It doesn’t matter whether it’s across town or an ocean, moving is always a big project. And we’ve recently learned that it only gets more complicated with a baby in tow! Troy and I have moved four times in the last five years (bringing my personal total to 13 moves in 27 years!) – twice across state lines, once within Boston, and now, once internationally. We’ve also tried just about every form of moving – packing up the car, renting a U-Haul and loading it ourselves, packing boxes and having someone else do the physical moving, and finally, just letting someone else take over altogether (though I still organized and “pre-packed” before they came…it’s a problem I have)! Thankfully, that also means we have had four opportunities to refine our moving “system” with the hope for a smoother transition the next time around. Regardless of whether you are moving yourself or have hired professionals, here are what we have found to be the most helpful components for a smooth transition so far:
- Label Everything. It’s a bit obsessive, but Troy and I have managed to keep a spreadsheet listing each box and its components for the last few moves (moving companies will do this also – make sure to look it over before signing off!), and it has made a big difference both in unpacking and reporting damages. A number on each box and the spreadsheet listing its contents has allowed us to direct the boxes to the appropriate room in the new apartment far more easily than unloading according to the rooms of our old house. It’s also a great way to prioritize which boxes to unpack first (sheets and towels anyone?)!
- Purge BEFORE The Move.
- You know your neighborhood. Purging prior to the move is a must in my book – knowing where the nearest Goodwill or charity shop is located and how the system works drastically decreases the roadblocks in de-cluttering and organizing a new home.
- You know your home. Take a moment to sit down somewhere comfortable and envision each room of the house…as you mentally walk through each space, you may be able to quickly identify a handful of items that haven’t been used since you moved in or definitely won’t be needed in your new house or apartment. It can be a big project, but I’ve learned that I prefer to take a few minutes or hours to deal with purging those items now rather than letting the extra clutter and work cloud the excitement of a new home.
- You know your routine (especially important with baby!). Moving is synonymous with chaos, but I’ve learned that the more organized I am before the move, the sooner the chaos will be over once we’ve arrived in the new location. Even the best move leaves us eating from paper plates and has baby unhappy about the new smells, so organizing while still in a familiar environment and routine will be less hectic for all.
- Involve Baby in the Process. E had just reached 6 months and found a new curiosity for the world around her as we were preparing to move to London. After several frustrating hours of trying to work around her sleep schedule and do my packing at night, I finally decided to embrace our situation and involve her in the process instead. From the floor, swing or pack and play, she would eagerly watch as I organized her clothes or packed the towels into storage bags (As of this last move, I have become a HUGE fan of storage bags…they keep things clean and bug free inside the boxes and provide an easy way to pack and unpack. Try to bulk related items together – all pillows, covers and throws for the sofa in one bag, all sheets and towels for the main bed/bathroom in one bag, etc. These groupings also make for great mini unpacking projects!). Though she could masterfully crawl over my piles on the ground and run away with the tape measure as soon as I turned my back (choose your tasks and locations carefully…), it’s a perfect way to stimulate her with sights and sounds while also introducing the coming adjustments to her in a gradual and engaging manner.
And just for fun…
- Survive. Moving is not pretty, but I assure you, the chaos ends eventually and a new routine sets in. Family and friends willing to help during a transition are an amazing blessing, and I’m convinced take-out was invented for new moms and those who are moving, so take advantage of the extra hands and easy feedings and remember to enjoy the period of adjustment!
As I will most certainly be moving at least one more time in the coming years (hopefully multiple times), and I know plenty of you have done your fair share of moving as well, I’m curious to hear what your moving tips and tricks are! I’m all about improving our system and would love to learn from you, too ;)