1. Don’t move.
OK, if you absolutely have to move, which we just did, I have some actual advice. We finally bought our first home after living in the same two bedroom apartment for 12 years and I learned some things.
1. Declutter first. You have more stuff than you realize. Even if you’re not officially moving, start doing it. If you think you’re moving months from now, declutter. Decluttering is always good anyway. I did some decluttering, but not enough. I’m now kicking myself as I unpack things that don’t matter to me that much. I begged my husband to declutter the storage unit, which was filled with his construction stuff, drums, and much more. He said he would deal with it when we moved, but he had no idea just how much work it was going to be. We had so much stuff in there, we couldn’t fit it on the 26 foot truck we rented. We had to go back for several more loads using my van, his truck, and a trailer we borrowed from a friend. Thank goodness we were only moving 45 minutes away, or we would have had to dump some stuff. Decluttering will ensure that your most valuable possessions make it on the truck and to your new home. Get the kids involved. They probably have plenty of things they don’t play with anymore.
2. Have your least helpful children go somewhere else maybe a night or two before if you can. Our kids weren’t all going to be able to even find some floor to sleep on once we took apart the bunk beds and other furniture. Also, there was a lot less fighting with our younger two gone at Grandma’s.
3. Hate accepting help? Accept help. Come on, just this once! I am 6 months pregnant and had to accept help. Sometimes I had to lie down on the floor and drink water because I was having contractions. I felt guilty doing that while everyone else was working, but it was necessary. I never would have made it through without my friends.
4. Paper plates, cups, etc. before and after the move. I try to avoid eating out too much because it’s just too expensive and the cheaper food is unhealthy. We were lucky to have some wonderful friends who brought us dinner! Otherwise we survived on frozen pizzas, microwave burritos, etc.
5. Teach the kids how to pack. It’s a great opportunity and maybe they can help someone else sometime. My kids learned how to tape up boxes and about the best things to put in large or small boxes.
6. Take pictures. It’s a chaotic time, but still quite the memory. I wanted to remember those who showed up to help. I’m glad I remembered to do this.
7. Make a list of the really important things you want to find the night you move in or very soon after. Get some colorful tape and put it on the boxes you pack them in so you can find them easily. I found some rainbow duct tape, which made it possible for everyone to shower. And I didn’t have to run out and buy a new shower curtain that night. One time we had to buy new sheets because we couldn’t find them.
8. Label everything and make your kids label everything. I don’t just label what stuff is in it, but which room I want the box to go in. For example: Kitchen – pots and pans, cutting boards, etc. I don’t want to open a box that I don’t really need at the moment.
9. Make sure there’s plenty of water for everyone, especially in the summer and snacks for helpers too. I wanted to show my appreciation, so I picked up some gourmet bagels, doughnuts, chocolate milk, juice, and more.
10. Join a group on Facebook or something where people offer things for free. I was able to obtain boxes with much less work than usual. A few times I just ran by people’s houses to pick up boxes they had just unpacked. Until then, I was running from store to store trying to find some they hadn’t gotten rid of yet. I will do this next time, if there is a next time. I hope there’s never a next time. I’m a part of “Buy Nothing” which they have in various cities. I was able to help two people by giving away the ones I unpacked so far. It’s so much better than just putting them in recycling. It’s also another thing I had my kids help with by putting them outside when someone is going to come by. If you’re moving, I’m really sorry to hear it, but good luck! I hope some of these tips are helpful.