Moving, in general, can be the best/worst experience. There’s the packing and the purging and the tape… so much tape. But, on the other side, you also get a new house and new spaces to decorate, which is worth the rest of it. I think I could be considered a chronic mover. In my eight years of marriage, we’ve moved eight times. And I won’t go into how many times I moved growing up. So basically, moving and me are besties.
Recently, my family moved into a new house. This move was a bit different because I had two kids that were old enough to know what was going on. Even having moved so many times, this move felt like a completely new experience as I navigated packing, purging, physically moving our stuff and settling down with two child “assistants.” I made some mistakes and I had some sweet victories. Here’s my best advice for moving with kids.
1. Make a “priority box” and put the wine glasses in it
This is my no. 1 tip to anyone moving. Take a box and write Open First on it. Then, throw anything in there that you have to have within 24 hours of moving. Now you know where all those important odds and ends are. Mine had some paperwork, my computer charger, extra sippy cups, dark chocolate M&Ms and wine glasses in it. Oh, and don’t forget the corkscrew. That’s an amateur mistake.
2. Buy more boxes than you think you’ll need
I went back to the box store four times during this move. Kids have a lot of stuff. They hide it away in the deep dark crevices of the closet and you don’t realize how much there is until you start packing it. Toys are big and oddly shaped so they take up a lot of room in boxes. And don’t get me started on my shoe collection. I actually mislabeled some of the boxes so my husband wouldn’t realize how many there were. Which brings me to my next tip…
3. Pack while your husband isn’t home
If you’re like me, you may actually own way more stuff than your husband does. He doesn’t need to know that you have a collection of 17 cake stands or that you enjoy hoarding party supplies in the spare bedroom closet. Pack that stuff when he isn’t home. What he doesn’t know can’t hurt him… or you.
4. Hire movers
I know what you’re thinking, “That’s just extra expense.” Just wrap it into the cost of having children. They don’t really need to go to college anyway. If you have kids, you’re officially too old to ask your friends to help you move in exchange for pizza and beer. Do you want to help people move? Probably not. Don’t do that to your friends. Also, it’s really hard to juggle watching and entertaining the kids while carrying a king size bed up the stairs.
5. Don’t let the kids in on your craziness
This is actually a serious one. Moving can bring on stress and anxiety. If your kids pick up on it, they may feel sad or nervous about the change. I wanted my kids to be excited about the new house instead of sad about leaving the old one. We let them pick out new bedding for their rooms and talk about what colors to paint the walls. My son, who is a little older, loved feeling like a part of the process.
6. If at all possible, find something for the kids to do on move day
Kids watching all of their belongings being broken down and moved is a little tough on them. My daughter cried every time she saw a piece of furniture or box leave the house. She’s only 2-years-old and she didn’t understand that they were literally just moving it into a different house. She basically thought someone was stealing all of our stuff. It was miserable. If at all possible, have the kids go somewhere else during the actual move — school, grandma’s, a friend’s. Even if they don’t get emotional, you’re going to have enough to deal with on move day.
At the end of the day, everyone will survive the move. There may be some tears shed and a few broken dishes, but as long as everyone gets to come home to the same house that night, I’ll call it a victory.