Tips for moving across the hall or across the world
Whether it’s moving across the hall to a new apartment or moving across the country for a new job or new military orders; moving sucks! Trust me. My move here to rural Colorado was move number 40ish. Honestly, I’m pretty sure I’ve lost count or blocked some of the crazy from my mind. I’ve got this down to a science unfortunately and wanted to share my tips to making this a much easier process.
The first thing I do before I start throwing random stuff in boxes is label the boxes. VERY DETAILED LABELING! I usually make a list of what’s in the box like this:
Large pot with lid
Dish towels (I use these to pack around the glass lids)
This process takes a while but it’s worth it when you’re half unpacked and need to cook dinner! Knowing where your things are even when they aren’t all unpacked is helpful on the other end of things. If you’ve ever tried to find something buried in a box then you know how difficult it is to function and unpack at the same time.
Also, keep the vital things separate. This will include your bathroom toiletries (toothbrush, soaps etc) and some cookware (my skillet is always the last to be packed), be it paper plates and the number for the pizza guy, handy. You’ll pack these last so they’re the first thing you unpack when you get to your new home.
2. Make a new house a hold quickly:
This is the worst part. UNPACK QUICKLY! Get to a new sense of normal as fast as you can. Each time I move I try to spend the first 2-3 days (every waking moment) unpacking. Yes, it sucks. Yes, you feel like you’re ignoring your whole family, especially if they’re too young to really help. But the faster you get to a sense of “normal” the better it will be for everyone.
When you’re unloading the truck or trailer try to put all the boxes in their perspective rooms. This way when you’re unpacking you don’t have to run all over the house looking for more things that go in that room. The key to this point is to get stuff put up. It doesn’t matter if you rearrange in a few weeks once you start using that room and want things moved. The key here is to getting it put away, hence why labeling is so vital to this whole process.
Every town has a commerce website. Start researching things in the area to do! Find where the local parks are and where the library is. Not only are these great kid friendly activities but they’re also free! Moving can be expensive so free activities is always a blessing.
Most towns also have a “buy, sell, trade” Facebook page now. Ask to join it and start asking questions. Most people on there are sane and willing to give good advice about schools, activities, good restaurants, best (or cheapest) places to grocery shop etc.
Each of those little tidbits of information will help you integrate into the community slowly. It will also help you get the things done you need too, like stocking the fridge, until you can take the time to find other grocery stores or activities that you might like better.
4. Finding a way to plug in:
If you’re religious then finding a good church is a fantastic way to get plugged into a community. If you don’t currently go to church I highly recommend you start checking them out!
Most churches have gender specific bible studies or small groups for certain demographics. This is a great way to get involved with other families just like yours in the community.
Another way that’s been a godsend to us is a library story hour. I’ve met many stay-at-home-moms this way and have made amazing friendships! It’s worth putting yourself out there, no matter how uncomfortable it is, to make a few connections. What’s the worst that can happen, though? You have one play date and realize you don’t care for them then you can move on! But you’ll never know of the friendships you might be missing out on until you put yourself out there and try!
5. Keep a schedule:
Every family has some sort of schedule. It doesn’t matter whether you homeschool the kids or work full time with the kids in school, everyone has some sort of schedule. KEEP A SCHEDULE! After the initial 2-3 days of unpacking, start up with your normal schedule as much as you can with being in the new town. If you used to go to Library story hour every Wednesday, start going to the new story time whenever that is. Keep some normal in your life. It will help the children (if you have any) immensely start to think of this house or town, as home. Find a way to keep things normal.
6. Find a map and garage sale:
This was one of my favorite ways to learn my way around town. We went to the city commerce and got a nice map (several of them actually). Then we got the ads for garage sales on Saturday mornings and planned our route. Not only did we learn our way around town, but we also got to meet new people. You never know what kind of people you will meet and what kind of connections they will bring that might be mutually beneficial later.
No matter how to slice it, moving sucks. There is no super easy (or cheap) way to get it all done. Hopefully, these tips help your family the next time you have to move.