There are very few people in the world who genuinely like moving. For most of us, it is–and we’re putting this lightly–a chore. It’s stressful and time consuming and is often hard on everyone emotionally. And if you have kids, the process is even more difficult. Not only do you have to manage your own emotions and possessions, you also have to manage theirs.
Here are some tips and tricks that will (hopefully) make the process easier on everyone.
- Start Decluttering Early
As soon as you know you’re going to move, start going through your current home. The earlier you start decluttering your house, the easier packing will be. This is also a great way to start introducing the idea of moving and the changes that are afoot to your kids.
- Pacify the Kids
Instead of using phrases like “get rid of” when sorting through your kids’ toys and belongings, use words and phrases like “donate” and “help other kids.” Your kids won’t fight de-cluttering and sorting nearly as much if you tell them that their old toys will be going to kids who need them.
- Start Packing Early
Guess what: it’s okay to start packing things early. Set aside the things that you use often, but seasonal things that won’t be used until after you move can be packed now. This way, the packing won’t seem nearly as overwhelming when it comes time to start packing in earnest.
- Designate a “Packed” Spot
Create a designated space in which you store the packing that you do ahead of time. Tripping over boxes is part of what makes the packing feel extra stressful. When you have a space set aside for storing your packed (and in the process of packing) boxes, you keep the walking spaces and corners of your home uncluttered and feeling normal…well, as normal as can be expected.
- Use Clear Bins
Okay, maybe not for everything–that would get expensive! For the things you use every day, though: dishes, cookware, toiletries, etc. using clear plastic tubs and bins can speed everything up with both packing and unpacking.
- Label Label Label
For the packing done in regular boxes and opaque bins, labeling is key. Don’t limit the labeling to just one side of the container. Label every single side–top and bottom too–of every container. This way you will be able to see immediately what is in every container when it comes time to unpack.
- Sell Your “Extra” Stuff
As you pack you’re going to be tempted more than once to just chuck everything out and start all over in your new home. Resist this urge! The things you don’t take with you can be sold. Yard sales, online sales through Craigslist, eBay and others, can be a great way to bring in some extra money and maybe even offset the cost of the move a little bit.
- Explore Early with Your Kids
One of the best things that you can do to help your kids adjust to the upcoming move is to let them explore their new neighborhood and schools before you move. If you’re moving somewhere far away, you can “walk” through the neighborhood with Google Maps. You can take virtual tours of schools. You might even be able to talk to teachers and set up pen pals for your kids so that they will have friends waiting for them when the move is complete.
- Hire Movers
Hire professionals to do all of the heavy lifting, carrying and driving. Part of what makes moving so difficult is just how physically demanding it is to get your life from point A to point B. One of the best ways to alleviate that difficulty is to hire movers to take care of all the hard work. That way all you have to do is pack and unpack. If you’re really pressed for time you can even hire movers who will do the packing for you.
- Pack An Overnight Bag
Pack a suitcase with a few days worth of clothing and toiletries for everybody in the family. This way if you are too tired to start unpacking right away, you won’t have to worry about wearing the same clothes for a lot of days in a row. You can also pack important electronics like laptops, tablets and phones in these bags to reduce their risk of being lost, damaged or stolen during the move.
Once you’re in the new place, you can start unpacking. Begin with the clear bins filled with what you know you need right away and go from there. Set a goal of one box per person every day (or more if you have time to unpack before getting back to work and school).