Before a move, there are plenty of rather predictable steps to make things easier. And then there are those other, more elusive things that only moms like me who have moved often can share.
I’ve adopted several helpful habits when faced with a move to help reduce the risk for emotional meltdowns—and I’m not just referring to the kids here! Moving, well, takes a lot of composure and having insider-knowledge will only help you be a better person (read: less crazy) through the chaos. If you’re lucky, you may even do it gracefully. Forgetting to pack the hysterics will be the best thing you do in your move.
When the ink on your new job contract has dried and the likely move morphs into the category of certainly, there’ll be so much noise and confusion you can hardly hear yourself think. I’ve got a few ideas to get through the fog.
1. Start hoarding boxes, bags and newspaper. As soon as you know for sure that you’ll be moving, immediately start squirreling away random boxes, paper and all types of bags. These items become your best friends as you begin the chore of purging. You’ll be sneaking things out of the kids’ rooms to deposit at Goodwill. Apologize later—as in, when you’re moving them into their new rooms.
It’s pretty likely they’ll not even notice the missing stuff. Neither will you miss the stuff you part with. Lighten up, stuff really does weigh you down. You’ll be making hard decisions but getting rid of stuff brings a tingling sense of liberation. Stop and enjoy that moment when it descends on you.
2. Locate every permanent marker in the house. Track down every Sharpie you already have and then look out for sales so that you have an ample supply. Permanent markers help save you time later because you’ll be more likely to label those boxes and bags with as much detail as you have the energy for. Label your heart out—the wordier the better. When you arrive at your new home and you’re looking at a neatly folded mattress pad tucked into zipped plastic storage bag, you’re better off knowing if it’s a queen size for the guest bed or two singles for the kids’ beds before you open it up. Don’t even be tempted to think your recall will be helpful. Trust me, your recall won’t show up in time to be remotely helpful. In fact, it may not even make the move.
3. Packing tape: You can’t have too much of it. Packing tape allows you to keep things from getting separated. Sometimes the movers will get it all done perfectly and every little screw or attachment will not only arrive (that’s generally not the problem) but will be found. Mostly, various bits & bobs will tend to be illogically packed so you’re on a scavenger hunt to make your various household goods whole. And sometimes, things just don’t show-up. I screwed up on our last move and should have taped over the newly-replaced battery for our daughter’s wall-clock to keep it from jiggling loose in the hands of the packers. The clock showed up just fine, minus the battery. You get what I mean. This stuff doesn’t rise to the level of major but it’s amazing how when multiplied, all of these little missing parts can cost you time, money and your beloved sanity, which will already be in short supply.
4. Stash an arsenal of paper-plates within reach. And plastic spoons and forks. And paper-towels. Your kids are not going to be thinking about how their kitchen messes become a bigger problem as your moving date nears. Take charge and give yourself a break. Restrict use of glassware and go disposable so that you’re not stuck the night before the packers come with a late-night dishwashing party. By this point, your dishwasher should be verboten; hand-washing it will be, a party you’ll wish you could skip. Avoid this scenario by using paper-products the week of your move. You may just be a little less crazy because of it, and your teens will definitely think that’s a good thing.
5. Got gardening gloves? Use them. Cardboard is not your friend, moms. When you’re faced with mountains of boxes, you’ll feel like you may just survive the move if you have your garden gloves to protect your poor hands as they handle vast quantities of that hostile material. Also, handling sharp scissors and/or box-cutters when you’re teetering from exhaustion is dangerous. It’s easy to nick a finger and having even a humble pair of gardening gloves will provide a small degree of protection.
6. Bonus tip: Keep Band-Aids handy. No need to ask why (re-read #5). As you unpack, someone will need one. Trust me. And blood, dirty cardboard and newspaper or packing paper don’t mix. Unpacking towels and smearing blood on them isn’t cool. Stop the flow, stop whining and move on…