It’s so exciting to pull in to the drive of your new home! Call me crazy, but one of the things I love about moving to a new place is planning where my things will go. And this last time, unfortunately a lot of them went to storage as we downsized our living space considerably.
So imagine with me…there you are with your family, your big truck full of stuff and a few friends/family/folks on the other end ready to help you unpack that big truck. And let’s face it…you’re really kind of exhausted. At least I always am. I’ve been busy packing up our home, cleaning the old one, coordinating loading the moving truck, driving to the new place (which isn’t exactly a short trip) and entertaining small children along the way. We pull in, the kids jump out and usually run through the new house to be the first to stake claim and explore new territory. And you have to unload the truck and make sense of all those pretty boxes you labeled before you left. Now what?
If we have help unloading the truck, I try to walk through and “label” each room, at least verbally. So that when I say “office” everyone knows which room I’m talking about. Then comes the unpacking of the truck. Boxes are carried out and remember that master list you had? The one you created at the very beginning? That looks a little like this? Yep. That’s it. I’ve been pregnant for several of our moves and my husband isn’t fond of me carrying heavy boxes while carrying a baby (or ever really). So I direct. As the bins and boxes come off the truck I can say “purple circle…goes to the kitchen” or “red triangle…garage”. Oh my goodness, it makes the unloading so much easier. Everyone knows where the boxes go, I don’t end up with kitchen stuff in the bedrooms and I don’t have a huge mess to sort out later when all my help is gone. I’m not terribly picky about where in the room the boxes go, so I still have a pile of bins in the room, but I know all of those bins belong there and will be unpacked mostly in that room. So.much.easier.
There are some bins that will end up getting moved around, but in the initial stages all bins of the same color come to the same spot. For example, I know that not all of my homeschooling bins will be unpacked or put on my homeschooling shelf in my kitchen (at least that’s where it is now). But initially all of my orange circle boxes get put in my kitchen where my current homeschooling stuff will be used. Because I have my itemized index card, I can easily tell which orange circle boxes I need to open and unpack and which ones I can send to the basement for storage until next year.
And oh! What if we can’t find something? I can go to my itemized index cards, go to the category and find which number will have my item. A few weeks ago I was looking for our heating pad. I knew that I had packed it in the bathroom boxes. When we moved in we had only unpacked the essentials (because that’s all we have room for). I went to my handy dandy itemized cards. Found my heating pad listed in yellow circle #5. My husband located the box and the heating pad. We erased the heating pad off the list and put the bin back in the garage.
As I’ve said, we’ve moved to a much smaller house this time and a lot of our things are in storage in the basement or in bins yet in the garage so this system has proved more than useful again. I’ve been able to locate the Christmas lights or fabric paints without having to tear apart boxes looking for one item. So much easier!
I should also note two things.
Besides finding toilet paper the first room I usually unpack is the kitchen. I feel like I can think when my kitchen is unpacked. I usually pack our clothes and supplies for about 4 days in suitcases before we move so I don’t have to rush to unpack clothes that first night.
I try to hang one or two things on the wall the first day in our new home. I have a couple of pictures and a shelf that are my first things on the wall. They’re the last things I take down when leaving and the first things I put up when we get there. It just helps a big empty house full of boxes feel more “homey”.
So that’s it. That’s how I’ve organized our family (now of 7, including a baby) to move 12 times. Do you have any tips or tricks you’ve used when you’ve moved?
Yesterday I shared with you how I get started when I know we’re going to move. Once I get ready to pack I make sure I have my list of supplies. Here’s my list:
Boxes or plastic bins. Several years ago during a move, we decided to invest in plastic rubbermaid type bins. They stack uniformly, last longer than cardboard boxes and will hold up in storage a bit better. Most of our things go in these plastic bins.
Index cards, letter dividers and a box to put them in. I prefer the 3×5 ruled ones. You’ll be using these a bunch so you want a way to keep them organized. You can usually find these items in the office supply section of your local store.
Packing tape. I’ve found packing tape with a dispenser works better than duct tape.
Markers — colored markers like the kids use for school. And a black sharpie
I try to pack items by room, either by the room they’re in now or by the room they’re going to be when we move. This last moved involved me packing before we had a house to go in to, so I packed things according to the room they were in or the one I *thought* they were going to go in when we got there. Some things, like “homeschool supplies” are assigned a category rather than room. I assign a color and shape to each room or category. For example, books are pink circles, storage items are red circles, garage items are red squares etc. Be sure to make a master list of your colors and categories.
