Five Tips Before For Your Next Move

We have moved to five different houses and three different cities in the last eight years. I am no moving expert–and the irony is–I’m probably one of the least organized people you’ll ever meet, but having four kids and accomplishing this task without a husband’s involvement (he works crazy hours and is excused from the chaos) or family nearby, I have learned a thing or two about moving with children. We are planning to move this summer, so I am in the middle of this process.

Finish errands

There is nothing worse than meeting someone from Craigslist the day your house goes on the market, or making the movers wait to drive off with the truck because you have to return your modem to your internet provider. I have done both! Before you even start packing boxes, figure out what you want to sell. Once you get to a certain point in the moving process, you will absolutely not have time to coordinate pick up and drop offs for the furniture you’re parting with. Run to the post office with that package, return those library books, and give your neighbor back her dish! You also might have time to list those clothes on a re-sale website like Postmark or Thread-up and make some extra money that way. You’ll thank yourself a few weeks from now!

Pack up your decor

The next point in my process involves packing the extras. Even if our moving date isn’t for months, all the books we’re not reading, clothes we’re not wearing, and baby items we’re not using get packed up and put in the attic. I even pack up half my kitchen— you know you aren’t going to be using those bundt pans or fancy charger plates anytime soon! It might take extra work to store these items, but if you’re selling your house, you want the boxes unseen. A realtor will tell you less is always more when it comes to wall hangings and personal items. If you’re not selling your home, it helps to get as much out of the way as possible! I make piles where the kids can’t reach and set one objective each day. For instance, last Monday I packed up all our picture frames. Tuesday I did the lamps. Wednesday I organized our office files (for the first time in three years!) and set souvenirs from the kids’ school year aside to “scrapbook” (I will never actually do this, but it makes me feel better). Thursday was for packing decor and breakable dishes. Friday I went through all the kids’ clothes and what is out of season is now organized into empty diaper boxes in the garage! 

Donate, donate, donate

The last time we moved, we filled up the largest truck available. I know we have bought more items since then, and I’m unwilling to pay for a second truck, so to me, every box we keep comes with a price tag. I am donating that dresser with the broken drawer that I held on to you for years for sentimental reasons. We’re saying good-bye to the hutch my husband hates. And my kids are letting go of the extra outdoor bikes, scooters, and weathered plastic toys. Even things I “might” use some day will be finding a better home elsewhere! This is also the perfect chance to get rid of the things in my closet I have kept but rarely worn. 

Ask for help

I have tried to do it myself one too many times. The last time we moved, the movers were actually held up, waiting for me at our new house because I still was back at the old one making sure all the items made it into the truck. There were too many variables my husband and I hadn’t considered when I told him he didn’t need to take a day off work to help. Thankfully my girlfriend watched my kids, so I could finish things off. At one point, we were throwing things in her van because I couldn’t leave them behind for the new owners and my car was out of room! We were even going door-to-door, asking neighbors if we could put things in their trash cans because mine was overflowing! I am so glad I can vividly remember the most stressful day of my life. If your family can come in town and get a hotel room and help you, let them. And bless it, don’t let your spouse go to work that day; you need as much help as you can get!

Hire someone to clean

It is one thing to pack the boxes, and it is another to keep the house clean as you go. No matter how clean you have it, the day your items get moved whether by you or a moving company, there will be footprints on the carpet, dust under the couches, and smudges across the windows. When we have moved within the same city, I scheduled space between when we left and when the new tenants arrived to allow time for myself to clean. But the times when we have moved further distances, this is where a group of friends or a reputable cleaning company comes in handy. Leave behind a list of what you’d like done, and request photos of certain areas sent to you. Send a check and done! You have a clean house and happy buyers.

These packing and moving tips have come through many a hardship and mistake— I hope they help you have success in your family’s next adventure!