Creative Problem Solving for Artists: Relocation

Tips for Moving

tips for movingThinking about moving? Whether you’re changing your home address or studio location, moving is hardly ever a good time. Sure the new digs may be bigger and better, but the sorting, packing, cleaning, heavy-lifting and unpacking? Not so fun. In this next section of our Creative Problem Solving series, Holly DeWolf offers tips for moving, to make the process a little less painful. Get DeWolf’s relocation tips below, or read all of our problem-solving tips here.

Keep creating and good luck!


Relocation by Holly DeWolf

Moving always has a fine way of turning your work life upside down—it’s a stressful and tiring thing to dismantle your work space. There are so many things to sort through, organize and box up. And you either need to finish up projects or put them on temporary hold. Moving leaves your business basically up in the air and in the back of a moving van.

“I’m taking down the office now!” Grosse Point Blank

Just showing your house can be a pain, especially if you work at home, and the realtor requires you to leave. You have to stop working on whatever you’re supposed to be doing, tidy up and vacate the premises. Depending on how many people are looking at your home in a week, you could be leaving a lot. It’s frustrating and tiring.

I haven’t stopped moving since 1988; it has been approximately fourteen times total so far. I’d like to say that I will be staying put for a while, but life sometimes has other plans. Being in home-and-office limbo can really put your life up in the air. There’s a lot of waiting that goes on, such as waiting to get your house sold, waiting before you move out, waiting for Internet and phone hookup and waiting to set up your space again.

I asked Roz Fulcher about her many moves across the country and if it altered her career at all. “With our frequent moves, I have found freelancing ideal. The beauty is I can take my job with me. The main difficulty, though, is switching e-mail accounts and contact information for each location. This has been a little easier now that I have an agent.”

What helped me in past moves was having a type of office on wheels. I have a large plastic storage cabinet I can move from room to room and place my mess into in a hurry. It fits nicely under a table so it doesn’t have to stick out like a bull’s-eye. A laptop computer helps so I can actually leave or go outside and still be able to do work.

Not having access to all your much-needed technology is one of the largest pains to deal with. It’s really hard to pack up the computer, which is your networking lifeline and promotion-controlling machine. My advice: Let all your clients know you’re moving beforehand. Have an alternate e-mail account you can access at a friend’s house. Your cell phone will have to be your much-needed lifeline. If you have a blog and participate in online sites, post something that announces you’re in the process of moving and gives an estimated time when you’ll be gracing the Web once again.

When you’re about to set up shop in your new digs, send mailers of your new address. This keeps you motivated, plus it’s a nice distraction while you’re in office limbo. This also makes a great excuse to send out a new promotional series.

Lori Joy Smith just recently moved from the west coast of Canada to Prince Edward Island. “Moving to PEI has changed my life in every way. We have a house and a yard, as opposed to all being cooped up in a tiny apartment. The lower cost of living here allows us to afford full-time day care for my daughter, giving me more time to work. It is generally much less hectic and stressful in Charlottetown than at the corner of Main Street and Broadway in Vancouver. Life feels much simpler.

“I spent a great deal of time in Vancouver doing custom paintings and selling paintings to stores. It was never my intention to get into this market; it just sort of happened. It was nice to have a way to make money in between illustration jobs, but there was always a little voice in the back of my head telling me that it was taking me away from what I really should be doing. I found it hard to turn down a job—how often do you have people willing to pay you money to paint? Moving to PEI has pretty much stopped all of my custom work; I am finding myself with much more time to concentrate on all the big projects I have been dreaming about for so long. I wouldn’t say I have lost any opportunities, they have just shifted.”

Susan Mitchell took a longer trip from Scotland to where she now calls home in Quebec. “Because of the Internet, I don’t think where you live restricts your illustration opportunities anymore. For example, most of my clients are in the United States, and nearly all of the communication and sketching is done via e-mail. The final artwork is couriered to the company, and it usually works very smoothly. In an ideal world, it would be lovely to meet with clients face-to-face to go over ideas, but I have had quite a few chats over the phone trying to fine-tune projects, and that can work just as well.”

One other thing to consider when you’re about to leave your old space for a new one is the possibility of damages. This could involve hard drives, monitors and other very vital office equipment. Things get bumped, dropped and roughed up in the moving van. Your best bet is to get moving insurance. I highly recommend it. Often when you move these things in your own vehicle, some insurance companies won’t cover you. Another thing to consider could be renovations. Your office and home may not be quite ready for you yet. Lastly, rest up because you will be doing some serious unpacking.

After that you can spend time getting used to a new working space and getting back into the swing of things.

Holly DeWolf is an illustrator, mentor, DYI’er, blogger and author of the book Breaking Into Freelance Illustration: The Guide for Artists, Designers and Illustrators. She currently lives in New Brunswick, Canada, living the creative freelancer’s dream.

Excerpted from Breaking Into Freelance Illustration © 2009 by Holly DeWolf. Used with the kind permission HOW Books, an imprint of F+W, a Content + eCommerce Company. Visit or call (800)258-0929 to obtain a copy.


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