How to pack and move with children

:: Deanna's biscuits ~ delicious! ::

3.5 weeks to go until we move. WOW! I'm excited and energized, and I've been spending time packing and preparing. I have to say, no matter how much I pack, I keep having a feeling that I'm not getting anywhere. I've been wondering if I'm so full of negative thoughts that I can't even see how much I've accomplished. What is wrong with me? Today I woke up and realized that I feel as though I'm not getting anywhere because it's true, I'm not.

The moving company told me to leave all of our clothes in our dressers and they will move the dressers as is. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? No packing or unpacking of clothing. So for the past week I've been doing my children's laundry and I've tried to put it away in the drawers (nicely organized, weeding out too-small items, putting like items together, and doing all of the motherly things I should normally be doing when I put laundry away). "Ahh, done!" I've thought. And then the next day they would dress and re-dress themselves many times, leaving a trail of clothing on their bedroom floors, flung inside out into the corners of their rooms.

For every minute I spend washing clothes and "packing" them away, I spend an equal amount of time picking them up and pondering whether to wash them or simply fold them and put them away again.

Today I recognized and broke the cycle. Sure the moving guys say I can leave the clothing in the dresser drawers. But really I can't. I brought in a few boxes, put aside 5 complete outfits for each child, and packed the rest. Relief is the word that best describes how I felt after that task was accomplished.

Here are some more tips I have about packing and moving with children:

Send the kids away on moving day (and for a few days before and after)
Arrange for them to be gone during the busy times and on moving day. I don't want to exclude my children from the process of saying goodbye to our home and welcoming the new home into our life, but very little of that actually happens on moving day. The emotional process of separating from our home is happening now, as we pack. On moving day I will be busy talking with movers, signing papers, and managing the whole process. I'll be losing sleep, skipping meals and wanting more energy. My children however will be reading stories, singing songs and enjoying snack after snack with their grandma the next state over. Thank goodness for grandmas!

Pack up the toys way before you think you need to. Trust me, they'll find something to keep themselves busy.
It doesn't seem like my children have a lot of toys, but during the packing process those few have multiplied. I pack one and another pops up in its place. How does that happen? I didn't want to pack their toys until the very end because I know how much joy they get from playing with them. But here we are, 3.5 weeks out, and I want to start seeing some packing progress. As far as I'm concerned, we are at the bitter end. Today I packed up almost all of the toys. And you know what? They don't miss them. Each asked for a specific toy that I had packed and I explained that I packed it because I want to make sure all of the toys get packed and nothing gets left behind by accident. Immediately they understood and agreed that it was a good idea.
Ask me tomorrow if they still agree it was a good idea to pack up almost all of their toys 3 weeks before moving day...

Moving can be stressful for some children. Acknowledge it and let them share their feelings. 
The emotional separation is a big deal for 'A'. She wants to experience our new life in our new home, but at the same time she does not want to move. Change. The unknown. What ifs. What has helped her is talking about her feelings, talking about what she loves about our current house and our life here, talking about what she'll miss when she's gone, talking about what she isn't sure about as we go forward.

 Moving. Busy, emotional, stressful, exciting, energizing. And more.

:: Stove-popped popcorn and homemade granola. Dinner on New Year's Day. ::


Jess Toons Says:

I can't thank you enough for sharing this article, its been extremely helpful. I have move a few times in my life but this is my firs move with children and I'm having the hardest time with it. The red deer moving companies have been great with advice and this article, I just prey it all goes well and I do it right!

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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!