Moving is one of those universal experiences where no matter who you are, where you’re going, we all can agree it’s a challenging event. Moving with kids? A whole ‘nother layer of hard.
Can it be exciting and fun? Yes, but it’s definitely a lot of work.
In the beginning of 2021, my family of five moved from our home state of Minnesota to Missouri then back again after eight months.
No, it was not planned. No, I will never do that again. (I have now called it our Pandemic Move.)
Yes, I will share what I’ve learned to help make your move smoother whether you’re going across town or across the country.
When packing, do it with the lens of “What do I want to keep?”
Just because you are moving does not mean everything you currently own needs to go with. I’m a big fan of decluttering pre-move and not after because you’re already assessing your things. There’s no point of moving something to your next place just to donate it there.
If you can, get help.
Whether it’s hiring movers, a babysitter, or asking family and friends to lend a hand, you won’t regret it. You will regret pulling a muscle or yelling at your kids- don’t ask me how I know.
Find ways to include your kids in the process.
Okay, I did just tell you to ask for help with the kids but also ask your kids for help too, if they are old enough. The act of carrying belongings out from one place and into another can support a healthy transition.
Unpack kids’ bedrooms first.
Unpacking feels overwhelming because it can feel like there’s so much to do and you don’t know where to start. May I recommend your kiddos’ bedroom first? You can’t unpack a house in a day but you can unpack their room. It also helps them have a place to be in while you’re busy.
Moving will affect your kids to some degree.
Even the “happiest” move can produce strong emotions. Shelter is security. The best thing you can do is to be a safe person for them. That means taking extra care of yourself so you can do that for them.
Pack up like you’re going on a short trip.
Use your suitcases and backpacks and put in a few days worth of clothing for everyone as well as your toiletries and personal electronics. Extra credit if you live out of these for a day or two before you move- it will help you figure out what you really need and use.
Make an open-first box.
Trust me on this. If you take nothing from this post, please at least take this tip! There’s nothing like being exhausted, full of coffee, and there’s not a piece of toilet paper in sight. Again, don’t ask me how I know this. In the box, put things you’ll need right away like said toilet paper rolls, a box cutter, towels, cleaning supplies, a shower curtain and hooks, garbage bags, etc. Also, store this box in your car for easy access, not the moving truck.
Have groceries delivered.
Personally, I don’t mind grocery shopping. I don’t order groceries. I don’t even do drive-up. But in the case of a move, I would argue that seeing bags of food on your doorstep after that long day is the equivalent of a 6-year-old waking up to donuts and presents on their birthday.
Use sticky notes around your home when unpacking.
This will help train everyone to learn where things are in the new place. Bonus tip: You can move the notes around to plan where to put things.
It’s normal to question your decision.
Take nothing you think of when you’re surrounded by boxes and boxes of stuff seriously! But if you find yourself still questioning the move later when all is settled, it’s okay to reconsider it. The best thing about moving is that it can be done again.
Just maybe not in the same year, if you value your back muscles.