Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Moving Tips

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We have moved a few times in Brayden's lifetime. The first was when he was two weeks old. The next was when he was one year old. The last was when he was four years old. My friend, Kelli, also moved in the last few months. Here are our tips for making the move easier on yourself and the family. Please be sure to comment with your own tips if you have them!

DOWNSIZING
  • Plan Ahead. Know how much space you will have. We called ahead for actual room sizes, then taped off our rooms to get the dimensions of the space we would be moving into to make sure we could actually fit what we were bringing. (by Kelli)
  • Less Is Better. I would suggest bringing only what you think you absolutely need. Then eliminate 10% more. (by Kelli)
  • Sell What You Can. It costs so much to store furniture these days, that it is worth it to sell off unused furniture that you can part with. Local online classifieds like craigslist.com is good for this. (by Kelli)
  • Share Storage. We ended up getting a local storage locker to store a washer and dryer. The cheapest place we could find was $35 a month. We later found friends here who had extra room in there storage space. We now pay them $10 a month for a portion of theirs. It is a good arrangement all around. (by Kelli)
  • De-Junk: View the move as an opportunity to "de-junk" your stuff. We often hang on to things that we really will never use. I like to throw stuff away (or set aside for good will) as I pack. I also get rid of stuff as I unpack. Don't get rid of things you might need in the new place (that is just a waste of money!), but take advantage of this organizing opportunity. (by Val)

PACKING (by Val)

  • Start Early. I personally like to start packing quite early. Even when I was in college and moving a car full of stuff, I started a month early. I know that is a bit extreme...start early enough that you can really organize things as you go.
  • Organize By Room: When you are packing your boxes, group items by room. Do it by rooms the items will go in at the new house, not where they are in the current house. Why? It makes unpacking so much easier.
  • Label: Label your boxes according to room. You can just write which room it goes in. Some readers have said they assigned a color to each room and put a colored index card on each box. Do what works for you. I labeled which room it went in as well as what was in the box. Label all sides of the box. I put the room it went in on top and each side. I then put more details on the top or sides.
  • Pack a Suitcase: Pack a suitcase (or whatever) for each member of the family as though you were going on vacation for a few days. A vacation in a tent :). Pack as though there will be no amenities (but you will have electricity). Include toiletries, clothes, pillows, toys, books for bedtime, etc.
  • Pack Important Items Together: Something I did was pack bedding for each bed in a box together, then I marked it in a very noticeable way. I knew we would need all of that for that night. Make it so noticeable that you can find it in a sea of boxes.
  • Pack Monitors In Purse: or somewhere else you can't lose it. Our first night in our new house, I easily found Kaitlyn's monitor and Brayden's monitor. I could not, however, find McKenna's monitor anywhere! I had just packed them a few hours before. Her monitors were some of the very last things I packed. I didn't find them for days. Luckily, I just used Brayden's for her. He is old enough to be able to come to us if there is a problem. If I had to do it over again, I would put the monitors in my purse and keep in on my person.
  • Pack Yourself: When we moved when Brayden was one, my husband's company paid for a moving company to pack and move us. While it was nice to have them do all the packing, and they packed everything in one day, it was really a pain to unpack. I don't think it was worth it for me. I prefer packing my things in logical (logical to me) groupings. Movers are just putting everything in boxes as fast as they can. No worries to them if the kitchen spoons are mixed in with the toilet paper. I am sure there are people out there who prefer movers. Decide what will work best for you and do that.
  • Get Free Boxes: Most grocery stores or fast food chains will give you their boxes for free. We got all of our boxes from our local Wendy's. Their boxes were very sturdy and strong.
  • Send the Children Away: If you can, have the kids visit grandma or a friend so you can get some packing done without them distracting. But do let them help with their own rooms.

PREPPING CHILDREN (by Val)

  • Talk About The Move: Tell your children you are moving. Talk about what you will take and what you won't take. At first, Brayden thought we were going to leave all of our stuff in the old house (even his toys). He was surprisingly fine with that, but very excited to learn he could take his toys with him.
  • Read Books: It might be helpful to read books about moving to your child.
  • Let Them Help: Let your children help pack, especially their own stuff.
  • Visit the New House/Look at Pictures: Since we didn't move far, we were able to visit our new house often. We would go there and show them around the house and show them their new rooms. If you can't do that, try to get pictures of the new house to show your children.
  • Have Open Communication: Talk with your children about the things and people they will miss. Tell them what will be different. Tell them what will be good. Ask what they like about the new house. Give them something positive to look forward to, but don't dismiss feelings of loss for leaving the old house.
  • Walk Through the Empty House: After a few days in our new house, Kaitlyn (2) started requesting we "go home." I decided she needed to see the old house so she could feel some closure. We went over and visited it all empty. We looked in every room and saw that it wasn't our home anymore. After that, she was totally fine with the new house. If you are moving far away, I highly recommend you do a walk through with your children before you leave your house.

