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The following checklist is a handy tool to help you prepare for your move, and understand what you will need to know and do during each phase of your moving process.
PART I – Preparing Your Child Emotionally
The first thing to do is to speak positively about your move right from the get-go.
Children are experts at taking emotional cues. Looking or sounding sad (or fearful of the looming tantrum) will trigger a lot of stress in their little heads. At the same time, over-the-top enthusiasm will likely confuse your child. They will undoubtedly experience some negative emotions, so acting if those don’t or shouldn’t exist will also tie them up in knots. Acknowledge the downsides, but emphasize – early and often – the positive things you can all look forward to.
Show pictures of the new house.
And some places nearby, like parks, playgrounds and pizza parlors. Make plans to go out and explore, using Google maps and Google Earth to help make your new home come to life in their heads.
There are actually children’s books about this.
Help them understand all their complicated feelings about the move. Here are three good ones:
- Franklin’s Bad Day by Paulette Bourgeois (www.paulettebourgeois.ca/).
- A New Home for Tiger by Joan Stimson (www.goodreads.com/book/show/6316276-a-new-home-for-tiger )
- Goodbye, Hello by Barbara Shook Hazen (www.librarything.com/work/544854)
Mark a calendar with the move date.
Count off each day as it passes. Not with big black X’s – those are no fun and arguably intimidating. Instead, let your child put a sticker on each day that passes. Let them put extra stickers on the days they helped with the things in part two.
PART II – Preparing Your Child Physically
Ask your children what they’d like to do with the boxes.
Do this right when you get them all unpacked at your new home. Show them some possibilities like these to spark their imaginations. Then let them mark each box they think they’ll want to use – with a circle or some kind of “secret symbol” so no one forgets.
Give your child a special cardboard “treasure chest”.
This is for all the things they want to take with them on the car ride to your new home. Let them draw all over it (and the rest of their boxes too.) Just explain that whatever they take has to fit in that box. Make sure to help them with the difficult choices that are sure to come!
Protip: Your child might not even open that chest during the trip from old house to new. Just knowing all their most prized possessions are still with them (somewhere in the back of the crowded car) may be enough to keep them feeling secure. But they’ll still want something to do for however many hours (or days?) until you are in your new home and the movers show up with the rest of your world. Fill their backpack with books, paper and crayons, small toys and whatever else you or they decide would be fun to have. Don’t have a backpack yet? There may never be a better time then now.
Hire a babysitter. Multiple times.
Invite grandma over for some quality time. Have a few playdates with their friends – preferably at those friends’ homes! This not only takes their mind off the move for a while, but it takes them off your hands so you can get things done. You’ll need the time. (Trust us!)
And make sure to give them an important job for move day.
Ask them to open the door to each bedroom, bathroom and closet when it’s time to show the movers around. Tell them passing out bottles of water or paper plates for the pizza is an important job that will need to be done. Or spur their imaginations by explaining the upstairs hallway and the pathways to the front door are going to be the movers’ runways, and it would be great if they could make sure everyone keeps them clear on…
PART III – The Move Day
Assign a room or an area that is only for them.
Their bedroom is a good and obvious choice, as this might be the place they’ll feel most secure when the rest of the house is being cleared out. (Remind them not to go running out onto the runway without peeking out their door first, to make sure no “airplanes” are coming.) You also may need to rotate them out if they are the kind of child who doesn’t want to be couped up all day. (And who does?)
Protip: You probably won’t want to add to your load right before your move, but think about getting something new for them to have with them in their private space. Something as simple (and compact) as a Nerf basketball hoop or a stuffed animal or a new DVD works great and can help keep them happy and busy, while also serving as an early start to their new life in their new home.
Keep their tummies (and their hearts) happy.
By this point, any fridge you have will be empty and defrosted. So it’s a great idea to have plenty of food and drink on hand, for move day and for the trip to your new home. But you are also going to be without a fridge and a stove for a while, which can be challenging if you don’t want your child eating Happy Meals all day. Hit the supermarket for minimum preparation food items – cereal, yogurt and fruit, sandwiches and veggies and, of course, cookies! And then get something special for dinner, like pizza. Or, okay, a Happy Meal.
Protip: Paper plates and cups are super-convenient when you are on the road, but consider bringing your child’s favorite cereal bowl, dinner plate and cup (with a spill-proof top) in the car to add a sense of comfort and continuity. Just because your child is not saying anything through their mouthful of pepperoni doesn’t mean everything’s cool in their world.
This is a big one: ask the movers to save loading your kid’s room for last.
This gives your child as much time as possible in their little private world, but it also means their things will be coming off the truck first at your new home. Imagine how happy – and important – that will make your child feel as you…
PART IV – Acclimate Them to Their New Home, Right From the Start
Make seeing your stuff again an event.
