Wednesday, August 12, 2009
(Our thanks to Multiple Mover, Dawn Cartwright, for submitting these great tips!)
How to Move Without Losing Your Mind or Your Children
I love to travel. However I had no idea that by marrying a football coach that I would be traveling all over. All over the country… A lot… And far. With one (a Buckeye), two (a Hoosier), and then three (an Illini) kids and 15,000 pounds of “stuff” in tow. I should have gotten my real estate license five states ago. And my tax certification. And a master’s degree in packing.
You may wonder what I have learned in all those moves. More than you hopefully will possibly ever need to know, but I will share a few tips with you anyway in the hopes of saving someone out there from the unique experiences that I have encountered.
Things that are helpful to consider:
Prior to your move, check the refrigerator and freezer to be sure that they are empty if they are going into storage for any length of time. (see #2)
If by some quirk of fate, a chicken did make the journey in your now unplugged refrigerator and sat in storage in 90 degree heat all summer, do the following:
Wash it out with bleach, and stuff it full of charcoal briquettes (the kind you had to dispose of prior to moving because it is considered flammable and a moving company will not allow you to pack it) and crumpled newspapers. Leave tightly closed for 7 days. Do not peek. Yes the smell does go away.
Make sure your garbage cans are emptied prior to the movers coming. They WILL pack it and it will not be a nice surprise when you open it 2,000 miles away.
Upon arriving at your new destination, if you happen to find a box that has been unopened in the last 4 moves (evidenced by the numerous blue, yellow and orange moving stickers plastered all over it) throw it away. Do not open it. If you have lived without it for the past 4 years and not missed it, you do not need it. Trust me on this one.
Make sure your children know where they live. We were between moves, having vacated our home in Indiana, living in Ohio with my mother-in-law while our house was being built in Michigan when a clerk in Colorado (where we were vacationing) asked my 5 year old where we were from. She turned with a puzzled look on her face and asked, “Mommy, Where DO we live?”
Do not order more than 500 address labels at any given time. They will become stickers for your children to play school with. Ditto for boxes of checkbooks. I always seemed to run out of money well before my checks were utilized.
Go ahead and paint your house the colors you want. Where is the research that backs up neutral colors making a house easier to sell? P.S. If you need to remove black permanent marker from foyer wallpaper, Q-tips and bleach work really well if you don’t scrub too hard. Red food coloring removed from textured cathedral ceilings in the kitchen is a little trickier (don’t ask). Let’s just say that I have some very creative and artistic children.
Don’t hesitate to jump into your new community. Send your husband knocking on doors to find kid for yours to play with (this actually works!) Don’t wait for neighbors to come to you- surprise them and take them a plate of brownies. (They’ll feel bad that they didn’t get to you first, but oh well!)
Get your kids involved in community/church/school activities, sports, and clubs. You will meet lots of moms in the same stage of life that you are in. This worked for me, even if my daughter’s peers thought I was her grandma. I’d like to think it was because of my prematurely silver hair!
Last, but foremost, pray for your needs. I desperately needed a walking buddy and found one was living two doors down. As an added bonus, she was an avid cross stitcher, one of my passions at the time.
Five states, seven cities, eleven houses later it has been an interesting 27 years of being a football coach’s wife. Moving is what you make it. I would never trade the precious friendships and memories that have been made across the country for the three houses that have been struck by lightening, the house that sank, or the money that was lost on real estate fees and paying movers. Reach out to those new in your neighborhood. Perhaps you too can share some words of wisdom for your fellow nomads and make some lasting friendships in the process.