On Transitioning with Little Ones--How to Move Your Family Well

My eldest daughter has moved 11 times in her 4 years of life. My youngest two have each moved 6 times. Needless to say, we've had to learn over the years how to do transition with young children in tow. Moving was difficult enough when it was just my husband and I, but when we started adding children, moving became a whole other ball game.

In the past 2 weeks, I've had several friends separately approach me to ask for tips on how to move well with little ones. I compiled a list for one friend, and thought I would go ahead and share it with all of you. This is an area where I'd be more than happy to let my loads of crazy experience be to your benefit!

Hope you find this helpful!

Moving Advice (from an experienced moving mom) to Mothers 

-Don't feel like you have to pack room by room. Pack in order of what gets used least to most often. For example, even a month(s) before you move you could pack up pictures off the walls. Especially pack up the things that take time such as fragile decor items that you'll need to wrap carefully in paper (label those small items also!!! believe me when you have 20 frames wrapped in paper and you really just want to hang one specific frame,  you won't want to unwrap them all to find the one.) 

-Small tip--wrap your light bulbs in socks that are missing a partner. Keeps them really tight and secure so they won't break! And neat and tidy. Take the time to wrap your breakables. It's time consuming, but it's better than getting to your new home and finding a favorite item is broken from rough movers or the rough ride in the moving truck.

-Go label crazy!!! Label absolutely everything. Nothing is worse than moving into your new home and needing a measuring cup for a recipe and having no idea which box it's in because your kitchen boxes are only labeled "KITCHEN". Write detailed lists on the boxes of what is inside. If it's a "random" box, make sure to highlight what is in that random box. 

-Try to avoid the last minute "throw it all in" box. Instead, save out a small box for each room or area that can take last minute items. That way you won't be overwhelmed by a last minute box that's got a kids socks, someone's toothbrush, the salt, a dog chew toy and a handheld vacuum cleaner all together. When you're unpacking it's overwhelming enough!! 

-Buy paper plates/bowls/cups/utensils for your last days in your old home. You will want to take your time packing dishes and glasses, so use paper for a week or so. This way you won't be messing with washing dishes and guessing on when you should pack what plates/bowls. Treat it almost like camping your last week. 

-Keep a method to madness. When you move in, be sure to have your boxes stacked neatly rather than all over the floor or in a door way. The reality is that you'll have boxes remaining unpacked for months after your move and to have them arranged neatly in your new home is one main way that you'll stay calm in your chaos. 

-Pack a separate bag with bed linens and pajamas for every member of your family labeled and sorted. Include any nighttime routine items (toothbrushes, face wash, vitamins, etc.). Keep this bag SACRED and always know where it is!!! This way when you're exhausted your first night you won't have to go searching for bed linens to put the kids to bed (or to fall into bed yourself!)

-When your movers (professional or just your friends!!) take things out of the truck, you'll want them to walk things right to the rooms they belong in to save you having to move it later. So label every box with the room it's going to. Also, try to think out in your mind where all your furniture will be going in your new home so you have a clear direction to give to the movers when they ask you where you want things. They'll all be sweaty and asking for a quick response and you'll feel put on the spot (haha talking from experience!) So have a clear plan already formed.

-Plan to order take out your first day in your new home. You won't want to dig out the items to cook, and it will be a fun reward for you all. (and a fun memory!)

-Once you tackle the unpacking process, try to focus in one room at a time. For survival, you  might have to take on the kitchen first, but once those essentials are out….  first tackle the living room. Get it completely unpacked and ready to LIVE IN. Make it HOME right away. So hang up pictures. Hang curtains. Put out the throw pillows. Don't worry that the bedroom is wall to wall boxes--you'll want one place to relax. When you're done unpacking for the day you'll want to put your feet up in a place that feels like home. Also when people come to see your new home and you haven't had time to move everything in, at least you'll have a room to entertain where you and they can both relax and enjoy your home.

-In general, get right in to the details of decorating. Nothing will make you feel at home faster than having those small details. Put out a family picture even if there are still boxes all over. Taking that time will help you remember that you're making a home and that it will look like a home one day soon, even if that day isn't today.

-With kids in transition, one of the biggest things that I've found can help them along is keeping their small surroundings "normal". For example make sure their bed is laid out with familiar sheets the first night. Don't use a (for example) a living room blanket that they're not used to sleeping on. Make sure you've left out their familiar sheets and comforter so they feel "safe" and "normal" when it comes to bedtime in a new place. Also of course, don't forget to keep the favorite stuffed animals out :) 

-Make a big deal out of your fun new home to the kids! Make it a really exciting event! Talk it up to them and tell them about the wonderful times you'll have there as a family. But give them the honor of saying goodbye to their old home. Maybe writing a note to the new owners might help them get closure (something that helped me when I moved at age 8 and again at age 13)


Emily grapes said...

Such great tips. I've moved far too much in my years, but never with kids, so I like the idea of having their familiar things like sheets, stuffed animals and necessities in their own bags for immediate access..not to mention for their comfort too.

Mrs. Pedersen said...

Love these tips.:)