Ask your child where they think the TV should go. Help them arrange their bedroom, and talk about how they can decorate it. Imagine all the fun things you’ll be able to do in the family room, the basement and the yard. Heck, remind them that there are runways in this house too!
Put off the unpacking until you tour the neighborhood.
Take some time instead to help your child get accustomed to their new surroundings. Go for a walk together. Meet the neighbors. Find that park or playground. Get ice-cream. At the end of the day, make sure they feel safe and secure – and happy – in their new room. The rest of the house may still be a sea of cardboard and shrink-wrapped furniture, but making your child feel like they truly are at home has to be priority one.
Finally, and most importantly, remember our first point: As hectic and challenging the process of moving can be, your positive attitude will cue your child into the idea that despite the downsides, you all have plenty of positives to look forward to. And that works for adults, too.
Moving day is approaching and, as you pack, you’re realizing that you have more stuff than you thought. All of a sudden, your tiny one-bedroom apartment kitchen looks like it has enough food and equipment to cook for a busy restaurant. This scenario is all too common when it comes to moving and people tend to get overwhelmed, which then leads to becoming stressed out and irritated. These days, with the countless demands that are placed on us by our jobs, families and everyday lives, it seems more and more difficult to rely on friends to help with your move— and that’s why you may decide to hire professional Moving Help Providers. To help keep things kosher on moving day, keep the following quick tips in mind.
- Communicate! Communication isn’t only necessary in relationships and work, but with your moving helpers as well. Make sure both you and the Moving Help Providers have multiple channels of communication. Try to exchange at least two phone numbers on both ends for calling or text messages, and using your e-mail as well.
- Make sure to have all of the appropriate moving materials and equipment. As you’re doing a do-it-yourself move, make sure you have boxes, tape, markers, pads, and anything else you may need to properly move your specialty furniture and appliances.
- Be flexible in case something doesn’t go as planned. If it’s moving day, then Murphy’s Law could make an appearance. Keep in mind that weather, traffic, and other emergencies could impact how your move goes; try to go with the flow. Remember that something may also happen on the end of your Moving Help Providers, and a slight change in schedule may be needed. This is why planning and communication is very important to creating a stress-free move.
- Finally, if you hire helpers for your move, do not forget that it is part of the service industry. You paid for the service, but it is a nice gesture to tip the movers for their hard work and helping you out in the moving process.
Let’s face it: Moving days are never easy. After all, no one looks forward to lifting heavy boxes in and out of trucks, up and down stairs. However, moving day doesn’t have to be completely chaotic, either. All it takes is a little planning and forethought to make the day run smoothly.
With that in mind, we decided to go straight to the source. We asked pro movers to share their best advice on how to accomplish a painless move. Incorporate some of these moving tips into your packing plan to help this would-be-stressful process go off without a hitch.
Schedule your move strategically
“If you’re hoping to get a better rate on a moving company or rental truck, avoid scheduling your move on weekends or at the end of the month. These companies are usually slower during the week/mid-month and are willing to give deals,” says Ryan Carrigan, co-founder of moveBuddha.
“If you’re hiring a moving company, try to book the earliest morning time slot available. The moving crew will be fresh, so they’ll typically get the job done more efficiently.”
Have the right materials on hand
“Most people know that they’ll need plenty of boxes, packing tape and bubble wrap for the move. However, shrink wrap can be your best friend when it comes to moving,” advises Tieece Gordon of Affordable Removals. “Take furniture, for example – it may be expensive, but it’s also fragile. Drawers and doors on wardrobes, dressers, etc. can also be securely fastened shut using this cost-effective material. Plus, it never hurts to buy more of everything than you think you’ll need.”
Pack non-essential items first
“Don’t just start boxing up everything in sight,” says Kelly Tenny, Content and Social Media Manager with Zippboxx. “Pack up your belongings in a strategic manner. Go room-by-room and begin by packing up items that you do not use very often, like décor and accessories. Leave the things that you use frequently for last. This will save you time scouring boxes you already packed for that one item you need!”
Watch the weight of your boxes
“Be careful not to pack boxes that are too heavy,” suggests Emil Perushanov, owner of Top Removals. “Not only will they be a literal pain for your movers on moving day, but they’ll be difficult for you to move around while packing.”
As for a general rule? “Try to stick to a 30-pound limit for each box and, when packing heavier items like books, use smaller boxes. This will keep you from overloading.”
Prep your appliances in advance
Kate Windleton, Relocations Manager at Strong Move, recommends planning ahead when it comes to appliances. “Your fridge needs to be defrosted at least a day earlier. Your washing machine, your oven, etc. should be turned off, cleaned and, if possible, put in their original boxes. Secure their cords and seal their doors so they don’t open accidentally while inside of the truck.”
Have you moved recently? What moving tips can you share from your experience? Tell us in the comments.