Number one. Don’t. Haha. No, really. Don’t. As anyone that knows me or listens to me moan on social media will know, we’ve been moving house for the last few weeks. I’ve moved about 10 times in the last 11 years. It’s something I do quite a lot. So, I should be an expert. I’m not.
While I’ve moved often, I’ve only done it twice with a child. And both of those times it was just me and the child. Not a full family. We’ve also lived in our flat for over four years. The longest I’ve lived anywhere since I left home. This means that I haven’t had a proper big clear out for over four years.
I like a clear out, so I’ve had mini sorts every now and then, especially of clothes and old toys (don’t tell The Boy) but, when I move to a new house I generally throw more away than I move. I did not realise how much rubbish had built up in this time.
So, as someone who is totally not an expert and who has sat and cried with the stress of it more than once, here are my top tips for moving with kids in tow.
Do you really need to move house? Stay where you are. They’ll leave home soon. Move then. If you absolutely do have to, send them away as much as possible. The Boy being at school meant we couldn’t really do this.
Take Your Time
We gave a month’s notice on our flat so we had a long time to do bits which should have made it less stressful. But, I actually don’t think it did at all. So, when I say take your time, make sure it’s your time. If you prefer doing it all in one day, do it all in a day.
Don’t Buy Boxes
In the early phase, we were thinking about boxes and I looked online. They are so expensive to buy. Even second hand on eBay they can be costly. We popped to Aldi and asked for some. They gave us them. Most supermarkets will do this. Just make sure you pop in or ring them early and they’ll save you some throughout the day to be picked up later. Please don’t buy them!
Make the New House Safe
We didn’t have stair gates as we were moving from a flat. So, for a while, every time we were at the house we couldn’t leave The Bobsy. She’s obsessed with stairs. We’ve never had any so it’s all she wants to do. Things were much easy once stair gates were installed.
Clean as You Go
One of my least favourite parts is cleaning the old house. I love that as British folk, we scrub both the old house when we leave and the new house when we arrive. Because we don’t trust anyone else to do it our way. Well in our case this time, we had to, the kitchen in the new house was basically just made of grease. But, my tip refers to the old house. When you move something, clean behind it. Do it a bit at a time, then when it’s empty it doesn’t look too bad.
I was absolutely horrified by the amount of dust behind furniture. How we could breathe I’ll never know.
The Boy hasn’t been too bad. As long as he’s got a screen, he’s happy. If anything, he’s enjoying mummy being very lax with his screen time rules. The Bobsy however, gets bored. So, it’s important to have toys at both houses. It’s also made it easier for her to get used to the idea of moving.
Spend Time There
This is one part I regret. The Bobsy has been loads. But, The Boy had only visited briefly before we moved in as he was always at school when we were moving things. This has made it much more of a shock for him. So, my tip is, let the kids spend time in the new place as you move. Give them chance to adjust slowly.
For the first two weeks of our move, there was no food at our new house. While it’s not practical to leave too much there, as the fridge is in the first house, we did start taking a few bits over for lunch. We were spending a fortune on Sainsbury’s meal deals to start with.
Write it Down
Measure everything. Write it down. Double check. Stair gates aren’t all the same size, nor are doors. Our new ones are tiny doors. Write lists of what needs to be done. Just write everything down.
Start Address Changing Early
Most service providers will ask for a moving day. But, you can tell them a month before. Don’t leave it all until the last minute. The last thing you want to do the week you move is be stuck on the phone or computer doing admin crap. Write a list, get started early and then pay for a royal mail redirect just in case.
Book Time Off
We totally didn’t do this. Poor husband was working, then moving, then sleeping, then working again for weeks. I was working, looking after the kids, packing, loading, sleeping, school run etc. It was tough.
Remember, you’ll have a date to be moved in by, but as long as you live there then, the rest you can do in your own time. If it’s a mess for a few weeks, that’s fine. You’re in. Don’t stress.
Make Room Plans
A great way to involve the kids is to draw the room, and then have little cutouts of your furniture. Let them help you place things. It’ll help them get excited and mean you know exactly where everything fits if your pictures are to scale.
Spend Time in the Area
Moving to a new house isn’t just about the house. Spend time exploring the area. Find the local library and shops, then do a practice run of the school run to check your timing. Just generally spend some time there so it doesn’t feel alien when you move.
I don’t do this. It’s all going to the same place. Throw it in a box and sort it when you get there. But, I’m told it would be much easier if I packed to some kind of order and then labelled the box. It’s funny when it comes to work I’m super organised. Life, not so much!
Take the Kettle First
The kettle needs to be where you are. So for the first days its first house. But, when it comes to that big moving day, where you do beds and things, the kettle needs to be there. Biscuits and chocolates wouldn’t hurt either.
Literally, everything I pick up I think “do I love you enough to pack, carry, move and unpack?” if the answer is no, I bin it! I love this clear out, it’s great and I never miss things later.
Bin it in Secret
You know how the kids will say “no don’t get rid of my toys I love them!!” to things they haven’t seen or have been broken for 4 years, well, I find if these get thrown away or packed for donation while they are at school or in bed, they never notice. Husbands are similar, bin all theirs while they are at work. Mine keeps saying “what was in that drawer?” he hasn’t got a clue!
That first night, even if it’s a tip and there are boxes everywhere, treat yourself. Have a takeaway and a bottle of wine! You deserve it.
I did about three of these things so am by no means the great moving house expert. But, the main thing to remember is that it will all work out in the end. It has to.