Dec 5, 2012

5 Tips For Staying Sane During A Move

Hi, my name is Shari and I have moved seven times in my seven year marriage {not including my cross-country move to marry my husband - I flew from NC to OR a week before our wedding! - or our current move from MO to AR!}. Thus before our eight year anniversary we will have moved eight times {a total of five out-of-state moves!}. I could go on and on about what not to do when moving but I also have {through trial and error} some advice to hopefully make things easier for you.

Aside from the goals of keeping all your belongings intact and arriving safely at your new home, remaining sane should be a top priority. Let's face it, moving can be SO stressful if you don't take precautions to buffer yourself. If you're like our family, your husband will be working full-time up until the end of his two-week notice and then he'll be immediately stepping into his new job with little time or energy to help with the packing. What little energy he has left will be spent on doing all the heavy lifting. Your job may very well cover all the rest including packing, cleaning, and keeping up with meals and the children. Let's try to make sure you aren't on the verge of a nervous breakdown by the time you arrive in your new home, okay?

My five tips for stressing less during your move:

1. Communicate with your spouse.

Make certain you two are on the same page about what needs done by when and who is responsible for what. This way you can be more focused on what you need to do and less stressed about the big picture of the move. Agree ahead of time that moving can be a stressful life event and you are partners in this together to support each other. Plan a date night before the move/packing begins so you can reconnect and feel refreshed in your marriage. Pray together. Really pull together to make things happen. Work together as a team even if you have separate responsibilities.

2. Make lists.

Write down all that you know must be accomplished and leave room for surprises along the way. Cross items that are complete off to give yourself a sense of accomplishment because all those boxes sitting around might just make you feel more frazzled. Keep a list of important phone numbers handy. Write down your new address so when you call utility companies or want to change your address for a magazine subscription you don't have to rely on your cloudy memory {mine gets cloudy during moves anyway!}. Plan ahead for your menu. Plan easier meals before the move and {gasp} I recommend paper plates as you near the move date. Plan easier meals for a few days once you're in your new home {think slow cooker, freezer-meals, cold sandwiches}. Don't lose sleep if you decide you need to grab some tacos or burgers for the family a few times. The idea is stress-less!

3. Involve the kids.

Hand the kids bags and ask them to fill them with items off the floor {trash, toys, books, whatever...}. If nothing else, they will feel involved even if it isn't the most helpful at the moment. Keep kids doing their normal tasks like keeping their room and toys picked up throughout the day so you don't trip and hurt yourself while carrying boxes! Involve kids {age appropriate} in picking through their belongings to consider what items may be best to toss {if broken or missing pieces} or donated/sold {no longer loved or needed or fits}. Offer them damp washcloths to clean wall, doors, or windows even if you have to re-clean them.

* I want to add a special note that during moves, just as pets can sense there is something afoot, so do children. They may misbehave more often or seem more energetic or unruly during the move. Try to keep this in mind going in so you can offer them extra grace. Try to make the move something fun for them. If the move becomes stressful for you, perhaps it is stressful for them as well. Make at least part of the day {example: dinner and bedtime routines} "normal" to what they expect and, if necessary, continue packing/cleaning tasks after the kids are in bed.

4. Entertain the kids.

When you really need to focus on deep cleaning the refrigerator or packing a box of dishes, ensure before hand that the kids are busy doing something fun so that you can focus {for at least five minutes!}. Consider pulling out a fun activity for the table {puzzles, peg boards, coloring} and have them all seated at the table. Perhaps an extra movie {or two!} a day during a move won't be all that harmful! Or, just send them outside to play in the dirt! Prepare to serve an extra snack during the busy packing/cleaning days {just sayin'}. Think ahead and prepare small bags of entertainment type items for the moving day. This will come in handy whether you're moving across town or out-of-state. If moving across town, the items may help keep them occupied and out of the path of the movers. If moving out-of-state, save the entertainment bags until they're secured in their seats in the car. I won't promise they won't get bored thirty minutes down the road though. In that case {this is our forth out-of-state move with children}, save extra entertainment items to pull out when they're tired of the first few items, plan extra snacks, bring drinks, plan extra stops to stretch their little legs, and bring along music to crank up and sing loudly too {if nothing else, they'll be fascinated with their parents singing but they may just sing along too!}.

5. Take regular breathers.

You've gotten on board with your hubby, made a list and checked it twice, and spent half your day entertaining, feeding, and directing the kids to "help" you... Don't spend the rest of your entire move rushing about to get everything done and expect to not go at least half-crazy! Take a break! Even if it's just for a few minutes to have a snack or a drink and read a few pages in your book, check your email or moving to-do list, or just cuddle on the couch with the kids, you need to pace yourself so you can be your most productive wife, mom, and packer you can be. Just a tip: leaving everything until the last minute or rushing around all day only to collapse and order pizza at 6pm isn't being your most productive self. You may forget things, pack the wrong items {don't pack that coffee pot until you're walking out the door!}, or lose your temper with your kids. Not that ordering pizza is a bad idea...

If you're going through a move or about to, I hope these tips help you as much as they have me!


Linked up here:
Deep Roots at Home: Encourage One Another Link-Up
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The Time-Warp Wife: Titus 2sdays


  1. Shari,
    This is a really good list of tips, and I wish I had seen it before we moved!! This is the kind of post that encourages and is practical, too. Thank you for sharing it at Deep Roots 'EOA' Wednesday. I'd love to see you link-up regularly :-)

    1. Thank you Jacqueline! I already linked up two of my posts earlier this evening for this week's EOA!

  2. Thank you for the helpful tips. We aren't moving now but I remember back to the last time we did and we weren't very organized (which made us stressed). Good ideas for next time! Thanks for linking up at Thrifty Thursday!

  3. I found your article on pinterest--we're moving in 4 weeks and just finalized negotiations a couple days ago. This is our 7th move in our almost 4 years of marriage (and hopefully we don't move for 5-10 years!). We have a 15 month old. I like your idea of communicating with your spouse and working as a team even though you're not actually working together on packing. And making lists. I think I'll list what to pack in order. I've done books, magazines and recipe books so far. I need to start tackling the kitchen items I do not regularly use.

    1. Hi Karissa! I hope your move goes as smooth as possible! Thanks for stopping by!


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