Next I start making cards for labeling. Each box will get two index cards. One with a large colored shape and number for the bin itself and one with a smaller corresponding shape and number in the upper left hand corner for my index card box. I let the boys help make my labels. It’s a great learning activity for shapes, colors, writing numbers and counting. I usually start by making 10 or so of each color/shape. This last time we moved, I pre-wrote the numbers in pencil and let my 5 year old trace the numbers in black sharpie. A sharpie works better than a regular black marker because it bleeds less. Then I pack my bin. I write everything I put in the bin on the index card with the smaller shape. Sometimes I’m really specific, like with my kitchen or crafting items. Other times I’m not as specific. With books I don’t write every title down rather I write the shelf the books came from or whom the books belong to (ie Dad’s commentaries or children’s books for book time). Remember, each bin gets two cards. The card with the bigger shape goes on the bin as the label and the smaller one goes in the index card box. I assigned a letter to each category as well. B was for books, E was for boys only because E was the next available letter in my card box.
Every bin, box, plastic storage box gets a colored label and corresponding index card for the box. I know that it seems like a lot of work to just pack a box, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been really thankful I packed our things this way. If I know my kitchen items are purple circles and filed behind K. I can look on my index card and tell that my rolling pin is in purple circle 5 and I can send someone to go find it. When we moved a couple times ago, I had the luxury of being able to pack months in advance. I consequently packed a few things that I ended up needing before we moved. It was so nice to be able to pinpoint the exact bin containing my item and send someone to get it rather than having to unpack every kitchen box or struggle trying to remember what other stuff was in the box. If you’re fortunate enough to have a little space in the first room you pack or even in your garage, you can start moving packed, labeled boxes to the free space to reduce clutter and the feeling of walking over and around boxes all the time. This was hugely helpful when we left Colorado. I had one wall of our garage stacked with bins and when we had loading help for the truck, they could just grab the bins and load the truck rather than walking in and out of the house repeatedly.
It takes a little more work on the front end of moving, but it is oh so helpful when it comes time to unpack or search for an already boxed item. Tomorrow I’ll share with how I unpack and organize efforts when we get to our new home.
Our family has moved. A lot. I mean, a lot. We have moved 12 times in the 12 years we’ve been married. 3 of those were because I was working as a traveling nurse, but still…that’s a bunch.
It takes a lot to organize, pack, move and then unpack a family. I’ve learned some tips and tricks to make the process go smoother for our family with the least amount of frustration for all involved. I want to share a few things with you to make the process easier if you’re facing a move in the near future.
The first thing I do before we move is go through every room of the house. I have three bags or boxes. One for donating, one for throwing and one for selling. I only have one rule…once it goes in a bag/box it doesn’t come out. If I decide to give it away, it stays in that box. No taking it out just because “I think I might need it someday”.
Once the donate box is full, it goes to the car. I don’t want it to accidentally get packed and I don’t want to move it just because we never made it to drop off. Some larger cities will actually come pick up your items for you. It’s important to make sure you call far enough in advance to schedule the pick up well before your moving date. I like to keep the box in the car so that when we are out and about we already have it in the car to drop off and there’s no “Oh nuts! We should have grabbed that box for Goodwill”.
I try to sell the other items as quickly as possible. I will usually list them in a local Facebook group or sometimes Craiglist. I don’t want to have to mess with shipping stuff out while I’m trying to pack them away.
The trash box/bag goes…well…in the trash. Sometimes it’s helpful to schedule an extra dumpster if needed, but I’m usually sorting items far enough out that I spread our trash out over a couple of weeks and we don’t need one. I make a shred pile for papers that might have important information on them. Shredding is a great job for the boys to do while I get a few things packed.
I know some families who sort, throw, sell and pack all in one fell swoop. I’ve tried it and pretty soon I just get overwhelmed. If I sort first, I know that when I walk in to that room to pack, everything that’s in there goes in boxes to go with us. I try to pack up a room soon after I’ve sorted so that junk doesn’t find it’s way back in there. Another benefit to sorting first is that if you’re lucky enough to have packing help you can send them in there with a stack of boxes, a tape gun, labels and they can have at it. They won’t be holding up a broken picture frame or toy saying “do you want to take this?”.
