Moving house (with children) — 10 tips

verhuisdozenWe experienced again that moving house with a family is not an overnight job — it’s like giving birth, you sort of forget how painful it actually is!  The new house is very nice though, and room by room it’s slowly coming together.
Here are some tips that I have found helpful for before, during and after the move:

1. Take measurements (including ceiling heights) of the new place before the move and make a basic plan of what furniture should go where.  Think about how you will get bigger pieces into the new house — is the doorway big enough?  And the stairwell?  Does it fit through the windows, maybe?
2. Clearly label the boxes.  It should be extremely clear to what room what box should go — don’t worry too much about the content.  Your kids can help label / decorate the boxes!
3. Don’t overload boxes with heavy items (books), they will be too hard to handle and they will only break.  Keep inserts of drawers together: dump them in a ziplock bag, in the new house you can easily dump them in the drawer again.  Only bother wrapping breakable pieces and keep them in a separate, clearly labeled box.
4. Keep handbags, laptops, telephones, passports, jewelry and other small valuables together and move them in your own car.  Also keep a box with power cables, extension cables, router for internet connection and a couple of table lights with you.  And the tool box!
5. Pack a suitcase with overnight essentials for your family, toilet paper, clean bedding for the beds and some towels.  Make the beds in the new house as soon as possible, chances are high you’ll be too exhausted later!
6. Buy plenty of drinks and some beers.  Think about cups and glasses. Make sure to have plenty of bread and cheese available for sandwiches, and ingredients for coffee.  Buy some bags of crisps and apples. Keep all of the food in a separate bag, and keep telephone numbers for delivery services handy.  Don’t even dream about cooking!
7. Try to have the kitchen and bathroom cabinets in the new place clean before you move, so you can start unpacking in these rooms.  It’s nice to have these rooms in working order as soon as possible!
8. The kids should be ‘out of the way’.  Ask if they can play at a friend’s house for the day, and ask if they can have dinner there as well.  Make sure the kid’s room is cozy and their beds are made before they come home from their day activity!
9. Buy some new DVD’s for the kids, these days are exhausting for them as well and they will love to lounge on the couch, while you can focus on some more unwrapping and organizing.
10. Get plenty of garbage bags for all the stuff you decide you don’t need after all.  Think of the new place as a new start!

xxx Esther

P.S. Thanks Bibi, Rebecca, Katie, Destri, Sandra and Vicky for your advice, we followed it all and it really helped!
P.P.S. Do you have more tips for a smooth move?  Please leave a comment!

12 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. Emily | February 7, 2010 | Reply

I think you covered the main tips but here are a couple of things I’ve found that work!

I try to have some helpers unpacking in the kitchen – it doesn’t really matter *where* they unpack things to just getting stuff out is great!

The best other tip I’ve been given is when you’re getting ready to sort out the kitchen cook a big family staple meal like spaghetti bolognaise. You’ll quickly work out where you intuitively want things to be and this makes kitchen set up way easier in the long run!

Good luck in your new home!

2. Michelle | February 7, 2010 | Reply

Several years ago, I posted my “Best Moving Tips” on my blog. I caution people that it is VERY long, but if you are making a move, some of the tips can be invaluable. I have done many moves and have learned the hard way about some things. My blog post can be read at: http://www.northofthe49.com/blog/?p=116 I hope that it helps somebody else who may be preparing for a move in the future.

3. Christine | February 7, 2010 | Reply

This is all VERY helpful (and timely). We have a big move coming up in 2 weeks….with 3 kids! Granted we have people packing & moving, but we still have to unpack and get settled. Ugh…..wish you could snap your fingers and have everything magically fall into place. Sounds like your move went well – have fun settling in! :)

4. Tan | February 7, 2010 | Reply

We will be moving in just over 4 months with 2 kids…we’ve done it already 3 times before with the kids, but your list of tips has given me some new ideas!

5. sandra s | February 8, 2010 | Reply

Sounds like you’ve already moved in, so perhaps this tip is a little too late: put up your curtains/blinds before you move in, especially in the (kids) bedrooms! The blinds we had ordered for our 3 year old’s room were not ready before our big move, so we had to improvise for the first few nights (we used a shower curtain rod to hold up cheap Ikea curtains; it took 2 minutes to set up). Otherwise she would’ve been up at the first sign of light!

6. katie beaton | February 9, 2010 | Reply

now you are in my tip would be…don’t put boxes away in the loft or garage if they have stuff in you will need in the next year, unpack it now….we will have been in our house 3 years in june and i still have to go into the loft or garage at least once a month and rake through boxes to find something we need, more often than not i then end up buying a new one of what we need because i can’t find the one packed! :{

7. Esther | February 9, 2010 | Reply

Katie, that’s hilarious! Maybe this spring you should have a big spring cleaning and go through all the unpacked boxes! (I will do the same with the boxes that ended up in our shed — oops!).
Sandra, curtains are definitely a good thought — we moved in a house that still had curtains so I didn’t think of it, but nothing feels more ‘nude’ than living in an uncovered house!

8. katie beaton | February 15, 2010 | Reply

lol..will do :)

9. Destri | February 17, 2010 | Reply

So glad you used the zip lock bag idea! It’s my favorite. Hope all is well in the new home.

10. George masters | April 8, 2010 | Reply

One big tip before you move is to get a quote from several removal companies first. Get them to estimate how many boxes they think it might take and buy your packing materials early. Get this all done at least a day before you move, and just to repeat above, label the contents and room clearly. This will really help when you come to unpack.

11. Alice | March 14, 2013 | Reply

A great post, you have given some brilliant tips for people considering moving. I would add that one way of taking away some of the stress of the move is to use a self storage company, they are able to store some of your goods so that you don’t have to worry about moving all your possessions in one day.

12. Alex | December 12, 2013 | Reply

Wonderful tips! As a mother of two little boys I can advice you that the most important way to prepare kids to move is to talk about it. Try to give them as much information about the move as soon as possible. Involving kids in the planning as much as possible makes them feel like participants in the house-hunting process or the search for a new school. This can make the change feel less like it’s being forced on them.

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