Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ask the Organizer: Moving Tips for Families with Young Children

From a Reader: What tips do you have for organized moving? I'm overwhelmed thinking about organizing a new house with 2 kids in tow! We have movers, so you would think that would make me feel less anxious but I think it's making it a little worse.

The last time we moved, my kids were 3 and 5 years old. We have no family nearby, but since our older child was in pre-school at the time, it meant we only had one kid to deal with on Moving Day. Hooray! That being said, it was still a daunting task. Everyone knows moving is a huge pain in the butt, and having young children makes it even harder.

So, here are some of my tips to make it run more smoothly:
*Involve the kids early on. Of course, this depends on your children's ages. But it could be as simple as talking about the move ahead of time, pointing out the new city on a map, or letting them decorate moving boxes with stickers and color on them with markers. I know reading books about moving really helped my kids as well, to ease some of their anxiety and let them know how the process works.
 *Pack a travel bag / suitcase / cooler. If your children are old enough, have them pack a backpack or small box full of their favorite things....a few books & toys....so that they can last the first day or two in the new house. I would also pack a "travel bag" for each member of the family - consisting of clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc. to survive for 2-3 days. That way you won't be tearing through boxes at midnight looking for a pair of pajamas :) Pack these suitcases & even a cooler for snack/food items in your car, not the moving truck. Here is a great checklist for some other items you want to have handy for the first night in your new house:
*Talk to the movers ahead of time; ask about labeling & color-coding. If you have movers, chances are, you will not be permitted to be involved in the packing process. (Which can surprisingly cause a lot of anxiety; it did for me!) Just ask a lot of questions up front about how boxes will be labeled. You want the name of the room & the contents on each box for sure. If at all possible, put a colored index card or colored duct tape on each box to designate a room and make it easier to identify boxes as soon as they come off the truck.
*Enlist help on Moving Day. Whether that's from family or friends or even a sitter, it will be worth it to have your kids out of your hair, even for a few hours. This is definitely my #1 tip!! See if someone can host them at a playdate or park, especially once you get to the new house & want to be able to move boxes off the truck quickly. That being said....
*Have the movers put the items you'll need first on the truck last. I can't stress enough how important it is to communicate with your movers well! At the new house, you will want to unpack your kids' rooms first, to help with their transition to the new home. So their boxes of stuff, and especially their BEDS should be the last things packed on the truck at the old house. And the first things off at the new house!
*Take lots of breaks. Once you are finally moved in, you will be overwhelmed with thoughts of cleaning and unpacking and settling in and oh yeah.... keeping your kids entertained & happy. It will be a loooong process to get everything done, so just cut yourself some slack and know that there will be boxes in your house for days. Maybe weeks or even months. And that is okay! Try & see this whole thing through your kids' eyes.....they will be overwhelmed as well, but for very different reasons. Take lots of breaks, explore the new city together, build forts in empty boxes, and acclimate yourself to the new neighborhood. Have a family picnic dinner the first night in your house on the floor.

*And just because I love a checklist, here is one more that is fabulous, and lists tasks you should be doing, starting at 6 weeks prior to your move*
Good luck!!

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