So that’s how I get started. It always feel good to get a room done and know that it’s ready to be put in a box or bin. I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about how I stay organized when I’m packing.
We’ve been in our new home for 2 and a half weeks.
We are learning to live in a smaller town again. And to live in town. Even though we lived in Pueblo West, where our home was located we felt very much like we were close to the country. I enjoyed being able to look out and see the mountains. Here I see a wonderful backyard (with grass!) but also other buildings close by. I miss open space a bit.
Some of the things our we’ve adjusted in just the short time we’ve been here…
I have to plan my grocery lists a little differently. There is a small local grocery store, but it’s a bit more expensive than some larger stores in bigger cities. We now have an “every day” grocery list and a “city” grocery list for when we make the hour trek to a larger city.
Speaking of grocery stores, Zeke has to learn it’s okay for a guy to follow us out with a cart of groceries. A young man was helping us to the car with our groceries this last week. Zeke saw him following us and said “Mom!” and pointed emphatically towards the man behind us as if to say “that guy is following us!” He wasn’t sure that it was okay. I told him, that’s the difference between a small town and a big one. They help you out with groceries. 🙂
We have to mow grass. For the last 5 years we didn’t have grass at all. Our lawn care consisted of pulling weeds and spraying if they got too big. Here we need to mow once a week. It didn’t occur to me until we got here that Zeke and Titus have never seen a push mower up close. They’re not thrilled. Zeke sits on the porch and plugs his ears the whole time.
Literally everyone we have met in the last two weeks is “new” to us. We trying to remember names and stories. It’s been interesting to connect dots and try to learn new people. It’s been a while since we’ve moved so maybe we’re a little rusty. It’s kind of like college at K-State all over again. Being willing to turn to the person next to you and shake hands and introduce yourself. I’ve been pleased to watch the boys open up and become more outgoing, and seem even more comfortable with it than I am.
Unpacking isn’t fun no matter where you are.
We are still unpacking boxes of clothes and bathroom stuff. The kitchen (above) is done as is the play room and other major rooms of the house. We’re still trying to figure out where everything goes and what is going to work best for our family. It’s been a challenge to find the best “system” and I’m sure I’ll be tweaking it for months yet. For my type A personality, it’s hard to be patient, especially after having a system that worked well for our family before.
We are adjusting to life here and liking it. We keep reminding ourselves it will take time, but we have been called here by God and know that this is where we’re supposed to be. We know that He is faithful and He will give us what we need to be here.
I don’t have anything profound to post today other than just asking for your prayers.
We are in the final days of packing up our house to move to a new community. It can be stressful and the chaos of maneuvering around boxes can be a bit overwhelming. It seems like everywhere I turn there is more stuff…even when I thought I had just packed that spot up.
We have been battling physical illness. I started this week with sore throat and fever (our son brought it home with him from camp a week or so ago). Now our 3rd son has been running and fever and not feeling well. I have developed an infection along my jaw line which is quite swollen and painful. It came on quickly and I went in this morning for some antibiotics so hopefully that will clear things up. If not, I will need to have it drained. Not an appealing proposition. So please pray for healing and health in these last few days of packing and moving.
It’s just exhausting. 🙂 I don’t think any of us have been sleeping well between the “not feeling good” and the “I should be doing” kinds of thoughts that start running through our minds at night. We need good restful nights of sleep.
The spiritual and emotional attacks have intensified the last week or so. Both Kerry and I have been feeling more attacked lately. I have struggled with thoughts of failure, being a burden and not fit for the role in which I have been called. Kerry too has struggled with similar thoughts and there have been times we’ve found ourselves short with the other person which is pretty uncommon for us. There have been some moments where past hurts, which have been forgiven and almost forgotten, have come crashing in out of the clear blue to take our minds off of what God has called us to do as a couple.
I think the changes ahead are really starting to hit our older two boys. Gabe especially has seemed to be taking more in and thinking some about “this might be the last time I do….here” kinds of things. It is hard to know how to help him because he’s not terribly verbal about it. I expect that Otto will become emotional on our actual moving day.
So again nothing profound today. But we would covet your prayers over the next few days and weeks as we finish packing, move and settle in to our new home.
As we get closer and closer to the move I find myself more and more anxious about it. And I’m disappointed in myself.
