I am in the process of moving for the eighth time in my life; the second time with a baby and the first with two kids. You wouldn’t know it by those numbers, but I hate moving. The excitement of living in a new place is quickly dissipated when the box packing begins for me. However, moving with kids can be even more challenging than simply moving as a single individual or a couple. Here are five tips to help make the packing process a bit easier with children in the home.
1. Ask for help
Don’t try to pack it all on your own! Call in reinforcements to help with packing, loading, or watching the kids while you pack. I love teaching my preschooler activities, and she loves to learn how to “help” Mommy. But when I’m feeling the time crunch, I need the preschooler to be out of the house so I can move quicker. One of the biggest mommy lessons I have learned is that I can’t do it all, no matter how much I want to.
2. Go room by room
When packing, pick one room or area to start in, and look around and create organization categories. For example, create separate piles for trash, donation items, pack now (non-essentials), and pack later (essential items). I go through all the categories until the room is finished. The only thing that should be left is the essential items that will be packed on our last day. Some rooms may feel like you hardly touched them because everything is essential, but that’s okay. Just keep moving!
I just mentioned this in tip two, but I can’t stress it to you enough. Declutter your clothes, toys, books, kitchen supplies, and anything else you might have. This is a great opportunity to donate items and remove the trash. You’re going to be frustrated with yourself if you go to unpack a box of waste, so just get rid of it now.
4. Have your kids help … when appropriate
I know I said get to the kids out from under you in tip one, but packing is also a good teaching opportunity. Depending on your child’s age and maturity, they can help pack some items. This is also a great chance to explain to them the importance of donating items.
Younger children can also sort items, which is a very important developmental concept. For example, asking them to find all of the balls and put them in the toy box, or sort the plates and bowls. When appropriate and not in a time crunch, take a moment to teach them how to help and allow them to get involved. My preschooler loves to feel a part of the family when helping with a simple chore.
5. Pack an overnight suitcase
I recommend doing this for everyone! I pack a suitcase for the baby and preschooler together. Then I have my own duffel bag, and my husband has his. I put everything that’s essential for at least two days in the suitcase. I’m a list person, so I make a list of what is needed by going through my daily routine in my head and writing down items needed. If you’re not a list person, I recommend making one to help keep your family straight during this chaotic time.
There are many extra tips and tricks to packing and moving online, but I hope this gives you some help to get you started on your move!