I consider myself a pretty experienced mover. My husband and I counted how many times we’ve both moved since we began college, and the number between us was 21. That’s a lot of moves! However, we have not moved with small children, and let me tell you- that, my friends, that is a whole different ball game. Also, we haven’t moved a distance this far in quite some time, so that threw a whole level of complication that was unexpected.
Before I get started addressing the mistakes I made, let me shout out my in-laws and parents, without whom this move would not have happened. Between the four of them, they packed boxes, entertained babies, and fixed things around the house. This move would have been even more chaotic if they hadn’t been there to help! We’re fortunate to have such hands on, loving parents. Thank goodness they were around, I would have lost it without them.
I think the biggest mistake I made was not starting packing soon enough. I started about a week ahead of time, and I should have started AT LEAST two weeks in advance. We were packing until 1 in the morning the night before they came and there was STILL stuff that wasn’t in boxes! I underestimated how much stuff we had (and I’ve been purging our belongings for months) and how difficult it is to pack with two little kids who want to see what you’re doing and look for trouble when you’re not paying attention.
I’ve never had professional movers before, so this wasn’t something I’ve thought about- but labeling which room boxes go in to would have helped the movers with unloading and eliminated some of the quick decision making that bogged and tired out my mind on unloading day. I made some mistakes directing which boxes go where, and that has slowed down my unpacking efforts considerably.
I also should have brought more cleaning supplies with us when we got there the night before the movers did. Our sellers did pay someone to come clean before they left, but I’m guessing, based on the way that we found the house, those cleaners did not, in fact show up. Moving into a dirty house is just gross, so… lesson painfully learned. A vacuum, mop, and all purpose cleanser would have been miracle workers.
Things to remember to pack for your kids- all of their toiletries and a variety of toys. Trust me on this. I did get all of their bedtime stuff with us, but I forgot toothbrushes (oops), so this meant an extra run to the store when I was already strapped for time. Don’t forget your own toiletries and bedding, in addition to what your kids need. It’s like you’re packing for the most overwhelming, stressful overnight vacation ever.
I wish we would have had window coverings, at least for the kids room, installed and ready to go ahead of time. This was a complete slip of the mind on my part, because I had forgotten we had asked the painter to remove all the old vertical blinds. David especially is light sensitive when he sleeps, and I would have loved having him sleep in until 7.30 on move in day, not 6.30.
If you have dogs, bring their beds. Our dogs love their beds, and we forgot to pack those for them. I didn’t forget their food, bowls or medications, however, much to their pleasure.
I/we didn’t do everything wrong, however. Some big pluses for this move include hiring a moving company (worth every penny) and having the house painted before we arrived. Fresh paint makes everything feel bright and clean, I think, and the painter himself commented on how much he liked my paint choices. (Why, thank you! I happen to like them too 🙂 Finally, having a trailer strictly for trash has alleviated a lot of anxiety about what to do with all of the house rubbish, like the old vertical blinds, and has helped keep our trash area looking not so… trashy.
What words of wisdom do you have to share with families who are planning a big move? Share below in the comments!