I am in the midst of the Sisyphean task of moving across the country with two kids under two and my in-laws. My partner works 14 hour days, so when I’m not worrying about packing, I’m debating whether it’s too early for wine or too late for more coffee.
I’m a teacher- I like routine, I like knowing what’s next, I like putting things back in the correct place. Moving is none of those things. My life looks like there was a huge party last night that I wasn’t invited to and everyone left before cleaning up. Things. Are. Everywhere.
So please, learn from my mistakes. May they save you time, money and sanity.
5. Have a photo shoot in your home.
Ok, this won’t save you time or money. This was our first home and leaving it feels like leaving a piece of myself. These photos give me that piece back. I brought both my kids home from the hospital here. We had our post- wedding brunch here. And although I complained daily about the lack of storage space and cheap cabinets and endless trail of child mess to clean up – the thought of walking out of here broke my heart. So in the middle of moving chaos, we had a photo shoot (this doubled as my 3-month-old son’s “newborn” shoot hahaha). Luckily, we have a great relationship with our wedding photographers, Rudy and Marta. We had relaxed, “lifestyle” photos taken celebrating the everyday moments. More than that, Rudy managed to capture quiet corners and sentimental objects around our home – these mean just as much to me as the ones of our family.
4. Toss It, Sell It, Give It Away
While I was bingeing on Real Housewives and Intervention, I could have been making money selling my stuff. About three weeks before our move date, I started selling a lot of my kids’ things – our wagon, a bassinet, maternity clothes, even unopened breastfeeding pads. And PEOPLE BOUGHT THEM! I was floored. There was a bidding war on my daughter’s umbrella covered plastic swimming pool! Someone snatched up my IKEA couch that had survived constant attacks by kittens, tiny humans, and a sloppy husband! I used the app LetGo, Craigslist and a FaceBook group. If I had started this process earlier, I could have been more patient and choosy about buyers and prices. But I just wanted everything gone. I also donated a bunch of things. Again- if I had started earlier, I could have researched different organizations (other than Goodwill) to donate to.
3. Get Help Packing
My original plan was to pack while the kids were napping and after I put them to bed. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I actually tried this one night. Armed with Red Zinfandel and a podcast, I tackled my art supplies, but three glasses and 40 minutes later I was just sitting there surrounded by boxes, too wrapped up in S-Town to do anything. The reality is when the kids are napping or in bed, I’m usually doing the same thing. Or other glorious tasks such as cleaning, taking a shower and arguing with my student loan company on the phone. With a week to go, I panicked and hired our much-loved babysitter every day for four hours. She took my energetic two-year-old and the baby and I packed our hearts out. We have no family here but with better planning, I could have arranged a childcare swap with one of my mom friends.
2. Start With The Small Stuff
The pens, the loose change, the rubber bands, the IKEA tools that I should probably throw out but can’t part with because WHAT IF I NEED THEM ONE DAY? One rare weekend when my significant other was home from work, I asked him for help packing. I walked in the room and he was organizing markers and pens into piles and rubber banding them together. I lost my mind. Why was he organizing this measly junk drawer when we have entire closets and toy bins to pack?! I now know why. After the movers left and all my giant, heavy items were out of the house, this is what I was left with. Important Junk. These are the items that drove me to drink. I sorted as much of it as I could into a giveaway pile or the trash but I literally have boxes labeled “Miscellaneous Shit” and “IDK” that will now haunt me at our new abode.
1. Hire Movers
I’m cheap. It seemed like we didn’t have that much stuff. How hard could it be to carry boxes a few feet from my front door to the POD? Um, SUPER HARD. Even if I didn’t have a toddler underfoot and an infant to breastfeed it STILL would have been hard. I hired movers from a referral list that POD’s emailed me. Two guys came armed with giant saran wrap and dollies and had my three bedroom house empty in an hour and a half. This company didn’t charge by the hour – it was a flat fee of around $600. There are most definitely better deals out there if you do your research – I just didn’t have the time or energy. I also have friends that posted an ad on craigslist and hired people that way. How ever you do it – get help!