How moving house changes you

Moving is all about change. During your life, few events have the transformative power that moving to a new home possesses. Moving is much more than just a physical relocation from point A to point B. Whether it’s a downsize or a leap to an entirely new city, the act of moving house can be a journey of self-discovery.

Leave behind the comfortable

It’s often said that home is where the heart is. However, when you decide to uproot your life and relocate, your heart temporarily finds itself in a state of suspension. You leave behind the familiar, the comfortable and the routine to embrace the unknown.

But it’s when you’re faced with new situations that you often discover hidden strengths, resilience and adaptability you never knew you possessed.

One of the most significant changes that moving house brings is the opportunity to redefine yourself. You have a blank canvas on which to paint the next chapter of your life. It’s a chance to say goodbye to any negative aspects of your old lifestyle and embrace the new.

The art of letting go

One of the most profound ways moving house changes you is by teaching you the art of letting go. We accumulate possessions over the years, many of which hold sentimental value or memories. Yet, as you prepare to move, you’re confronted with the need to declutter and pare down your belongings.

The process of sorting through your possessions can be emotionally charged. It forces you to assess the true worth of your belongings and make decisions about what to keep and what to release. This act of letting go isn’t limited to physical possessions; it also extends to emotional baggage and outdated beliefs. The more you’re willing to shed, the lighter you become, making room for new experiences and perspectives.

Navigating the maze of packing, sorting and purging, forces you to examine the significance of your possessions and prioritise what truly matters.

The chance to meet new people

Moving house gives you the opportunity to expand your social circle. Once you’ve moved, introduce yourself to your new neighbours as quickly as possible so you can start to get to know them. Having a good support system around you in your new home will help you feel part of the street and the local community. Once you’ve unpacked, invite your neighbours, friends or family around for a housewarming or barbecue.

Expand your habitus

Habitus is a concept developed by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. It refers to the set of socially learned qualities, behaviours and expectations that shape an individual’s perception of the world and their place within it. Habitus is deeply ingrained and largely unconscious, it’s essentially the things you do without thinking – the beliefs, norms and ways of doing things that are a part of you.

It can be simple things, such as ordering coffee a certain way or having a favourite colour, or bigger things such as thinking about the world with a certain perspective. To expand your habitus, you need to see new ways of doing things and imagine doing them yourself.

When you move, you change the field you occupy. To adapt, you’ll likely watch how other people act in your new field and adopt some lifestyle changes. For example, moving to a new region or country often exposes you to a different culture, language and set of social norms. Your habitus may need to adapt to align with the cultural expectations of your new environment. This might include changes in language, dietary preferences, attire and social customs.

Making a sea or tree change will come with a change in lifestyle options. You may find yourself adapting your daily routines, leisure activities and even clothing choices to align with the lifestyle of your new area. For example, moving to a seaside town might lead to more beach-oriented activities and attire.

City vs country

Research from 2019 looks into how media affects lifestyle migrants in rural Queensland, and how place changes people. Many of the women interviewed described themselves as a city girl or a country girl. These women framed their identity in relation to their location.

The women who called themselves city girls often chose activities that took them to places where they felt they could relate more – such as the shops, galleries and other amenities of the city. Their identification with the city resulted in weaker bonds locally and sometimes meant that they chose to return to the city. Certainly, they were less satisfied with country life.

On the other hand, women who identified as country girls engaged in activities accessible in their rural locations, including crafts, cooking, gardening and outdoor activities. Their free time reinforced their emplaced nature and strengthened their ties to their place and the people in it. They adapted to being in the country and were happy with where they lived.

Of course, the nature of the move, whether it’s a short-distance relocation or a major international move, can significantly impact the degree of change experienced.

When was the last time you moved? Do you think it changed you? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Moving house 101: Take the stress out of your next big move

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.


  1. As a child we moved a lot not just houses but countries as well ,I went to 19 schools in 3 countries in Africa and after I got married we also moved a few times, first from a flat to a house then to another country. After another few years we moved to Australia and have since moved 3 times first from a small rented house then to our own house and now we live in a retirement village.I now think this is our final move. I don’t think it did me much harm nor our children.

  2. I’ve recently made the ‘big move’ from one major regional city to the largest inland city in NSW. I tried to do it last year, but no landlords wanted me. Now, this year, I’m here in my new ‘home’, and loving it. There’s so much more to explore. It’s the city of my conception, but not my birth (my dad moved in his forces position 2 months before I was born), so I’m back to my roots.

    I needed to move from my previous city due to some ‘bad’ things happening. Now I’m very happy, have connected with my new Church, and having been there before, I’m now getting to know them better. I’ve also got my craft, which helps in many ways – sitting in the doctor’s surgery, or even at the local botanic gardens, I’ve received many oohs and aahs at the projects I’m working on, and some are even interested in learning how to do what I’m doing.

    I’m now in my element.

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