I am peeking my head above the pile of boxes for yet another post today about how fun it is to move with young children.
First, let me preface this by saying that I have some of the world’s most helpful children ever. They love to ask what they can work on or help me with, even if what I am doing is too difficult or not appropriate for them. They are, however, normal young children, and seeing their books and toys again after six months in storage has made them excitedly little people.
Messy excited little people.
We are so close to having all of our things in their permanent places in the home that I feel the move is just about over. We do have to, however, acquire a few more pieces of furniture to really make this place livable. Like a couch. And a dresser for my husband to replace the large, clear plastic bin his clothes currently reside in.
As this crazy season comes to a close, I would like to share with you guys (and yes, my future moving self) some tips, tricks, do’s, and don’t’s for moving with little kids.
- Get rid of excess stuff before you move: I did this pretty well when we packed up our home in Virginia. I sold a lot of things at yard sales that I knew weren’t worth the amount of space they would take up in a moving van. As my poor husband knows, my rule of thumb is: If you haven’t used it or missed it in a year, you won’t use it, so get rid of it. I use this rule for just about everything: movies, music, clothes, games, toys, etc. Books are a different story, since one can only read so many books in a year. This one small rule helped us get rid of several boxes and garbage bags full of things we were holding on to for little to no reason.
- Don’t get rid of things you will actually need: I get a little trash bag happy when it is time to clear things out of my house. I really err on the side of having way too few things, rather than having too much. This is all fine and dandy until you move in, unpack your kitchen, and realize that you donated your toaster to Goodwill before you left Virginia. (Yes, that really happened. We had to buy a new one.) There are some items that just don’t make sense to get rid of because you will have to replace them anyway (like a toaster, or an iron). Unless you are planning to replace the item anyway, regardless of your home-moving status, keep it!
- Label boxes as specifically as possible: When we were packing our home in Virginia I may have been a tad emotional. It was the first home my husband and I owned, and it was the home we brought our girls home from the hospital to. We had made many memories in that house. We built a great life out there, as well. We had family and friends that were like family, plus a fantastic church. It was so hard to leave. And, you know, I was pregnant. I was having all the feels. I procrastinated packing up, then in the end I wound up throwing items in boxes and labeling them “Random”. I wish I was kidding.
- Write whether boxes are for “storage” or “immediate use”: This would have come in handy for our latest move. We had a big crew of helpers who did a fantastic job of getting our things out of the grandparents home and into our new home very quickly. Unfortunately, I stayed behind to finish packing up at the grandparents and wasn’t able to direct the final placement of all the boxes. This meant we were left with some boxes that weren’t going to be used immediately (like Christmas decorations) in the middle of our living room. I’m sure, had I said which boxes could have gone into the attic, our moving crew would have happily obliged.
- Make a plan for unpacking: This I felt I did pretty well for this latest move. There are a few rooms in one’s home that are completely indispensable, the first, in my opinion, being the bathroom. As the storybook says, everybody poops. And everybody needs to shower and brush their teeth. You will need a functioning bathroom immediately, and having everything put away in there just makes life so much more pleasant. I found that getting the bathroom put away was an early, quick victory that helped me gain momentum. Next on my agenda was the kitchen; we need to eat in order to poop, yes? That took a bit more time, but was also very worth the effort. The kids bedrooms were next on my list, since they had to be done when they were otherwise occupied (by my lovely husband), then our bedroom, then the living room.
- Occupy your children while you unpack: Next time I will do a better job of securing some childcare for a few days while the hubs and I unpack the house. I thought I could use the girls’ help as I put things away, but as it turns out, they were so excited to see some of their toys that they were little help at all. Duh. I found that packing was a three steps forward, two steps back kind of process as I put items away, only to find them in the middle of the living room 30 minutes later. Having several dedicated hours (or days) to unpack would probably have made this process go a lot more smoothly.