Tips from a Realtor on Moving with Young Kids
Let’s be honest. Kids are hard. They are, of course, loving, cute, and imaginative, but they also have a tendency to break rules, make messes, get into things, and need attention at every waking (and sleeping) hour.
So, if you’re a parent, how on Earth do we get anything done? If you’re like me, and enter ‘survival’ mode often, which is best described as doing the bare minimum to keep everyone alive, then thinking about moving homes is definitely out of the question...right?
However, what if I told you that I bought, sold, and renovated a home with a 6 week old baby and lived to tell the tale? What if I told you that if given the chance, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Why? Because home is important to me and my family. It’s where we’re at our best, our worst, and everything in between. To me, living somewhere that makes me feel creative, comfortable, and vulnerable is on the priority list and I will leave 'survival' mode for it.
So, a week after given the clear for ‘light and moderate’ exercise by my OB after my c-section, I was off hauling boxes and packing up my sons first nursery, (that he slept in for one week before moving). I am not going to sugarcoat it and say it wasn’t stressful or came without challenges, however, I will say the tips below truly did help the process go much smoother than any of my family members expected when they verbally told me I was nuts.
1. Make a timeline and stick to it!
Looking at an entire house of belongings that need to be packed is daunting and overwhelming. Instead of looking at the bigger picture, make a to-do list by day. Set a goal on what you want to accomplish by the end of that day, and don’t stop until it’s done. Maybe it’s ‘pack the entire guest bedroom’ or ‘pack up every closet’. Slowly but surely, each day will come and go and you’ll go to bed feeling accomplished and *hopefully* less stressed. Also, unless you want each box to be packed and unpacked 40 times, try and do most of your packing when your kids are asleep. They can be great helpers but aren’t known to be the best organizers and your Grandma probably won't appreciate them breaking her fine china.
2. You’re not above paper plates
Be prepared and ready for some mess and disorganization. The process of moving isn’t a ‘tidy’ one. Expect much more take-out meals than normal, eating on paper plates, and boxes surrounding you. If you let your standards down for a few weeks while you’re packing and moving, it will feel that much better when things are back in order again! Don't worry, your kids will be okay if they get a fast food meal instead of their organic, non-gmo vegetables and protein, and they'll have a new happy meal toy to play with for a couple days (until you throw it away, because... read below).
3. Purge (no, not the movie)
Don’t waste your time packing all of those hotel sample size shampoo and conditioners that have been sitting in your linen closet for five (or the above happy meal toy). Throw them away! Involve the kids by having them donate clothes that don’t fit or toys they no longer play with. When you unpack your new home, you will feel lighter and more calm having less junk to find a space for. Have a garage sale, a virtual sale on Facebook Marketplace, or an Estate sale (no, those aren’t just for old people!) to help clear your clutter and make a few extra bucks in the process.
4. Meet your new best friend, Clear Storage Container.
Get a few of these from a local hardware store and fill them with the essentials you need during the moving process. Buy one for each kid and also one for bathroom goods, kitchen goods, and cleaning products. For the kitchen, place some bibs, sippy cups, dish soap, paper plates, napkins, etc. For your kids, a few books and their favorite toys. If it doesn’t fit in the storage container, it gets packed in a box! When it’s time to pack the moving truck, make sure these containers get packed last. Unpack them first so you have all of your necessities close by and your kids have something to play with. You'll be happy to be able to clean your new home and not go through tons of boxes trying to find the paper towels.
5. Pack with your New Home in Mind
It’s easy to pack boxes in a way that makes sense to how your current home is laid out, but if you already know where you’re moving to, then keep your new homes layout in mind. For example, if things you are currently storing in your garage are now going to be stored in a basement, then write ‘basement’ on the box. If your extra linens were being stored in a guest room closet, but your new home has a designated linen closet, make sure to label your box as ‘linen closet’ instead of ‘guest room’. This will make things a lot easier when you’re unpacking and will save you hundreds of flights of stairs. I promise!
So, I want to hear from you! have you moved with kids? What were some tricks you've learned? Would you do it again? Let me know in the comments below!