TRAVEL

  • Plan Ahead: We had friends who did not book hotels and plan stops in advance, and ended up spending at least one night in a car. (by Kelli)
  • Make an Itinerary: After we mapped a route and booked hotels, we printed off an itinerary for both vehicles with local maps and information as well as contact info for truck return and landlord arrangements when we arrived. (by Kelli)
  • Bring Help: My husband drove the moving truck, and my mom did most of the driving in our car so I could devote my energies to entertaining our two boys. We would not have made it without her. (by Kelli)
  • Fly if Needed: I had a friend who flew to their new home with her 14 month old while her husband drove the moving van. The flight was much shorter and easier on her baby. (by Val)

POST-MOVE (by Val)
  • Unpack Fast: Unpack your children's things quickly. When Kaitlyn started asking to go home, I thought about things from her perspective. Most of her toys were boxed up and she was living in a new house full of boxes. How fun is that for a two year old? Brayden (4) was fine with things being unsettled, but he has always been very flexible with change like that. I know it is a big job (believe me). I also know that a room like the kitchen is very important to get done quickly. But be sure to put the kids' rooms high on the priority list.
  • Send the Children Away: One option is to have the kids visit grandma or a friend for a day or two so you can really focus on packing and get things as settled as possible before they come to their new house.
  • Maintain Routine: Try your best to keep the routine the same for your children. Everything around them has been uprooted. Maintaining your routine will help them have something familiar to hold to.
  • Have Patience: Over the course of Kaitlyn's life, she has literally never protested independent playtime. Our first day in our new house, she did independent play just fine. Day two...she cried. I had her come out of independent play and didn't try again for a week. I wanted to be sure she was emotionally secure before trying it again. I used her extra time with me as an opportunity to finally hit potty training again (I had stopped when McKenna was born since she was not able to pull her pants down by herself at the time). We reintroduced it slowly, and she now does it as usual.

There are our tips. Please share your tips! I am sure there are many great ones out there.

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9 comments:

Tyler and Shea Moses said...

We just went through a 200 mile move with a 9 month old baby (well she was 8 months at the time of the move). It was smooth sailing, because we had her stay with her wonderful grandparents for 2 days. They lived 20 minutes away from the new place, so we went and visited during the day to take a break. Having her stay away while we got her room unpacked was key. I gave grandma a list of her routine (feed/play/nap schedule), and we have not missed a beat. We have had no interruptions whatsoever. I gave grandma all of her favorite toys and a favorite book, bath tub and all other necessary items so that it would be as close to normal for her as possible. I did the labeling, planning ahead, and de-junking (with a garage sale) to get rid of things ahead of time as well. This is a wonderful post, and I feel like just having been through the same thing, everything you mention seems to be very helpful or such a drastic change in a child's world!

Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias said...

We've gone through one huge move (AZ to GA and then MN) with Tobias so far and I've moved about 16 other times in my life, 5 times out of state. This is exactly how I do things too! My husband thinks I'm nuts packing so early and de-cluttering like crazy but even he admits that our last move went extremely smoothly despite the fact that we had a 4 week old and I still couldn't stand up for more than 1 hour at a time. I highly recommend flying if you have a child below 2 years old. Think about it, you'll spend way more time stopping to care for the child and feeling guilty about cooping them up in the car for 10 or more hours than you would if you just flew. It was totally worth the plane ticket for us!

Another thing I always do is to pack one box and label it very noticeably and in that box I include:
-toilet paper
-paper towels
-paper plates
-plastic spoons/forks
-1-2 trash bags
-address book/planner
-cat food in tupperware
-packet of popcorn
-packets of oatmeal
-packets of lipton noodles
*all these food items require water and a microwave to prepare, no trip to the grocery store needed and no pots and pans required. This way we're covered for dinner, a snack, and breakfast the next morning to give us a chance to get to the grocery store.

Kristy Shreve Powers said...

These tips are great. I think starting early is so important. I've gotten rid of SO MANY THINGS before each move and each time, I got rid of even more once we moved and I decided certain items weren't worth unpacking. Our latest move was when DS was 2.5 years old (and I was very pregnant, so lots of changes in his life). He had a hard time letting go of the old house, like Val said. Every time he got upset or frustrated about something, he said, "I want to go back to old house." It went on for quite some time. In hindsight, it would have been worth it to try to get back inside the house after the move to see the empty house. He did see it like that when I went back over to clean but there were contractors working hard with lots of hazardous materials, so we had to get out of there quickly. If you can't get back inside the house or the issue comes up later with your child, this is something that eventually helped for us (besides listening to him and validating that he missed the old house): His grandma came for a visit and they painted every day, about thirty paintings on construction paper. We helped him put them up on his wall, every single one, and ever since then he has been excited about his room. I think it also helps the room feel smaller and more cozy to him. Oh, and by the way, it definitely felt like he was using the "missing the old house" as an excuse for every frustration for a while there because we paid close attention and were sympathetic. But on the other hand, he was potty training, had moved, and had a baby sibling on the way, so we went the sympathy route.

grace said...

i've moved recently.. and i found the tip to take baby back to old home for closure to be good.

my girl is ~11mths. she settled relatively well (ate and slept ok) but was unusually clingy. she wanted to be carried and wouldn't be alone for independent time etc..
i initially thought that she just needed more time to adjust but after 2 weeks i still brought her back to old home nonetheless. and after that she's really ok.

it's important for kids to have closure just like for adults. :)

Plowmanators said...

Tyler and Shea Moses,

Thanks for your added tips! It sounds like things went well for you.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Manda! Great added tips. Thos are good even if you just move down the street!

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Kristy! All great tips. Brayden randomly told me this morning he missed the old house. We talked about it for a while, then he was okay.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Grace! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Mara Kreiling said...

We have 11 weeks old twins (7 weeks adjusted). Right now we are living with my mom and are moving to a new house in 6 weeks. The babeis currently sleep in bassinets in our bedroom, but I think it's time to move them to their own room. Will moving them to a new room now and then another one in 6 weeks be too much of a disruption? They have just now started to STTN sporadically. Any thoughts/suggestions welcome!

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