By Kathryn Streeter
I’ve adopted several helpful habits when faced with a move to help reduce the risk of emotional meltdowns—and I'm not just referring to the kids here! A successful move takes a lot of planning and composure. Insider-knowledge will help you be a better person (read: less crazy) through the chaos. If you’re lucky, you may even do it gracefully! Forgetting to pack the hysteria will be the best thing you do. Helpful hints to get you there include:
Before the Move
1. Start hoarding boxes, bags, and newspaper. As soon as you know you’ll be moving, immediately start squirreling away boxes, paper, and all types of bags. These items become your best friends as you begin the chore of purging. Among other things, you’ll be sneaking things out of the kids’ rooms to deposit at Goodwill - apologize for that later—as in, when you’re moving them into their new rooms. It’s likely they’ll not even notice the missing stuff. Lighten up, stuff really does weigh you down and getting rid of stuff brings a sense of liberation. Stop and enjoy that moment.
2. Permanent markers. Trust me, you cannot have too many. Permanent markers save time later because you’ll be labeling boxes and bags with as much detail as you have energy for. Label your heart out—the wordier the better. When you arrive at your new home, looking at a neatly folded mattress pad tucked into zipped plastic bag, you’re better off knowing if it’s the queen for the guest bed or two singles for the kids’ room before you open it up.
3. Packing Tape: Packing tape keeps things from getting separated; again, you can’t have too much. Sometimes movers will get it all done perfectly and every little screw or attachment will not only arrive (generally not a problem) but will be found. Mostly, various bits & bobs tend to be illogically packed so you’ll be on a scavenger hunt to make various household goods whole again; and all of these little missing parts cost you time, money, and your beloved sanity, which will already be in short supply.
4. Stash Disposable Dinner Ware and Paper-Towels. Your kids will not be thinking about how their kitchen messes become a bigger problem as your moving date nears. Take charge and give yourself a break. Restrict use of glassware and go disposable in the short term, so you’re not stuck the night before with late-night dish washing detail.
After the Move
5. Use Gardening Gloves. Cardboard is not your friend! When faced with mountains of boxes, your garden gloves will protect your hands as you handle vast quantities of that hostile material. Also, handling scissors and/or box-cutters when you’re teetering from exhaustion is dangerous. It’s easy to nick a finger, so even a humble pair of gardening gloves will provide a small degree of protection.
Keep Band-Aids Handy. No need to ask why (re-read #5). As
you unpack, someone will need one. Trust me. And blood, dirty cardboard, and
packing paper don’t mix. Unpacking towels and smearing blood on them also aren’t
Enjoy your new home!!
Kathryn Streeter’s writing has
appeared in publications including The Washington Post, The Week, Paste
Magazine and Austin American-Statesman. Find her on Twitter, @streeterkathryn.