I hate it.
But, I’ve learned to rock our move. I’ve got it down pat. I don’t even worry anymore.
There are two things to remember when your move is imminent. (Keep in mind, I am a military spouse. This is my perspective and my advice from experience.)
1. It’s going to happen. The movers will come. The packers will somehow get all your junk in boxes and in crates before you know it. You don’t need to worry if it will happen. It’s happening.
2. It’s all about self-care. Anyone can wave goodbye to the moving truck without having showered for the last three days, freaking out that they packed your flat iron and your kids twilight turtle that you will need every day until you see your crates again.
It takes only a handful of International or cross-country moves to realize that you need to not only plan your every move, but also pencil in some time to out-process your emotions and not drive your family crazy. Like it or not, there is a pretty hefty chance that your whole family is looking to you to be the rock on which they depend throughout the crazy changes ahead. You are the person that will make this new place a home. Your warmth and stability will make this a success.
Here are some of my tips to rock your move. Hope you find them helpful as you wade through your next move!
1. When you schedule your move, take some time to go through your entire house on video. With your smart phone, it’s a breeze to do. Walk through the house, stating the date and time, and open every cabinet and drawer. God forbid, if your stuff gets lost or stolen, you have a portable record for insurance purposes. And it takes you just a few minutes.
2. Before your packers come, pack your suitcases fully. Anything you will need along the way as you are visiting Aunt Edna in Florida and Grandpa in Maine, pack your bags. Put them in your car. This makes sure that you have room for all the stuff you will need (you won’t have to buy a last minute suitcase) and that nothing is packed out from under you. It also makes sure that it will fit in your car or a car as you head to the airport. When we left for Egypt, we had 10 bags PLUS two car seats. :) Pack them before the packers come. If you have ten, plus two car seats, ask your neighbor if you can put them in their garage for the day.
3. Before you throw out all that food you aren’t allowed to bring, make yourself a snack bag for the plane AND a breakfast box for the hotel. The thing about these is that you are thoughtfully putting a box together that will get you through not only your journey, but also your first evening and morning in a hotel room when you are jet-lagged and starving. Side bonus is that you aren’t paying tons for snacks in an airport shop that are all sugar and make your kids crazy.
I pack the following:
(one per kiddo - assume in the craziness of this move that they'll not eat any airplane food. if they do, great!)
Clif Bars (two per kiddo)
packs of cracker sandwiches (my Mom always called them Nabs)
One fun size bag of m&ms.
One homemade sandwich. This is for the ultimate comfort if the kids start to melt down.
If you are flying right away, put a couple frozen Go-gurts in there. Your kids will need the tummy help.
*The key here is not a lot of sugary stuff. The kids will be in a car or on a plane for a LONG time*
A pack of oatmeal and plastic spoon for each of us.
-This can serve for breakfast or dinner, and can be made with the paper coffee cups in any hotel room.
Instant coffee packs, both decaf and regular
Sugar packets, I count out the right amount for two cups a day for 4 days
Mini-moo creamers. I know it’s silly, but I cannot do powdered milk in my coffee. Bleh!
If I have space, I pack two shelf-stable chocolate milks.
-These make a huge difference in my kids in the morning as both need protein first thing.
Several ziploc bags in sandwich and freezer size. I always end up using them.
Individual pods of peanut butter.
-Make a sandwich at the breakfast buffet and put it in a sandwich bag for later in the day.
4. Make a hotel box, I use disposable tupperware, and fill it with dryer sheets, a few laundry detergent pods, some folded up paper towels, some lysol wipes, and even plastic utensils. I wipe everything down with Lysol wipes real quick when we first get into a hotel room and we rarely get sick when we travel. P.S. I do this on the airplane too. Laugh all you want. I don’t want to be exhausted and sick.
5. If you are making a huge move where you will not have your stuff for a long time, I have two words for you. Space bags. When we moved to Egypt, the best thing I did was space bag all our linens and put them into one suitcase. I also included a shower curtain and hooks, dish towels, and my towel hair turbans. :) So what if you have to pay for one heavy bag at the airport? When we arrived here late at night and utterly exhausted, I unzipped the space bag and put Piper’s linens on her bed, and Liam’s linens on his bed. They climbed into their soft sheets and comforters and slept great! Plus their rooms looked like their rooms right from the jump. SuperDad and I also brought our down comforter and sheets and were so thrilled to sink into the bed in familiar comfort. It was the best thing I ever did. I also brought wall decals for each of the kids rooms so that they could decorate their room after they woke up that first day. It took up hardly any space, but made a world of difference. The bottom line is that you should figure out what makes you feel comfort. Is it a tea cup that you use every morning? A towel you’ve loved since college? A spoon rest your grandma gave you? Bring it. You will need comfort. I brought my FAVORITE couch blanket. I used it every evening after the kids went to bed. SuperDad was so jealous. :D
6. Plan something small every day that has nothing to do with the move. Take your hubby on a date to the movies. Take your kids to McDonald’s for a sundae. Schedule a pedicure or a facial for yourself the day after the packers come. Do not try to cook that week. Make it a point to hit every favorite restaurant you will miss and don’t worry about trying to cook and clean. Try to find someone to help with the kids while the packers are there. I was unlucky to have two kids home with strep, plus hubby out of town, when our packers came. It was not awesome.
7. Pay someone to clean your empty house. There is nothing more depressing than cleaning up your home when it’s empty. You are already a little emotional, you don’t need to be on your hands and knees sobbing and scrubbing where your baby took her first steps. Just pay someone to do it. Yes, it costs money. You know the move is coming. Save up the $150 and find someone. You will be supporting another family. I was so depressed when we left our house after six years in it, the house where I had become a mother and watched my babies crawl and walk and read for the first time, I sobbed my way through cleaning. It was unsettling to my kids, threw my hubby off, and made the last day extremely hard. Don’t be like me.
8. If you don’t love it, don’t bring it with you. Go through your clothes. If you haven’t worn it in the last 2-3 years, give it away or sell it. Have a yard sale, take it to an orphanage or woman’s shelter, get it out of your life. You will be grateful when you don’t have to unpack it again on the other end. The best part of moving is purging all the garbage and unnecessary stuff.
9. Don’t forget your family routines. If you read a book every night before bed, bring a couple books. If your kids color in the mornings when they wake up, bring some new coloring books for the hotel.
10. Plan ahead for birthdays or holidays that will be taking place within the first two months. If your son is turning 6, go ahead and pack some birthday candles and a couple wrapped presents. You will be glad you did. If it will be your anniversary or valentine’s day, go ahead and write the cards and put them in your bag.
I hope this has been helpful! Please comment below or on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/lifeofsupermom) if you have any additional tips from the top! I’d just love to hear from you.