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!


Comments (18)

February 7, 2010

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!

February 7, 2010

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.

February 7, 2010

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! 🙂

February 7, 2010

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!

sandra s
February 8, 2010

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!

katie beaton
February 9, 2010

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! :{

February 9, 2010

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!

katie beaton
February 15, 2010

lol..will do 🙂

February 17, 2010

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

April 8, 2010

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.

March 14, 2013

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.

December 12, 2013

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.

June 9, 2015

A big advice I wish somebody told me before I started packing is to do the decluttering while the kids are asleep. Otherwise there are always tears to leave toys they never play with, or a picture they made as part of recycle project in kinder garden. I hope this helps you!

June 25, 2015

Ashley, that’s a splendid tip. By the way this blog post can use hove enhancing. It barely has any tips on moving home with children. One of the most important things to do is to tell your youngsters about the move early on. This is tricky as you must not be too early and yet you must not be too late. There is no right time, just don’t leave it for last.

Another very important aspect is to involve your kids in the move. Having them draw some nice labels, like mentioned in the blog post, is a good idea. You can also give them some boxes and ask them to pack some of their own stuff.

When you get to your new home be sure to unpack your kids’ room first. Ensuring your child’s comfort is the most important thing. After that you can go on with the rest of the rooms. By the way, this is the right time to say it’s recommended you hire a baby sitter for the moving day. Kids have no room in your house while heavy boxes are being moved and loaded. However if you’re doing a long distance move to another area you better get some toys in the car with you. The little youngsters will need all the entertainment they can get.

July 22, 2015

Label all boxes clearly. Make sure that all boxes are labelled clearly with their contents. You can take it a step further by using colour coding to organise where boxes will go in your new home.

September 14, 2015

Wonderful tips! I’m now preparing our move with two kids and a third on her way and it’s going to be a great adventure. For last time we moved when our first daughter was three and was asking tons of questions about where we going, what’s happening with the old house and so on… We managed to involve her in a game that included moving her toys to their new home and finding a good family for those who “wanted to stay”. She did quite good with the moving and now she’s helping me with her little brother. This time it will be a lot complicated, but I hope we will not have big problems. Greets!

October 9, 2015

Your article is amazing. Let me share 1 pleasant unpacking tip: Open the “me-first” box and set up the beds first. This way you and your children will feel at home as fast as possible. Remember to take it one box at a time and make sure everything has a place. Following this article here will ensure everyone a stress free move with kids – it’s an amazing guide! Well written!

~ Richmond Man And Van Ltd.

October 15, 2015

Very well written article,if there is one thing i do not like when i get to the coustomer s house is when the children are on our way and the customers do nothing,i ask politely to move the childrean as it is so dangerous we trip over the children and also drop something on their head besides it slows us down dramatically.
Some people overload the boxes that even 2 of us can not carry.they do not realize how heavy the boxes are and don t even care they are moving in on top floor.It is not easy being a mover!

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