As a mom, moving to a new home and a new neighbourhood can be fun but also stressful, especially for the kids. It is sometimes hard to explain to kids why you are leaving home and moving to a new city where they have no friends. Here’s some stress-free moving tips to help your transition to your new home go as smoothly as possible!
Plan Your Move
Planning is everything. A good moving plan will help you avoid surprises on your moving day as you will have sorted everything in advance. Moving should start well ahead of time, since you will be required to sort your belongings, purchase moving materials like boxes and find a reliable moving company or rent a moving truck.
As a rule of thumb, give yourself more time for the move than you think. Our last move was nearly a disaster as I didn’t start packing soon enough and we were not ready to go on the day we were supposed to move out. My husband spent most of the night shuttling furniture and boxes from our old home to our new.
If you are moving across country and have several vehicles or a motorcycle, you’ll have to plan how to get them to your new home. For example, you can hire a local moving company with motorcycle courier services. This way, you will save time as you won’t be riding the motorcycle to your new home. It may be easier to fly as a family to your new home and ship all the vehicles rather than take a long drive with kids.
Declutter and Organize
Use the months or weeks before your move to declutter and organize. If you’re packing yourself, this can be a great time to ask yourself, “Do we really use this?” before putting it in a box. When you have to pick up everything that you own, and open every drawer, and label every box, you really have to time think about what you need and what you don’t really care to leave behind.
Whether you’re hiring movers or moving yourself, decluttering (and donating) items can save you time and money. Most movers charge by the weight, so the less stuff you take with you on your move, the less you have to pay. And even if you’re moving yourself… think about how many boxes you want to be packing, carrying, and unpacking. Go through your clothes and the kids clothes and try to create a capsule wardrobe. Donate toys they’ve outgrown and no longer play with. Donate books that no one has read. Get rid of extra papers—kids crafts and art projects, old utility statements, etc.
The more organized you are on your moving day, the easier it will go, both in packing and unpacking. There’s nothing worse than hunting for something you thought was in a master bedroom box, only to find it in the kitchen box.
Some things may be easier to donate and buy new at your new home than to pack across the country (or even across the city). For example, before we moved from Alberta to BC, I gave away all my houseplants. I didn’t think they’d survive in the moving trailer or in our vehicle for the 12-hour drive to the coast. And even if they did, they might not have liked the change in climate. On that move, we also ditched an old mattress and bought ourselves a new mattress in our new home.
Prepare the Kids
Moving with children is always a challenge since you have to look for a new school and new extracurricular providers like music teachers. You kids will also face the challenge of leaving their friends behind and all the things they liked about their home and neighbourhood. Most parents try to postpone moving until a school break, but that is still not a solution. The best solution is to prepare your kids by talking to them why you are moving and the good things in the new home.
Spend some time researching your new home and neighbourhood and city. Make a “bucket list” of places you want to visit after you move. Use Google maps to explore the neighbourhood and check out parks or other nearby features. If you have any friends or family in the area, reach out to them ahead of time and help your kids connect with any potential friends their age. If your kids are in school, you could involve them in researching potential schools and perhaps even visiting schools before moving.
Your kids will also want to keep in touch with their old friends. Assure them they can still keep in touch via telephone, letters, social media and video games. Consider starting to set up some of these means of contact before your phone. For example, encourage your kids to call their friends to chat or to find each other on their favourite video games and play together. If you plan to return during holidays to visit, they can look forward to that as well.
Your local library may have some books about moving for kids (or you could order a few moving-day presents for them). These can help you talk about the move with your kids in a friendly way, through their favourite storybook characters.
Moving without help is a challenge, and it can be worse if you have kids to look after even during the process. Hiring a professional moving company will help you move with ease because you will transfer all the tasks and processes to them. These professionals can help you sort out your belongings, pack them, load them to the truck and move them to your new home. Depending on the nature of the contract, they can also help you put everything in its position in the new house.
We’ve moved six times since our marriage, and used a moving company once. It was by far and away our best move and I would highly recommend it. We were moving at New Year’s, so we drove from Vancouver Island to Alberta to see our families for the holidays as we usually do. After Christmas, my husband drove back to supervise the movers, and then followed them to our new home in Vancouver. I drove home after he’d supervised the unloading and set up our furniture. The kids had their beds ready to go, and I was able to start unpacking the rest of the boxes the next day.
We did the rest of our moves ourselves, or with friends and family helping us. As we had more kids and acquired more furniture, this grew to be more work. It’s hard to pack boxes when you have a new baby or toddlers in the home. I’d always try to get as much as I could packed ahead of time, but as I mentioned, this didn’t happen on our last move, just after Pearl was born. If you cannot afford to hire movers, see if you can have a “moving party” and invite your friends to come help pack and load the truck.
Hire a Babysitter
Even if you have hired movers, you will still be in the house to guide them. Having the kids around when boxes and furniture are being carried out of the house is not a good idea. Playing kids can slow down the movers, plus there is also a high risk of injury. The best way to keep them away from all the risks is by hiring a babysitter or have them to go a friend’s place on moving day. The babysitter will help you avoid distractions by taking over the role of tending to the kids or taking them to a nearby park until the moving is done.
Don’t Forget to Clean
Yes, that’s right… now that you’ve gotten all your belongings out of your home, you likely need to clean it (especially if you are renting). Leave a cleaning kit unpacked so that you can quickly wipe down bathrooms, floors, walls and windows after everything is packed. Determine what you can clean ahead of time, like the oven and windows. If you’ve hired movers or asked friends to help, you may be able to start cleaning each room as it gets emptied out. Another option is to hire cleaners to come into the house once the moving is done.
Since moving, in most cases, comes as a necessity that we can’t avoid, the best thing to do is to plan and use all the means that can make it less stressful. If you are a mom with a moving day ahead, I hope these tips will help make the process stress-free.
How many times have you moved? What moving tips would you share?