#247: Moving & Relocation Vocabulary: English Phrasal Verbs, Idioms, and Collocations

Aug 3, 2022 | Advanced Vocabulary, Collocations (Vocabulary), English Conversation

If you’ve ever moved to a new home across town, moved to a new office due to a job change, or relocated to an entirely new country, then you know exactly how disruptive the process can be.

Then, doing it in another language? Yikes! 

I’ve been sharing my cross-country move experience with members of my Confident Women Community and today I want to share must-have phrasal verbs, idioms, and collocations so you have all the English vocabulary you need to chat with friends, family, and coworkers about your moving and relocation experiences.

To navigate today’s topic and get you ready to have easy conversations in English on the topic of moving, we’ll explore 4 strategies to make the move process less stressful. 

Along the way, you’ll learn more than 15 must-have phrasal verbs, idioms, and collocations.

Moving & Relocation Vocabulary: Must-Have Phrasal Verbs, Idioms, and Collocations

Strategy #1: Make Space For Emotions

Let’s say you or a loved one has accepted a new job and that means moving to a new city or even a new country. 

Do you know what’s coming? 

An emotional rollercoaster

Describing relocation as an emotional rollercoaster means the situation or experience will alternate between making you feel excited, exhilarated, or happy and making you feel sad, disappointed, or desperate.

Exhilarated to desperate and back again. That’s quite an emotional experience.

The best thing you can do is prepare yourself for the emotional fallout of moving.

Emotional fallout refers to the anxiety, stress, or trauma that occurs after a major event or crisis. Sometimes, we experience emotional fallout even when there’s no crisis; usually, when we’re struggling to come to terms with a rational decision (ex. moving).

From the moment you make the decision to move and then during your move and even after, you may feel anxious, apprehensive, stressed, or resistant to change. You may even experience grief in relation to leaving behind your current place. 

How do you overcome emotional fallout?

Give yourself time and space to process these emotions; in other words, tune into your needs.

To process means to think about a piece of information, or a concept, to absorb it and/or accept it.

Do you need to keep busy or slow down? Do you need to talk about it with someone or spend time alone? Do you need to do research to help you organize and plan? 

Strategy #2: Stay Organized

Most importantly, avoid flooding – a feeling of emotional and/or mental overwhelm.

The best way to avoid flooding is by prioritizing downtime to avoid burnout. Additionally, prioritize the most important tasks on your moving checklist and take into account the time you can dedicate to packing and preparing amidst a busy schedule.

To take something into account means to consider something when judging a situation.


In addition, help others to prepare for the impact of your move, including time away during the preparation phase, by communicating your needs, important dates, and goals for a period of time. 

The following verbs are useful for communicating plans with friends, family, or coworkers: 

  • Move out: to leave one’s home in order to go live someplace else
    • Ex. We need to move out by Friday, so I’ll need to pack during my free time. 
  • Move away: to leave a place for a new place
    • Ex. My husband and I aren’t moving out of state, but we’re moving away from the city.
  • Move into: to move one’s possessions into a new location to make it one’s home
    • Ex. I’ll be moving into the apartment on Wednesday, so I will be offline for the next two days.
  • Pack up: to put things into boxes/bags in order to take with you somewhere
    • Ex. There’s quite a bit to pack up here in my office, so I’ll be focused on prioritizing that for this week. 
  • Load up: to fill something with many items until it’s full
    • Ex. The movers won’t deliver our items until two weeks later. Would you mind helping us load up the truck with our essentials? 
  • Settle on: to decide on something to make a decision
    • Ex. Let’s settle on the 18th as the last day for any meetings.

Let me pause here before we get to Strategy 3 because you’ve just learned 6 essential phrasal verbs to use when talking about moving. 

And you might be wondering the best way to practice this new vocabulary so you remember it. 

I have 2 recommendations: 

  1. Review my lesson on how to Learn and Remember Vocabulary.
  2. Practice this new vocabulary with speaking. In my free How to Say What You Want training, I share my step-by-step process for improving overall confidence in speaking. It’s the same method I use with my students.

Strategy #3: Ask For Help 

Sometimes you need an extra set of hands to help you take on the mountainous task of moving. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family to help you pack or organize.

The same can also be said for emotional and mental support. When you move to your new place you may experience culture shock or, in some cases, reverse culture shock

Culture shock is a feeling of confusion and uncertainty felt by someone visiting or moving to another place/country.

  • Ex. In North America, it’s customary to tip the waiter 15-20%. However, in some countries, like Japan, it’s considered rude to tip. 

Reverse culture shock is a common feeling that occurs when transitioning back to a particular culture; in many ways, it’s a readjustment. 

  • Ex. If you lived in Japan for a few years and moved back to the US recently, you might feel confused or shocked by the expectation of a tip. 

Regardless of where you move, some form of culture shock and reverse culture shock can occur. During these times, it’s important to tap into your support network (i.e. friends and family) to help you transition smoothly.

To tap into means to access a resource or object for your advantage.

Strategy #4: Put Down Roots

Your new place and community may seem daunting. That said, it’s essential to put down roots to overcome feelings of uncertainty or anxiety. 

To put down roots means to settle into your new life and feel that you belong

If you’re an introvert like me, it can be a REAL challenge to resist the urge to hunker down, to stay in a particular place (i.e. inside your home) for a long time to protect oneself.

However, to start feeling comfortable, it’s important to explore your new location. 

This might include going to local events, starting new traditions, building new relationships, saying yes to invitations, or building a new routine.


While you do all of this, remember that you’re going through a major transition, patience is key. Don’t feel that you have to rush.

Transition: a change from one form or situation to another

Focus on creating positive or familiar attachments that will help you settle into your new place worry-free.

Settle into: ​to start to feel comfortable in a new home, job, etc.

For example: 

  • Do activities that made you happy in your old place
  • Unpack and fill your space with familiar items

Time to practice this essential vocabulary for conversations on moving and relocation.

After you review the lesson, consider these two questions.

  1. Choose 3-4 idioms, phrasal verbs, or collocations from today’s lesson and create example sentences for each.
  2. What tips would you offer to first-time movers?

Share your answers with me in the comment section below and aim to use key vocabulary from today’s lesson.

    ~ Annemarie


    P.S. Are you looking for a community to provide support, help you stay motivated, and guarantee that you grow? Check out our Confident Women Community.

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