I used to embrace change and the next adventure. I used to be up for just about anything. If you put it out there as a challenge I’d do it, heck sometimes if you told me not to…I’d do it anyway just for the experience.
But for some reason, there are times when I catch myself mourning the move more than I thought I would. And I can’t pin point why. We’re moving for a pastorate position that will suit Kerry and our family well. We are moving closer to family but not so far away from here that we can’t come visit. It’s a brand new town, with new people and new things to explore and to a church that cares for us even though we haven’t been there more than twice.
When we decided to travel in 2006, we jumped in with both feet. I embraced it, I was stoked. I loved being able to say to my recruiters…these are my top 5 states, find me a job and we’ll go. It was exhilarating to pull in to a new city, to meet the locals and check out the new place.
So why now, does it feel so scary? I could name a number of things that play in to it all, but I don’t know how to “fix” them and I’m a fixer by nature.
I will be transitioning to a full time stay at home mom (I’ll still be teaching online) after working full time for the last 10 years of our marriage (and since I was 16). Where will I make connections? How will I make friends when I’m not working outside the home? This is a brand new role for me, one I’ve wanted for so long, but I’m afraid I will be lonely.
We are moving to a new church. Our church here in Pueblo has been such a blessing to us I can’t even put it into words. We have grown so much and been fed meat every Sunday. Our church has become our family, they have embraced us, loved us, cried and laughed with us. I can’t even begin to describe how important our church has been to us in the 5 years we’ve lived here. It feels like we’re leaving very close family. Like a part of us will always be here with them.
We have had such a difficult year that sometimes it feels like nothing will go right. It is hard for me not to live holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to fall. In fact, last week while I was packing I had a moment of panic when I thought “what if they call and say they don’t want us?” I seriously thought about stopping. We have a moving day in 2 weeks, with no reason to think that the church will change it’s mind, but still…the panic hit.
There are so many unknowns in our life right now. I am a planner. God is not seeing it fit to let me in on any part of His plan other than what is in front of me today…and that is scary. He has surprised and redirected us, in more ways than one in the last week, which makes the ground seem even shakier. There are times when it’s hard not to be discouraged about what seems hopeless, worrisome or just plain fear invoking. I have shaken my head more than once recently when I reflect on where we find ourselves today.
There are loose ends. It’s hard to describe, but I’m not sure that we are ever going to feel “gone” from here.
And to be totally honest, moving is tedious and messy. It’s hard, it’s time consuming and it feels like it will never be done. I’m a check list person too, there is no check list for this. Some afternoons I walk around trying to decide what to do next because I don’t have a neat list. Phone calls have to be made to switch utilities, doctors, contacts etc. I have to try to figure out what we’re going to need in the next 2 weeks and what we can pack up. I know that we’re not going to need the pictures and decorations on the wall, but it doesn’t feel like home without them. I’m hesitant to take them down. I’m not ready for our home to feel that empty yet.
I am choosing though to embrace the change ahead, even though it feels prickly and uncomfortable. I have no doubt this is where God is leading us. So instead of fighting I will embrace it. I will pack my boxes and take one step at a time in the direction He is leading, even if I can’t see what lies ahead.
I rarely like being in between (unless I’m in between my children).
We are moving in less than a month. I started packing about a month ago. I walk around and ask myself if we can live without *this* for the next 4 weeks. If I decide yes, then I throw it in a box. (Actually it’s much more detailed than that…future blog post). But in reality it feels like I spend some of my time wandering around contemplating what lies ahead for our family.
Daydreaming of how I’m going to decorate our new home, what it will be like to be a stay at home mom, and all of the unknowns. As I drift from room to room packing, I also reflect on what each room in our home has meant to us. I stand in our living room downstairs and remember the cursive letters that used to be the border on our walls as Gabe and Otto learned to write here, sitting at a card table. I remember the guests who have stayed under our roof and our first Christmas hosting all of Kerry’s family and we got the stomach flu…we were so thankful for the 3 bathrooms. And the bathroom in our bedroom is even more special. It is where our son Titus was born, my VBAC after 3 c-sections, my victory birth, my shock and awe…my last live birth almost 2 years ago.
Each room I pass through thinking about where the possessions will go in our new home and what has happened to our family in each room over the last 5 years. I am living in between the two. I vacillate between the future and the past, stopping momentarily in the present to pack a box.
Life in between.