Hi again! If you’re new here you might want to check out our post about our move to Canada, you’ll get the answers to all the initial questions there!
Today I’m going to spill the beans on preparing for a move when you have kids. Let’s face it… having kids changes everything. Like, every.little.thing. If you’re single or a couple without kids moving is easy. You block out a couple of days, focus and power through. You come out on the other side a bit tired and sore, but you’ve packed and you’re ready, even if it means paper plates and trashy meals for a few days.
Not with kids, my friends. Not with kids…
With kids you still have to deal with structure… you don’t want the confusion that comes with upending their life before you absolutely must (this is a whole other topic for a whole other post – coming soon!), so packing, selling and organizing takes more time.
For me there was a very frustrating period towards the end. We had sold most of our big things, and it just didn’t feel like home anymore. One day I looked at Lucas and said: “for the first time in our life together I need to get out of the house every day, I don’t get it”. Being the wonderful man I married he got it, of course, and he explained that he felt the same, and that it’s because the house wasn’t home anymore. It wasn’t cozy, it wasn’t somewhere we wanted to hang out anymore. It just felt empty. That was the rough part. Not missing it as a home, or even missing the things we had sold (because I didn’t), but I’m a homebody… and living in an uncomfortable mess was slowly getting me down. I’m very happy it didn’t last long.
Here are the steps we took that kept us on this side of insanity:
Mentally prepare and physically do inventory
Get your head in the game, so to speak. This sounds weird but you need to visualize it. Allow yourself some time, block out your calendar (we use google calendar) and get to work.
I am a post-it junkie, so I always have a rainbow of lists, but it works. By the way, the “What to do” list is not a photo-op, I actually have a list of things I’m not sure what to do with. We made general category lists (clothing, toys, kitchenware, electronics, furniture) and decided which big things would go and which would stay.
Sell, donate, trash all you can. Strip to the bare minimum.
Time to let go. I know, it can be hard. I’ll hold your hand and talk you through it, but in the end, most of our things have say goodbye. If you’re moving from one home to another, or interstate, you can hold on to more things, but an international move with 2 kids? Bye bye it is.
I started from the kitchen, on to the common areas, on to the rooms. I took out every single item that was not the bare minimum to survive for another almost 2 months and it went for sale, donation, or trash. We had our first garage sale and it was a success.
The point here is: Live with less. I had 2 dinner sets for 8 people each. I kept 4 dinner plates and 4 dessert plates. That’s what we used for almost 2 months. So yeah… most of the cupboards and closets you opened were empty, but that’s the beauty. You’re starting the next step.
During the garage sale I was asked by almost every person that came if I was sad to see all my stuff go. Honestly? No. I have a few (and by few I mean less than 10) decor/kitchen items that I haul wherever I go, but they are all small with big meaning to me. Nothing valuable, just special. The rest? I’m happy everything is finding a new home.
Organize what goes and what stays.
This is the Hardest (capital H) part. So you’re down to the bare minimum. Now what? Oh, yeah, you still have heaps of stuff… Inventory again. This is the tough inventory because you’re down to everyday use items and things you really like. Not everything can go, so organize again. We live in a big house so we were fortunate to have an entire room dedicated to the things that would go. We just dumped things in there to deal with later.
Sell, donate, trash the rest.
This is the later after the Hardest part. This is when you kick yourself for not being more organized in the step above, but you roll up the proverbial sleeves and sell, donate or trash what is left. Live out of paper plates and trashy meals for the fewest days possible (I personally don’t like filling my kid with junk food) and there you go.
Close the suitcases and boxes and off you go!
Sit on those babies, zip them up and you’re done! Of course what you wanted to be 3 suitcases turned in to 6, but who’s counting, right?
If you take your time, go through these motions and don’t be overly sentimental with your stuff you can actually be ready to go and still have your head reasonably in the game.
What do you think? Any great ideas to add?
Images: freepik & kaehler photo
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)