Thursday, June 9, 2016

Moving with kids

Moving sucks.  A lot.  It's the "chaos before the good stuff" as my sweet friend Courtney so eloquently put it :)  While I feel like I'm still in the throes of moving a bit, there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.  Dim light, but light :)

Today, Erika and I are sharing a few tips for moving with kids.  A lot of mine are applicable to moving without kids as well, but I'm including them because I think they're valuable.

 Dave and I have only moved twice while married (I moved several times when I was in elementary school), once across McKinney when Luke was one and then across the street (pretty much) a few weeks ago.

- ONE -
Lower your expectations and then lower them some more... and then maybe even a little bit more than that.

Seriously.  I had all these expectations of how moving was going to "go".  I was going to pack one room a night and be done in a week and a half.  Everything was going to be labeled and organized and my kids were going to be angels and play nicely with books and puzzles while I worked. 

Um, no.

In my experience, everything that goes along with moving takes about 4 times as long as you think it will and requires twice as many supplies.  

By lowering your expectations, you'll be pleasantly surprised when you complete something ahead of schedule.

- TWO -
Cut everyone some slack.  Including yourself.

You might need to order pizza two nights a week or eat off paper plates for a month.  In the long run, no one will be any worse off and eventually you'll get to eat on a real plate again.

We set up this paper goods area in our kitchen and it was amazing how nice it was to not have to load/unload the dishwasher and/or wash dishes every day.

As much as you can, leave during showings. 

Thankfully, the market here right now is crazy.  We put our house on the market on a Friday afternoon and by Sunday it was sold.  We did a TON to prepare (decluttering, carpet cleaning, deep cleaning, window washing, etc.) and then we got out.  I didn't want to be stressed about the kids making a mess, getting everything perfect for 9 am showings the next morning, cleaning the bathtub, etc., so we stayed at a cottage at the country club and it was glorious.  I didn't have to gripe or nag and we had the best time.  If you're in a situation similar to ours (multiple showings over the course of a weekend), I would HIGHLY suggest staying somewhere else if you can. 

- FOUR -
Pack after the kids go to bed.

Everything is changing while you're moving - so keeping playtime and all of that consistent was key for us.  Just because you're moving doesn't mean that they don't want to play with you or understand why you can't spend the same amount of time with them as you did before.

Dave and I would caffeinate, turn on iTunes and pack as long as we could before calling it a night.   

It was actually kind of fun, and while we were wiped, it kept things feeling "normal" for our kids.

Embrace the crazy

It's going to be nuts.  Embrace it.  Picnic on the floor, use packing tape to make paths for Hot Wheels cars and let the kids color on the boxes.   

- SIX -
Pack their stuff last and set their rooms up first.

We packed the kids rooms last.  That way they had a place to go and play and it gave them a sense of normalcy at the end of the day.  When we did pack their rooms, we kept out a few of their favorite games and toys and played just with those the last week or so.

We worked on setting up their rooms ASAP after we moved in to help them feel settled and at home.  I also got our family room set up on the first day so that we all had a place to hang out and do our "normal" thing.

- SEVEN - 
Talk about it.

My kids like to ask questions... LOTS of questions.  Moving was a brand new experience and so they had twice the number of questions they have on a normal basis ;)  Mason was super upset because the house we were buying didn't have any toys.  We talked about it and got to put his little mind at ease.  Luke had tons of logistical questions and he wanted to know EVERYTHING, but then he was good to go.

- EIGHT - 
Take the help!

Moving is a ton of work.  So if people offer to help, accept.  

Watching the kids? Sure!
Helping to pack? Of course!
Bringing you dinner?  That would be lovely!

- NINE - 
Don't turn into a crazy person.

I kind of lost my mind while we were in the moving process.  I was stressed to the max (probably because it was also the last month of school), cried a lot and wasn't very nice.  I know that Dave and the kids felt it and I hate that I was like that.  If I had to go back and do the whole thing over again (OMG! NO!!!) I would relax, simmer down and take things more in stride.  God bless my family. ;)

I hope this helps!  And if you're in the moving process, know that at some point it will be over!  I promise!!! You'll be settled and comfortable and you'll (almost) forget that you just packed up your entire life and moved it to a new location.

I'd love for this post to be a resource for people moving, so leave your best tip(s) for moving in general and/or moving with kids in the comments below.  Thanks friends!


  1. Moving blows. It's basically torture for parents ;). Great tips though friend! So happy you're all moved in!

  2. I would say unpack your kitchen and your clothes first. I did it even before we moved! Helped big time!

  3. Our last military move is next week, so I'm prepping for the crew coming to pack is's such a process! :)

  4. Great great tips!!! I hope we never move again but if we do I'm memorizing this post!!

  5. In the last 12 months, our family of five sold our house, moved into an on campus dorm for three months, moved to Montreal for 5 months, moved into another on campus apartment, and finally got settled in our new house. I thought I was going to lose my mind (I kind of did). I wrote a post with logistical suggestions -

  6. Great tips! We just moved this weekend and your last tip made me laugh. I've been a crazy person for two months and now that we are in the house and mostly unpacked, I'm feeling slightly normal again. My poor husband. haha!

  7. Theses are great tips Andrea!!! Putting the boxes in the room they need to be once arriving in the new house really helps! I also make some notes on the boxes so I know exactly what's in them as some boxes are priority to open before others!!! Especially in a crazy market its so nice you were out of your house for the weekend during showings, they would of helped my sanity trenendously! Ours sold quick as well, I was so thankful.

