Lowell and I have moved 14 times in ten years. Two of them were small moves across town, but they were still moves.
I have made 11 of those moves either pregnant or with a newborn. Sometimes newly pregnant, and sometimes hugely pregnant.
We have always done it ourselves and with the helpful kindness of friends and family (who were visiting or lived fairly close by) to lend a hand in loading of goods into a moving van or trailer.
How do I pack? I have my packing system down to a way I really like and I find it the most efficient (for me). I start by saving all my junk mail (for packing dishes and other breakable things) and keeping an eye on craigslist for free boxes. I have also invested in a great many Rubbermaid tubs because they make for great packing AND as a bonus, they repurpose nicely as storage for kids clothes, holidays decorations, toyboxes, etc. Or, if you haven’t a current need for those extra tubs, they stack nicely in the corner of the garage.
I always pack my pictures/hanging things and knick knacks first. If you have something that is simply too big for a box? No problem! Just slip it in to a collapsed box and tape up those open sides! This process is also a good way to get your extra towels and linens packed because they can secure some of your most fragile pieces by being wrapped snug in a towel before being placed in a box.
I actually pack my statues and crucifixes with towels first (and put them in a tub!), and use what else is left for my other things. To date, I have not had one damaged picture or religious item due to a move.
I slowly work through and pack everything I know I don’t need NOW or could live without if the need arose. When our family was smaller, I was able to stack everything packed in the corner of a room that wasn’t used often. This last move I had the smallest house we’d ever lived in and the most people to work around. There was a lot of chaos and reprimanding for using my boxes as mountain climbing adventures. But, we all survived and so did our household goods!
I always pack the kitchen last. It is always the most tedious job for me and actually takes me the longest, but you need your kitchen ’til the very end, there’s no escaping that. Unfortunately, I always have the worst boxes to choose from and the least amount of supplies to work with by this point. But, I haven’t lost anything to a break!
And, going through all your stuff: if you haven’t needed it, used it, or missed it in the last 3-6 months? Get. Rid. Of. It.
Moving with kids? Well, we always talked about our new house that we were moving to as soon as we knew we were for sure going to move. Even the little ones because somewhere deep inside, they get it. Some kids really freak out with a move and change like that. But, we’ve always talked about how cool it will be to put their things in a brand new room and eating in a neat new kitchen but with all our stuff, etc.
All but four of our moves have been made with a mystery house on the other end, so even when we got to a house that wasn’t amazing, they all thought it was because of the hype we built it up to be throughout the packing and moving process. I really believe it is how we have successfully moved them without serious freak outs. I also let them pack up their toys and whatever else can be just-tossed into a box and then make sure they get to help unpack that box so they can appreciate being “part of the move.”
Our kids have always been with us every step of the packing-loading-moving-unpacking, but I would recommend having them stay over night with a grandma or a friend for atleast the loading part. It’s not that they are in the way, but they have a lot of needs that need addressed because they are little and not like us adults who can shove through something without a nap, or drink of water every 5 minutes, or a meal at meal time. You know? And, if you are fortunate enough to be moving across town? Maybe let them stay over two nights so you can get unloaded and unpacked some without the interference of the same needs that would need addressed during a load. Just make sure you don’t do much with their rooms so they can be “part of the move” and seeing their familiar things come to life in their new room.
One of my best buddies asked me to post about our moving with kids. I realize this post is somewhat relative to the kids, but perhaps not exactly what she’s looking for(??). We have always just (had to) rolled with it, and the kids have as well, so I am not really sure how we have done it so many times. Well, aside from God’s kindness in blessing us with abundant graces to get through it in addition to 756705792365897320571367134676547576607069823625 silent Hail Mary’s from me!
In quick summary: Just send them to a relative for 2 days while you load-move-unload. Nobody can help? Most the rules go out the window and they have to be permitted to get grossly dirty, eat just about anything, and have access to water and a toilet. Lots of movies or a crazy art project like water paints, scissors and glue and glitter, etc. (on a patio where it’s easy to clean ofcourse). If you have something more specific in mind, feel free to ask and I will let you know how I/we’ve done it.