Monday, April 10, 2017

Starting Fresh: Tips and Thoughts on Moving

I'm gonna write this post and hope I don't jinx myself in the process. We are 95% moved and I really can't see a way things could go wrong, but...

Moving is such a life-impacting event. In fact, it is often cited as one of the most stressful events a family can go through, along with death and job loss. I'm sure there are times when moving can be 100% fun and exciting, but I'd wager a guess that most moves are at least somewhat stressful. Here are some things from our recent moves that I've learned and found to be helpful.

1. Expect the unexpected. We had a buyer back out AND a seller back out. We managed to end up in one of the slowest markets our area has recently seen. Hopefully, your move doesn't go as haywire as ours did, but you should still expect a few hiccups. Expect to spend more time, money, and sanity than you've planned for. Have a buffer in your budget and your calendar in case things don't go as smoothly as you'd like.

2. If you end up putting things in storage before or during your move, keep good records of what you've got. After 6 months of not seeing my own furniture, I was shocked by how many bookshelves we have, and totally unprepared for where to put them. You likely won't need to put things in storage for so long, but it's still a good idea to keep a list, just in case.

3. As you start to pack, make sure you label your boxes. Most people say to label the top and two sides, so that the labels are visible from many angles. We went one step further and used colored duct tape for our boxes. Each room had its own color. When we taped the boxes shut we ran a strip across the top in both directions, so that even if the box got placed upside down, you could quickly and easily identify which room it belongs in. If you do this, make a list, so you can keep track of which colors go where.

4. The other thing you should pack (and set aside) is your essentials box. It's up to you what's in this box, but think of the last things you need in the old house and the first things you need in the new one: toilet paper, paper towels, soap, bottled water, snacks, plastic utensils, paper plates and cups, a tool kit, etc. I think it's kind to leave behind a roll of toilet paper and a roll of paper towels for the new tenants in your former house, but that's up to you.

5. If you do decide to hire movers, shop around. Get a few estimates and talk to people in your area who have used movers, These people are going to be handling all your possessions, so you want to make sure you trust them. We had never hired movers before this move, and I was nervous about it, but the guys we picked were phenomenal. Valley Moving Solutions were prompt, courteous and fun. Remember when I mentioned that I wasn't sure where things were going? They were fine with that! And they even told me they'd come back in two weeks and move stuff around if I still wasn't happy with where things had ended up! I could not recommend them more.

6. Whether you've got professional movers or just some friends, people are going to need help getting things to the right places. I labelled all the rooms in the new house and put signs up near the top of the doorway. That way I could point in the general direction of the dining room and they'd see the sign to know they were in the right place. It was especially helpful upstairs because I couldn't be up there to point. I had a sign for the master bedroom, guest room, boys' room and Frances' room. Once they were at the top of the steps it was easy to see which room was which.

7. You'll be driving to your new house a lot and getting use to the directions. Now is a great time to really pay attention to street names and other landmarks. Not only do you need to know, you'll need to give people directions, so your friends and family can come visit your new home. Also, pay attention when you get lost, because other people might and if you've already gotten lost the same way, you'll have an easier time helping them out!

8. Once you're all moved in you'll start to meet the new neighbors. If you're anything like me, you'll be a bit overwhelmed with all the new information. In times like these, I like to download my brain! By that, I mean, I write it down!! Make a quick sketch of the new neighborhood. When you meet a neighbor, use their name a few times to get use to what it sounds like. Then when you get back to the house, pull out your sketch and label their house. Now you'll have an easier time associating names and houses. This is also a good place to write your address, phone number (if it's changed), the day for trash collection, and other neighborhood tidbits you pick up along the way. Keep this list on the side of your refrigerator so you can refer to it when needed. (Maybe cover it up when you have a housewarming party, so the neighbors don't think you're creepy).

9. After you've signed the papers and made the move, do yourself a favor and STOP LOOKING AT HOUSING LISTINGS! Buyers remorse is bad enough when a pair of shoes go on sale after you've already worn yours. There's no sense in second guessing yourself on a home. If you liked it enough to go through with the purchase, don't stress yourself out by looking at other houses. Turn off the email alerts, delete your bookmarks, and change your homepage (if you ever go so obsessed with Zillow that you made it your homepage). This is your new house; make it your home.

10. Go easy on yourself. Moving is stressful. Routines get messed up. Familiarity goes out the window. You, your spouse, your kids, your pets, everybody will seem off kilter. Eat more Slurpees, use more disposable plates, have a tickle fight in the new bedroom just for the heck of it. Give yourself and your loved ones a little more grace than usual until you get yourselves to your new normal.This last tip is really the most important for us. This move had a lot of hiccups. There were a lot of unknowns and we dealt with weeks of this conversation:
Kid: Where are we going?
Me: Home.
Kid: Which one?
It's not a bad thing; it just speaks to the uncertainty that kids deal with when a move is involved. We've had more behavior issues at school this year, more tears around the house, and a general unease that all seems to lead back to this uncertainty. This latest move is a good one. We're excited about it. We'll have lots of space and an open-ended lease, but there's still stress involved. I just can't wait until summer when we can be moved in and mostly unpacked and just have time to enjoy our new home.

**Bonus Tip:  This step is totally optional, but if you're moving from a home without a dishwasher to a home with a dishwasher, don't be ashamed to load up all the dirty dishes you've been putting off and take them over to the new house to run through the dishwasher. This only works for a local move, though, so watch out.

The theme for April's Blog With Friends Challenge is "Starting Fresh." Keep reading for others' take on the subject!

Karen of Baking in a Tornado has celebration waffles for a special occasion, or just for fun! 

Eileen of Eileen's Perpetually Busy has a fresh kitchen makeover for less than $100!

Dawn of Spatula's on Parade has a mouthwatering recipe for garlic honey rubbed pork tenderloin.

Minette has a Dollar Tree Wreath for Spring:

Tamara or Confession of a Part-time working Mom shares a humorous take on her weight loss journey

Kia of Think in English has some fresh ideas from the TESOL convention.

Kristin of Little Mama Jama has some tips for staring each day fresh with your autistic child.

Melissa of Heartfelt Sentiments shares a handmade gift bag tutorial.
Lydia of Cluttered Genius shares a new app to start your day on the right foot.

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