  8. I have moved with kids several times. We make sure to talk about it and keep them involved. They help me clean out toys and pack boxes. We pack least played with toys first and I let them color on boxes-they pretend to label them. They loved helping me pack up the DVDs when we moved last year. Granted, we've moved 10 times in 10 years so I feel like we are "pros" LOL! Definitely agree with cut yourself some slack and take help! We had someone come stay with the girls last year while the movers were there and while they unloaded at the new house. That helped a ton!

  9. Chris and I have only moved twice, and I hope we never move again. You had some great tips!

  10. Someone suggested to me that we pack a suitcase for each member of the family as if you were going on a weekend trip (complete with clothes, shoes and toiletries) and carry those in the car to the new house rather than the truck. That way you won't need to be searching boxes for essentials for a few days. I'll never forget tearing boxes apart in the middle of the night looking for lotion one after a long day of moving- it could have been so easily avoided!

  11. Oohhh! This is great! We are in-between moves and have several weeks before we are in our home... For now we are in "the hotel" as my girls call it. I would add do NOT put your house on the market days after you have surgery assuming you will bounce back like a teenager. Hindsight, not our wisest decision, albeit we have seen the Lord's provision through it all. Happy Nesting!!

  12. Thanks for this post. My husband is constantly playing the "what if" game about moving houses. I can just show him your words to remind him how challenging moving can be with 3 kids! I hope to stay put where we are. I'm enjoying the pictures and posts about your new house though! Hope it gets easier and you can really enjoy your summer!

  13. I just moved a few months ago and was amazed at the amount of stuff I fit into my tiny studio apartment when it was all boxed up (25 boxes) and even though I only moved 25 blocks uptown it may have been 2500 miles with the amount of stress/tears/panic it caused. Your tips are great, and I will definitely keep them in mind for next time.

  14. I love these tips!! So helpful and things I wouldn't have thought about! Thanks for sharing!

  15. I love this. I also think moving is a great time to purge - so take advantage of it - and have someone come pick up your donations or trash before ever getting it to the new house!!

  16. Make your bed as soon as you get there! Sheets and all. There's nothing worse than unpacking all day, being dead tired and then having to make your bed. Make the bed first so you can crash when you're ready that first night!

  17. As a military family we have moved 5 times in the last 11 years (2 of them cross country and 1 of them by myself w/3 kids!) and I agree with errrything you said! 😉 I've found keeping things as normal as possible for the kids is key!! There's enough stress without dealing w/ behavior issues that are avoidable! I always just try to approach it with the goal of doing what I can each day and then letting it go when I go to bed and starting fresh again the next day! Holding on to frustration and disappointment over things not going as planned just makes an already tough time even harder! And like you said, accept help! That one was really tough for me to learn!!

  18. As a military family, we've moved 5 times in the last 11 years (2 of them cross country & the last 2 by myself w/3 kids!) and I agree with errrything you said!! I've found keeping things as normal as possible for the kids to be key! Helps to minimize behavior issues that just add stress! I try to just approach each day with the goal of doing as much as I can and then letting it go when I go to bed! Holding on to frustration and disappointment over things not going as planned or how you'd like only makes a tough time even harder! And like you said, accept all the help!! For whatever reason, this was the toughest one for me to learn but I don't know that I would have survived the last 2 moves without all the help I had!!

  19. Tip number 10- Once you've done the move part- find a friend (online or in real life) to inspire you! We moved last year twice with my 2 year old twin boys. First time in May when we sold our house and moved into a tiny 2 bedroom apartment and then again in November when we moved into our forever home. I'd spent the last 6 months in a rut with things still in boxes, no curtains, and feeling overwhelmed. Sure I've unpacked a ton of stuff but it still needs some "us" in the house. Excuses of the holidays, birthdays, etc just couldn't be excuses anymore. I watched you pack up your house and start to settle in your new and it got me going! I've got new bedding, curtains up, i'm gathering things for my gallery wall, etc. All that to say, thanks for sharing your journey and giving me a boost when I needed it! <3

  20. I'm still wondering if Griffin ever made it to her dance recital that weekend....

  21. I have no tips as we've only lived in our current home since marrying, but I get stressed looking around our house and thinking about how much work it would be to move. Although I feel like it would be a great time to declutter! I think staying in a hotel or such is a good least having somewhere to be if you have to jet real quick.

  22. If possible, keep all your hanging clothes on hangers. You can just cover them in garbage bags if necessary when moving. Then you can just hang them right back up!

  23. Great tips! We are moving in two weeks, I am not stressing out yet, but I feel it creeping close 😬!!

  24. We moved two years ago, and it's taken me almost until now to be able to laugh about it! The week of our move my husband came down with a 103 fever and strep throat. I was pregnant with our third child and had bronchitis. I was coughing so hard that (in my pregnant state) it made me wet my pants. I couldn't stop coughing (and peeing) long enough to pack! We celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary that week...while simultaneously being under a tornado warning. It was like a comedy of errors! Everything ended up working out fine, though, and we survived. Yay! :) My big tip comes more on the other side of the move, once in the new house. I underestimated how much I would miss the HARMONY that existed in our old house. It took awhile to get new furniture, decorate, and make the new house "home." I knew I would be sentimental about leaving our first house, but the slowly-evolving harmony in the new house was challenging (especially to a nesting, hormonal pregnant lady). So my advice is to try to be patient and appreciate the process of it all! It's not where, but who you're with, that really matters after all :) Congrats on your new home!

  25. We just put our house on the market on Thursday and had an offer before bed that night. I have 2 small children and have been freaking out! Maybe I'm just still in shock. This will definitely be a resource for me!!