Summer is just around the corner, and there’s a good chance that you or someone you know will be one of the 15.3 million households that will move to another State this year. Almost half of them will be doing so between May and September. (Source)
Moving is stressful. There’s just no way around it. Some things are just par for the course and we have absolutely no control over them (like the ever-shifting closing dates and the never-ending “one more thing” paperwork requirements). But there are steps we can take that will help ensure a less chaotic move, and tips to make your move go more smoothly and be less stressful.
We’re smack dab in the middle of our moving experience, so I feel well-qualified to share some of what we’ve been and are doing in order to help you next time you’re moving. Of course, homeschoolers are
always usually into the “what’s in it educationally?” mode, so keep reading below for tips to keep the learning alive while you’re moving your basis of operations…
So let’s dive in, as they say… “Pin this page“, and read on.
Make the moving process go smoother…
- Take it one room at a time. Focus on just one room and pack AND clean as you go. It’s the perfect time for cleaning the baseboards and finding out what’s been hiding under your kids’ beds. Taking these measures as you pack will make your final clean-up a whole lot easier. Unless, of course, your rooms are already spit-shined on a regular basis. In which case, I don’t want to talk to you anymore.
- Purge as you pack. When you’re packing those boxes, you should also be making piles for give-away and throw-away. And then, and this is important, every time you leave the house you should be taking your giveaway stuff to the appropriate place (such as the local mission or the neighbor who’s getting your kid’s hand-me-downs). Having the stuff you don’t need out of the way will go a long way to helping you think more clearly. A good rule of thumb is: If you haven’t used it or thought about it in 6 months, it needs to go. (Thanks, Aimee!)
- Make to-do lists each morning. Take note of every accomplishment so that you see your progress. Otherwise, you’ll feel overwhelmed every time you look around and see chaos. I may or may not have written stuff on my list after I’d done it just so I could scratch it off.
- Be willing to make concessions. So maybe you don’t normally use paper plates, but if using paper products lets you pack all your plates and glassware then go for it. And maybe you don’t normally let the kids watch 3 hours of TV a day, but if having them out of the way (and still safe) lets you have uninterrupted work time then now’s not the time to be picky. (see below for some freeing homeschool tips)
- Keep a calendar. You can use your smartphone or just plain, old-fashioned pen and paper, but you’ll want to make sure you don’t forget to schedule service connections and disconnections or have your mailing address changed.
- Put everything (and I mean everything) in a box. Of course, you can’t do this right away, but you should begin working toward that goal the moment you have your moving date so that by the time the moving truck (or your uncle’s trailer) pulls up in the yard, you don’t have any loose items that are left scattered about the house. Don’t ask me how I know this…
- Label every box. Be specific. Write the room and the contents on the outside of the box. This is super helpful for finding the band-aids and antibiotic ointment that somebody’s gonna inevitably need. And, don’t be ashamed if you have one or two boxes labeled, “I don’t even know…” ’cause sometimes it’s like that toward the end.
- Pack a suitcase for each family member (or, better yet, have them pack their own). Having a suitcase packed with enough clothes and personal hygiene items to last a few days can be a lifesaver if you take longer to unpack than you expected. Which leads me to tip #9…
- Expect the unexpected. Please don’t think your move will be without hiccups. Problems will most likely occur. Maybe the line to your well will get cut by yard equipment and you’ll have no (none, nada, zilch) running water the first night you move in. Or the washing machine will break down or maybe the dryer connections won’t be good. Or possibly the dishwasher will get stuck in “lock” mode and not wash your dishes and can only be used as a drying rack. Or you may find that you have little to no cell & internet service making it virtually impossible to run your blog. Or maybe those things only happen to me and you’ll have a smooth as butter, can’t-get-any-better-than-this moving experience. Yeah, it could happen… 😉
…and keep the learning alive on the way!
The saying goes in our family: if you’re not learning, you’re dead! OK, it might be a bit morbid or hyperbolic, but if you think about it, it’s true, no? In the big picture, learning doesn’t necessarily translate into having to continue with a specific curriculum or “hitting the books”.
While middle- and high-schoolers are very capable of helping pack and move, they may not have the stamina to keep up with the adults. Additionally, they may be dealing with the move on an emotional level to which mom and dad should be sensitive. If this is the case, the learning that may be happening will be more on a life-skills level: learning to deal with change and adjusting to a new environment; skills that they will be able to utilize throughout their lives. These activities address a wide range of life skills.
- If you’re moving to a new area, encourage your kids to spend time discovering things about your new community. If you really want to make a project out of it, have them research and categorize places such as museums, parks, eateries, day trips, libraries, theatres, and any other venues you think your family would enjoy. If you can get to it, start this out with a trip to the local Visitor’s Center, or search online.
- Hand them a local map and ask them to locate where you’ll be living and where their new discoveries are located.
- Assign teens to childcare responsibilities for younger sibs. Have a large plastic tub of craft supplies, blank greeting cards, pens/crayons, etc on hand to keep little hands occupies.
- Middle-school and older kiddos can also help with meal prep, or at least be responsible for calling a (new!) local delivery or take-out place to help relieve the grown-ups from meal prep during crunch time.
- If their help isn’t needed and wi-fi or data access is available, why not give them a few options for a digital unit study? TechieHomeschoolMom has a number of them for middle-schoolers that would be fun and interesting for your high-schooler, too!
- At some point, you’ll find that moving day has come and gone and you’re starting to settle in. If your teens are feeling out of sorts, this is a great time to break out a box of old-fashioned blank greeting cards and have them send a note to their friends. Teaching them to express gratitude and friendship and yes, even sorrow, is a good lesson at any age.
Finally, if you’re finding emotions running high amid the clutter and chaos and empty boxes, it might be a good time for everyone involved to settle down together, grab some snacks or a bag of popcorn, and curl up with a good movie. It’s times like these that a good Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription is invaluable 😉
Tomorrow, after all, IS another day…
Do you have any tried and true moving tips? If so, please share them in the comments. Somebody somewhere will be so glad you did!