Updated: Feb 16, 2022
TIME TO PACK – ARGH!
Decluttering your belongings is really the first step to an organized move. It makes for less to pack, less to move, less money spent since you pay according to the total volume of your belongings (okay you lucky expats, this does not apply to you)!
Writing lists is a great way to organize your thoughts. Make sure that you keep only ONE master list: do not scribble on scraps of paper lying around! You might want to use a computer, or a spiral notebook (so as not to lose pages). Give every box a number, the room where it will be put (NOT necessarily the room where it comes from), then write the contents on your list and on the SIDE of the box, but be careful - be as specific as possible when describing the contents (example: write « tupperware » instead of « miscellaneous kitchen items »).
Create a « packing station » which encourages everyone to pitch in and find what they need (labels, pens, tape, etc.), but make sure the items get put back in the « packing station »!
Pack a « must have » box for each family member, which makes finding urgent belongings upon arrival easy and quick (doudous, coffee pot, toothbrush,etc. - label the box something like « Mommy's must have »)
Removing shelves and their brackets, electrical appliances and their respective cords, etc. can result in misplacing or losing important parts. Put the small parts (like the shelf bracket) in a Ziploc bag, label the bag, then tape well to the shelving unit. The same thing applies to televisions and other techy equipment.
Setting aside rags and a few cleaning supplies allows for easy clean-up afters the movers leave.
Keeping important papers with you, instead of packing them, will save you many a headache! This includes birth certificates, school records, new job info, recent bank statements, phone numbers, real estate agent info...and don't forget a few rolls of toilet paper in case you can't access that specific box!
Making a diagram of where to place the furniture will result in smooth sailing for the Big Day! Think carefully beforehand, because no matter how big you tip the movers, they will not come back to rearrange your furniture!
Putting signs on doors which correspond to the name of the room written on the boxes avoids movers asking every 2 seconds, « Where does this go? ». In addition, put up a sign in each room « Place boxes here, please » to keep boxes out of the way of traffic and dedicated furniture placement.
Unpacking every box in one day is IMPOSSIBLE! Make setting up your children's rooms a priority. If they are old enough, let them make decisions about decorating and furniture placement – it will help them to feel « at home ».
TIPS REGARDING MOVING WITH KIDS
Getting kids involved in the packing and unpacking process is a great opportunity to teach the concept of « team work » (assign very specific tasks and give lots of positive reinforcement)! Moving is a family event, and everyone should pitch in.
Cooking and using up food from the freezer and fridge prevents wastefulness – no more shopping from now until moving day!!!
Getting all medical and dental visits done before moving will allow you some « breathing time » until you are able to build up a new network of contacts in your new neighborhood.
Encouraging kids to make an address book of their friends reassures them that they will be able to keep in touch (don't forget to do the same for YOUR friends!)
Explaining to young kids that their belongings are being moved and that they will get them back seems obvious to us, but might not at all be obvious to them!
When possible, arrange childcare for the moving day/arrival day. Otherwise, choose a « safe room » in your new home where the kids will not be in the way of danger.
Making a « Plan B » of where to sleep will alleviate last-minute stress in the event that the movers get delayed.
Revisiting the rules of the house upon arrival is useful, and might make you and the kids aware of dangers which didn't exist in your previous home (« This is where the stove is now- it is HOT! »... « Elevators can give you big bobos – never go inside alone!»)...