After successfully moving a 2,000 sqft. house into two storage units yesterday, I have become somewhat of an unwitting expert on moving. First piece of advice with moving/packing with very young kids: don't. If you like your home, your neighborhood, your mortgage-- then the grass is not greener somewhere else. It is not worth the effort unless you must....
That being said, I can't thank the people who helped with the move, preparation, and packing enough. Now, if you have a friend who is preparing to sell his/her home-- don't balk at the chance to help out! Helping someone move doesn't have to just be the physical aspect of moving. Here are a few simple suggestions on how you can be someone's hero during the hectic moving process:
10. Child care during packing and/or moving: Packing takes twice as long
with children. As you are packing one box, they are emptying out a bin of toys, besides the fact that children require food, water and attention too....If you have even one hour to spare, call a friend and say, "Hey! How about I come over with my kids and we all play outside for a bit so you can pack?" or "Why not drop your kids off from 3-5 PM so you can get some work done?" Those moments of peaceful, uninterrupted packing were so productive.
- 9. Keeping extra boxes, tape etc. Have you moved recently? Do you have an online shopping addiction? Then you may have extra boxes and/or tape! You can NEVER have too many boxes to pack a household. They fill up very, very quickly and I appreciated any extra boxes that I received.
8. Meals leading up to the move. Imagine cooking a meal with half your kitchen utensils packed or trying to reduce your larder but still feed three hungry kids... food was a challenge this past month and my normal healthful eating routine didn't survive. Friends and neighbors hosted us for some meals which truly was a blessing! Even if you don't want to host, you could always drop off a pot-luck meal (with disposable pan and paper plates) to a family who prepped to move.
7. Become a decision-maker. When was the last time you sorted through your clothing? Have you ever truly delved into your attic? After looking at the sixteenth pair of khaki pants, you start to wonder which ones really do fit or are in style. I had a couple of girlfriends who became my decision makers; I was so overwhelmed with other decisions that having second opinions on clothing and decoration sorting really catalyzed my packing process.
6. Taking the Packer for a break. Today was the first day in over 50 days that I did not work or pack something. In my moments of downtime, I often found myself writing lists in my head or feeling guilty for not doing something. Several of my friends treated me to a glass of wine out, going for a run with me, or simply chit-chatted about something other than moving. Insisting that a Type A person takes a break is truly beneficial for everyone!
5. Packing help. If you don't mind getting your hands dirty, offer an hour of packing services. Help dust off mirrors and picture frames, stack plates between newspaper, and follow orders for an hour or two. Having two people tackle a kitchen easily cuts the time in half.
4. Offer your company! Packing gets lonely and monotonous. Offer to come sit and chat- bring a soda and some chips, offer advice (see #7) or simply tell jokes while the packer goes about his/her business. I loved when my neighbors stopped by and passed the time while I sorted, wrapped, and stacked.
3. Sharing entertainment. One month before the move, I cut out our cable. I borrowed DVDs from friends, my sis allowed me access to an awesome movie app, and another friend lent me some Netflix shows. Using my kindle around the home, I could fill the void with some amazing mindless television programs.
2. "Showing" help- If your moving friend is selling his/her home, then most likely he/she must navigate the showings of real estate. Real estate showings are the most dreaded thing that parents have to do. I have mentioned my 2 year old son, James, before-- and nothing about a toddler boy lends itself to cleanliness and order. To make my house perfect (without use of closet-shoving-of-extraneous-stuff) was nearly impossible. Offer your house to the family for a few hours, prepare a to-go meal (most showings are over the dinner hour), or even offer to watch the kids 2 hours before the showing so the owner can clean!!
1. Day of move help. It takes a village to move a family. Besides the actual movers, families need a support system: cleaners, child-care, bringers-of-food, and transportation. So even if you are scrawny and not much lifting help- bring pizza or waters, offer to take the kids for a walk, or even just come to vacuum. Every bit of help is appreciated. My neighbor took all the kids all day- and though she may have inadvertently allowed my 2 year old to cross the street twice himself-- nobody was hurt (he actually came home to check our mail and back... sneaky little guy...):) I cannot thank them all enough.
Easy Rule #587907- Sometimes saying "Thanks" doesn't cut it. To my friends who helped me through this process- I couldn't have done it without you. Truly.
Easy Rule #87970- If you don't know how to help someone, bring wine and chocolate- that goes along way no matter the situation.