. At the end you’ll feel incredibly accomplished of the progress you’ve made for your new home!
Make a Designated Space in Your New Home For Your Pet
In order to make your new pet feel welcome in their new home, set up a cozy corner somewhere in the new space that is just for them. Make sure to bring some of their long standing favorite toys, bowls, and beds over with you even if you intend to replace them in the future. Animals are comforted when they have familiar smells and belongings around them.
You certainly do not need to dedicate a whole room to your pets, but both dogs and cats enjoy having a designated place for their bed and food in any home. When your pets see their familiar belongings in the new home, it will help them feel at peace in the new space. This will lead to a more seamless transition to the new home.
Introduce the New House Slowly
Animals become accustomed to their every day routine, and often can act out or become upset when too much change takes place too quickly. Seeing as you cannot talk to them to communicate your new lifestyle changes, you must use nonverbal cues to show your pets they are safe in the new space and reassure them through lots of praise and love.
One tried and true method of making this adjustment less scary for your pets is to make the transition to the new home slowly over time. Some people find that it works well to introduce their pets to a smaller closed off area in the new home first, and let them get comfortable with one or two rooms before letting them loose in the entire house.
If you have a two story home, consider keeping your pets on one level for a few weeks until they begin to adjust. The chaos of moving boxes can also be overwhelming for pets, so it is often better to wait until you’ve unpacked more of your home before introducing them to an entire space.
Minimize Stress for Your Pets
Pets are also very perceptive and will quickly pick up on stress and change in a home, so it is important when making a big life transition such as downsizing to give your pet a lot of reassurance during the transition. Try to keep as much of their routine the same as possible in the new home by feeding them at the same time and continuing to have daily play time. This will help signal to your pet that there is no reason to be stressed in the new home.
If your pet does begin to act out during a move, try to be supportive and understanding of their feelings and do not immediately rush to scold them. It is understandable that there may be an adjustment period, and it is not fair to harshly scold them as they get settled in.
Spend More Time Outside
When you downsize your home, that often means compromising on the amount of square footage inside your home. While this can be a positive thing for your family if you are moving out of a home that was getting too expensive or too big to manage, it can be a hard adjustment on your pets or kids who are used to having extra room to play indoors.
If you are downsizing to a home that has significantly less square footage, your pet may feel cramped and will not be able to achieve the same level of daily activity. To combat this, allow them to spend more time outside. That might mean taking them on longer walks, visiting a dog park to let them run around, or scheduling designated outdoor playtime to make sure they are getting all their wiggles out on a daily basis.
Stay Home and Make Memories in the New Place
After the big transition of moving, your pets will be looking to you for more support than they usually need. Animals greatly value spending quality time together, so the best way to ensure they remain happy and calm in the weeks following a move is to try to avoid planning any big trips or occasions that would cause you to be away from the house for long periods of time.
Moving is always a process especially when it involves our pets, but there is so much joy in getting to decorate and make memories in a new home with your family! Overall the key to a successful move with pets is to get very organized prior to the move, work hard to avoid moving unnecessary clutter, and be prepared to work with your pet to help them adjust in the first few weeks following the move. If you do all this, everyone, including our pets, should feel happy and settled in their new home in no time!