We move A LOT. We move so much that people think my husband must be in the military. But truth is I think our tours of duty are actually shorter than most military personnel. This is our 11th move in 14 years of marriage and that is not counting temporary housing situations. We have become very good at moving. Here are a few lessons from this last move...
- Label boxes clearly. It will save you a ton of time on the other end when people are hot, tired and just want to put that kitchen box down in the middle of the living room.
- Make time for goodbyes. There is so much to do to get ready for moving but I really think one of the most important is saying real goodbyes. Goodbyes are hard and I think our natural instinct is to avoid things we know will hurt. We get busy partially to avoid the pain of goodbyes. I have said goodbye a lot and I have to say that while it hurts, it is one of the sweetest parts of moving. Saying goodbye gives you time to tell people how much they really mean to you. Grabbing a cup of coffee or having one last play date to mark your friendship is valuable. It is time well spent. And it is these memories that will booster you in the first few days and weeks in a new place. Remembering that you love and are loved will give you the extra push you might need to say hi to someone at the park or get involved in the PTA to meet new friends. Not to replace but to connect.
- Get enough sleep. The week before I said goodbye to everyone, I wanted to stay out late with friends every night and do one more thing when I should be heading to bed but I get really grumpy when I don't get enough sleep. And when I say grumpy I actually mean down right hostile. Not a good idea to be sleep deprived when you know extra patience is required. I was having move induced insomnia from about 4:30 - 5:30 am the last month but could fall back asleep eventually. So when we planned our travel days we made sure to allow extra time in the morning so I could sleep a little longer.
- Determine your unpacking priorities. If you just open the first box you see you may be eating on the good china and wearing heels all week. On move in day our priorities are beds, towels and tvs. We want to sleep, shower and be able to relax after a stressful few days. We also make sure that we have the internet and cable connected either before or on move in day. It might be chaotic but we are already at the house for the 2 - 4 hour window that cable companies give for installation. (You will need a tv in the house to have cable connected. We have a small one we rarely use that we put in one of our cars on moves so it is with us and not stuck on the truck.)
- Slow and steady wins the race. This is one of our family mottos, not so much the slow part though that is true of me, but the steady part. It turns out it is also a belief of our truck driver/unloader. He was working with a young kid who kept running around with boxes and then wore himself out and needed a break. Slow and steady. Gets things done without getting things broken. Once we have the basic house set up, we like to tackle one room at a time getting it all the way unpacked and really organized. This move has been slowed down a bit by all the fun we are having reconnecting with friends and favorite places. I don't want the kids to lose their whole summer to the move.
- Moving is more expensive than you would think. Between eating out because you have no groceries or bowls and then needing to buy a new trash can that fits in the space and new cleaning supplies because the shelves have to be wiped down and your supplies are all in boxes (or in our case left behind at the old house), moving costs money. For this house we needed window air conditioners, wall hooks for towels, narrow night stands because our old ones were too big, shoe organizers, and liquids, lots and lots of liquids - the flammable type since moving companies won't move these. Not to mention the moving gifts (bribery) for the kids and all the special treats when they are good on moving day, at the DMV, on the long drive, etc. When moving, like remodeling, double the estimate.
- Give grace and ask for grace. Moving is stressful. Moving feels out of control and I don't like being out of control. No matter how many times I move, my body defies my experiential knowledge and stresses out. This often comes out in me being harsh with my husband or yelling at the kids for something that normally would not be a huge problem. This move went amazingly well. We had no major problems and lots of help. I felt peace most of the time and the kids were uncharacteristically cooperative and kind to one another. Grace was given day after day. Grace we received.