35 Simple Steps to selling a home and moving (with small children)


Our family is in the process of moving and it’s been….well… a process! Since I’m right smack in the middle of this adventure, I thought I’d take a little break and share some of my experiences.  Just in case anyone is thinking about a move themselves, now you’ll have a little better idea of what to expect:

  1. List your home “For Sale” with a licensed Realtor
  2. Begin receiving phone calls requesting showings of your home (You should expect these prospective buyers to offer you 30 minutes to prepare your home for “a showing”  You should also assume that they are only available to view your home right in the middle of naptime.)
  3. Look around at the daycare-like ambience of your home and the piles of toys and crayon shavings surrounding you. Politely explain to the buyer’s realtor that there is no way you can clean up after small children with such short notice (while you are on the phone you’re child should either help themselves to the fridge and spill a bottle of apple juice all over the floor, or break something, preferably made of glass)
  4. Remind yourself that before buying a home, most people usually like to see it, so put on the Lion King, shut the baby gates and get to work picking up all toys (while still having to find time to quickly mop up the apple juice and/or glass shards.)
  5. Continue steps 1-4 for an indefinite amount of time
  6. Sell the home!
  7. Explain to your children that you are moving
  8. Start scouring Craigslist for “Free Moving Boxes”
  9. Reassure the worried children that ALL THE TOYS are coming with you to the new house
  10. Feel a little guilty about lying to your children. Throw away, give away, or donate half their junky toys
  11. Ponder why the free moving boxes advertised on Craigslist seem to only be available in Queen Creek or Surprise
  12. Contemplate driving to Queen Creek or Surprise to pick up the free moving boxes but decide it’s just not worth it after realizing there is no way to do this without the baby falling asleep in the car (causing him to loose his naptime/your packing time)
  13. Be AMAZED at your child’s remarkable toy inventory knowledge when he asks you where his “grey car that comes in two parts” has gone (Obviously, you threw it away. Afterall, this toy was a free prize in a happy meal he ordered over a year ago! Seriously amazing!)
  14. Go to Home Depot and buy A TON of boxes
  15. Hear the total price for your boxes, tape, and bubble wrap and feel irritated that you just spent that much money at Home Depot and are coming home with cardboard instead of potted geraniums or new beautiful new kitchen hardware.
  16. Try not to laugh at the check out girl as she asks you to go online when you have some “free time” and take a survey about your experience shopping today. Wonder what about a cart full of moving supplies and 2 screaming children would possibly suggest that you had any “free time”
  17. Begin packing things you rarely use (winter clothes, books on babies’ sleep habits, and Eurpoean travel guides) into the new boxes
  18. Have your baby suddenly stop sleeping through the night and begin wondering which of the 12 packed boxes contains the now much needed information on babies’ sleep habits
  19. Realize you way underestimated your packing supply needs and return to Home Depot for more boxes.
  20. Repeat step 19, four more times
  21. Catch a lucky break at Fry’s and stumble upon an employee stocking the refrigerated juice section, get 10 free boxes that are the perfect size for packing small kitchen appliances.
  22. Continue packing all non-necessary items
  23. Be grateful you’re not pregnant for this move. Afterall, you wouldn’t be able to lift anything heavy and friends seem to be more willing to help you move when wine is involved…OR be grateful you’re pregnant during the move. You have a great excuse to avoid lifting heavy boxes! Plus, that’s more wine for your helpful friends.
  24. In the mess of packing supplies, misplace your baby for 60 seconds. Go into complete panic mode.
  25. Realize one of the smaller boxes is moving
  26. Find the baby and explain to the big boy that baby brothers do not belong in moving boxes
  27. Take a break, sip on a cold glass of Simply Lemondade (which you bought out of a sense of obligation since 4 of the free boxes from Fry’s were “Simply Lemonade”) and just enjoy watching your children’s amazing imaginations turn one of the larger boxes into a pirate ship. Wonder about what new adventures this move holds for your family.
  28. Get back to packing! You’ve got a whole house to move.
  29. Attempt to wrap breakables in bubble wrap with one hand while holding a fussy baby in the other. Realize the older child may have been onto something when he put the baby in a moving box.
  30. Organize all the children’s clothes by size and age, systematically packing away all they’ve outgrown. Remember them wearing the now too-small clothes. Cry a little.
  31. Discover that the lovely crew at Costco is totally cool with you taking several cart loads full of free boxes! However, if you want the good ones, you’ll need to get there right when they open.
  32. Put the boppy pillow, pump-in-syle, and hooter hider into a box labeled “breast feeding” Wonder if you will need to unpack it again? Hope that you will!


33.  Buy a new house!

34. Discover that the moving in process is much easier than moving out.

35. Live happily ever after!

*Editors note- I have only completed steps 1-32 but I can only imagine that like with all aspects of parenting, steps 33-35 will be even easier than I assumed.


  1. Laughing out loud!! I’m a seasoned frequent mover/army spouse, packing for our upcoming move to Okinawa, Japan, and your list gave me a much needed giggle this morning! Good luck on finding your new house and just be happy that you got t take it all with you and you aren’t limited to 25% of your current belongings!

  2. Hi Karyn, I’m a former Army wife myself so I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about! Although, my husband’s active duty years were all before children. I thought it was tough when it was just the two of it. You army wives who do this all with children are just AMAZING!!! Good luck with your move and thank YOU for YOUR service:)

  3. This totally made me laugh. I am trying to get ready to move across the country (AGAIN, leaving a job with the DOD for a State job) and I am NOT doing well at getting ready. Having a 4 year old and a baby is harder than having a 1 year old! But this made me laugh a LOT. And also…maybe I can do this. . .

  4. Thank you! I loved this. I’m 7 1/2 months pregnant with an almost two-year old… trying to sell our perfect, but too small, house. People only want to see the house when my toddler is napping! At least I have a minute to straighten (without my sweet daughter following me an unstraightening)…


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