We have moved house five times in the past five years, and are due to complete our sixth move this weekend. This will be Archie’s fourth move in his short life. I like to think that I have gotten moving house down to a fine art, but that would be like saying I had basic cooking skills, or blowdrying my hair, or parenting, down to a fine art. NO WAY, JOSÉ! Or as Archie says, NO WAY, HOSIE!
I have minimalist tendencies so we don’t actually have that much, considering we are a family of four. Since reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, (weirdest/most awesome book ever) I did a huge purge and got rid of heaps of extra crap. I am pretty strict about toy and clothing accumulation, but don’t set limits on kid’s books, plants, or art, so we have a lot of those. However, when you pile all your stuff into one room, which is what we are in the process of doing, HOLY CRAP there is a lot of stuff.
We hired these plastic moving boxes which are awesome. They all stack up on top of one another, are waterproof, light-weight and hold heaps of stuff. They drop them off a couple of weeks before your move and pick them up from the new house a week after you move in. So much easier than cardboard! I’m recommending them to everyone.
So, my tips for moving with kids…
1. Get rid of the kids. At least for the actual moving day, you want to outsource your kids to someone else. Give them to a doting grandma, friend or random stranger, if that’s your jam.
2. Make it a game. After too many games of Let’s Empty the Boxes Mummy Just Packed, I gave in and gave them a couple of boxes to make cubbyhouses out of, on the condition that they weren’t allowed to unpack anything else or I would tape them to a wall with an industrial-sized tape gun.
3. Make them help you. Once I gave up on the idea of putting everything neatly into the boxes, I just let Archie see how many things he could stuff in each box. Thus, some boxes are labelled “Lego, toaster, Lee’s socks, cookbooks” which will make for interesting unpacking at the other end, but at least I got Archie working for me.
4. Let them play with Christmas decorations. You know what kids love? Christmas. And you know what they love even more? Playing with all the stored Christmas stuff when it’s July and Mummy is highly-stung, wearing her pyjamas at 3pm and stalking the house with a labelmaker and a tape gun while attempting to dismantle a king-sized bed on her own. It’s Christmas in July, kids!
5. Turn your rage into excitement. When you feel a surge of anxiety at the thought of your to-do list (update house insurance! redirect the mail! tell the neighbours! clean the freaking skirting boards!), try and reframe your rage into feeling excited about the move. I am genuinely looking forward to getting into the new house, unpacking all our stuff and making the house feel like ours again. Try to hold onto that feeling when you are daunted by the sheer amount of effort required to move a household.