But the actual moving and settling process is a great one. It is a reset from one part of your life to a new one. A chance to start fresh with a new living space and make it your own. If nothing else, it is a nice change of scenery.
Metaphorically, moving to a new house or apartment can signal a change from one phase of life to the next. Even if the change is not drastic--you are still at the same school, still in the same relationship--you are a little older and more mature. For example, you may have not been able to cook in a previous apartment, but you taught yourself how in the following house. In short, you are a different person, regardless of any similarities. There are still pieces of yourself left behind, though. I cannot drive past one of my old houses or apartments without experiencing a flood of memories1. And trust me, I make it a point to drive past old haunts.
Like most college students, I moved once every ten months or so, all throughout undergraduate and grad school. And while I always hated unpacking at a new place knowing this was as clean as I would ever see it, I always looked forward to how I would use each area. Granted, after moving, I always told myself I never wanted to go through the process again, but there is an undeniable sense of relief in getting it all done.
Now that I have been at my current address for several years, my belongings have dispersed and settled and I have no interest in boxing it all up. I still have that excitement, however, in the prospect seeing how it would look in a different apartment.
Another nice part of moving is that it may force you to pare down on some unnecessary things. The longer we remain in one place, the more stuff we seem to accumulate. Rather than go through the trouble of boxing it all up and ship it somewhere new, moving allows us to shed some of that weight and trash it. In the end, we are (hopefully) left with the essentials. After a move, we have a new place to start collecting junk again.
For me, I can accomplish at least some of the moving sensation by simply rearranging furniture. This gives the same old area a chance to look fresh and new. Adding new furniture altogether can change the demeanor of a room as well. Even a quick once-over with a vacuum or picking up trash can give that new-place feel. But nothing short of packing up your things and turning in your keys can give that sense of a new phase in life.
1 In fact, my friends and former roommates have a theory that you must go through at least one cycle at another living place before the really great memories start coming back. Something about nostalgia, I’m sure.↩