Joy’s 10 Tips for Moving with Kids

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It’s been a little bit like the Twilight Zone here at SMB for the past few months… As Steph and I experience some similar challenges with our babies and toddlers we also entered a hard-core-house-hunting endeavor AT THE EXACT SAME TIME and THEN SHE MOVED the weekend AFTER I moved.  Yes, things have been insane around here.  And sadly, no, Steph and I don’t live a bike ride away from each other.  We are actually a bit farther from one another than we used to be (enter big sad face here).  But, we have both gone through the (traumatic) process of moving with children and we lived to tell the tale.

I learned amazing lessons that would be, well, just plain mean to not share with all of you.  So, my darlings, for those of you who tend to be not-so-Type-A about things and enjoy my Just-Get-The-Thing-Done-Already approach, here are Joy’s 10 Very Helpful Moving Tips for the Thrifty-Yet-Tired Mother:

  1. Grab some boxes and throw some stuff in ’em – Yes, I realize that some of you (ahem, Steph) sort, label and carefully pack your boxes, but me, I just took whatever was closest and threw it in a box.  I barely have anything left that’s actually breakable and those that are got a little TLC during one nap time.  Tip: Sprouts Farmer’s Market has tons and tons of free boxes available to pick up – also Craigslist is a great place to find cheap or free boxes.
  2. Start packing sooner than you think you should – Moving with children at home has got to be one of the most stressful things a mom can do.  I totally put off packing until we found a house (one month prior to moving).  It felt like I started soon enough, however, I could have started even earlier taking things to Goodwill and throwing things away that aren’t useful to anyone.  Plus, with a toddler running around not much outside of caring for her and her baby brother could get done.  My single self could have packed up my house after work in a week.  My mommy self takes a million times as long and needs lots and lots of breaks.  Tip 1: I wouldn’t allow myself to get on my computer until I had packed 5 boxes or so each nap time.  Tip 2: Check out Wurth Organizing’s amazing moving checklist – I was so thankful for this little resource tool
  3. Get child care for at least two days of moving  I was so thankful that not one but two very dear friends were willing and available to watch my two-year-old from about 9 am through nap time (about 4pm) on moving day (Friday) and unpacking day (Saturday).  Since I’m still nursing and Elliot is great in a sling, I kept him with me.  I can barely unload the dishwasher when my toddler is awake, so I can hardly imagine getting anything done with her running around.  Plus, I wanted her needs for play, food and sleep to be met while we were getting the new home ready for her.  I loved knowing that she was having a little adventure of her own, while I got our new home ready for her to play and sleep that night.  Tip: I was so thankful for friends who were available to include Reagan in their daily routine, but check out Angela’s post about good drop-in childcare spots in Scottsdale.
  4. Give yourself two days to move – Sure, you can get all of the stuff moved in one day from point A to point B for an in-town move.  However, things in the old house will need to be attended to and things in the new house will need to be put in there places.  We got all of the big items (sofas, bed etc) into the new home along with the boxes from the kitchen etc.  As I mentioned in #3, I had a “moving day” and an “unpacking day”.  Sure, the unpacking is a much, much longer process, but I was able to get Reagan’s room together and the kitchen in order and the diaper station set up so the home could flow.  (I use “I” loosely, see #5.)
  5. Pay for movers or buy lunch for 12 of your closest friends –   I received a little flier in the mail for an awesome deal for a small moving company.  They did a good job, not the most professional guys ever, but they were kind, hard-workers and moved my stuff from point A to point B without event.  I used QuickStop Moving they were half the price of Two Men and A Truck.  Worth. It.   (Would recommend TM a T for their professionalism.)  We had just moved our business the weekend prior to moving our home and needed the burden to be off my husband as much as possible.  He was able to wrap things up at the old house while I directed traffic at the new house.  It made the most sense for us to move on a Friday because I wanted to be able to have the home ready to have a day of rest and enjoy our home and family on Sunday.  Total success!
  6. Hire Moxie Girl Unpacking services and take friends up on their offers to help you unpack (or take your kids) – I mentioned that I still had to nurse Elliot while also getting the kitchen and bedrooms in order.  It would NOT have happened if I didn’t have the unpacking awesomeness of Moxie Girl to help me!  Denae unpacked my kitchen, the bathrooms, the linen closet while Jon put together our guest room bed, moved boxes into the house to be unpacked, hung pictures in Reagan’s room while I was nursing Elliot, getting him down for a nap or coordinating which boxes were ready to be unpacked.  I was literally standing in my garage, holding a fussy Elliot while being a bossy-britches ordering Jon around.  “Move this box here, please.” “Oh, could you please bring that box in the house?” “Yes, thank you, you can certainly fold those blankets, perfect.”  “No, thank you, I don’t need that huge pile of crud (that I’ve been procrastinating for about 3 years organized right now.”  I really had to be sure to remember my thank yous and pleases since I was on a mission and the baby was crying and they were being so stinkin’ awesome!  I hope they knew how invaluable their help was to me and how they made moving so much less stressful.  (Hugs)
  7. Hire someone to clean the old house –  If you are like me, then you are used to just doing things yourself and like to save money where you can.  However, in saving money we (thrifty savers) forget that we are spending valuable time and energy doing something that could easily done by someone else… My landlady said to me in preparation for our moving out, “Oh, you can just wipe everything down and vacuum the carpets” – and in my mind I know how much time and energy that sentence costs me.  It was stressful just thinking about cleaning that home to a level that I would feel good about, plus it was a little emotional thinking about the sweet memories from the past year.  (Loved living in that home.)  No, I needed back up. Stat. I found a gal who could do a good once-over for minimal cost.  Sigh.  Worth every penny and freed me up to continue focusing on getting our new home livable.  No distractions, stay the course.
  8. Hang pictures on the wallsSteph invited Reagan out for the morning to play with Nora on Monday following our moving weekend.  That allowed me a few hours to get some finishing touches completed and really added a lot to making the house feel more like our home.  It’s still a work-in-progress, but it makes a huge difference in how the living spaces feel to have pictures up.
  9. Keep the end in mind, because it will come.This entire move, I’ve been thinking toward “being moved in” and yes, it is all that I’d hoped for and more!  That is what has kept me going as we’ve worked to make this house our own.
  10. Don’t move in the summer. – Ok, I’m just throwing this one in there because I was so thankful that the weekend we moved was cool outside.  Obviously, sometimes we can’t help it.  But, if you can, it does make a difference to have a bit cooler weather on the outside to keep you going.

And, because I’d be super curious too, here’s a couple pictures of my new digs:

What about you? Have you learned any tricks to make moving with kids less stressful? Have your recently moved to the Valley? Tell us about your experience…

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