Preparing to move house (with young children)

The last time we went through the moving house process my eldest was 17 months old and I was pregnant with my second child. We were renting at the time and the owner decided to sell the place. That wasn’t a worry for us as we were told around the same time that we would be moving to a different State for my husband’s work, just for a few months. This meant, a quick pack up, our items eventually going into storage and at the same time we had people frequently coming to inspect the place we were living in ‘open house’. I remember thinking that I wish we had more time to sort and pack as we only really had time to pack everything up…not a whole lot of time to declutter. I also remember feeling a bit overwhelmed at that time, as a new mother and the prospect of moving to a place we had never been to and being away from family and friends which was my support system was daunting. However, it was an adventure. I dealt with morning sickness almost the whole time we were away but I managed to join a local playgroup and made some friends. It was a lovely music-based playgroup which my daughter loved. We also went to story time at the local library each week. Doing these things made a world of difference so I didn’t feel so isolated . Plus I was able to keep in touch with family and friends via email, yay!

This time round, we are moving with an almost 3 year old and 5 year old. We have had a lot more time to sort through everything…a little bit Konmari style. I have to admit though, I struggled to get through parts of the book. I think I found reading about Zero Waste, Minimalism and Simple living (all have similarities) more motivating personally. Not that we have been able to down size our things as much as I would like, but like everything its a process and I am happy to go at my pace, which at the moment is slow. But that is OK.

Currently we are living with some basic items and some of my children’s art materials, favourite books and Lego, plus my children’s favourite stuffed animals for play which they also sleep with at night time.  I have been amazed at how much imaginative play has come about from having out less stuff not just with an easier tidy up but possibly less overwhelming? I decided for the time being to pack up our ‘Montessori style learning materials’. I would like my children to really have a break during these school holidays. Even though the materials are away, it hasn’t stopped my eldest from reading, writing and doing some number work, simply with paper and a pencil. It’s her self-directed work. I really am loving seeing my children engage in lots and lots of play. They really are enjoying each others company. Quality family time is what the focus is at the moment, with all these changes going on.

lego-storage-coffee-table

I really don’t have much of an idea how to store Lego. My daughter received two sets of Lego junior for Christmas not last year, but the year before, so she was not yet 4 years of age. Starting out with proper Lego at that age my daughter needed lots of help. She got the most frustrated if she could not find a particular piece to follow along with the instruction booklet. At the time we had her Lego set on a woven flat basket tray but the tray was dark so she had trouble seeing the pieces. I found this white tray which we already owned makes the pieces stand out better…so far no more frustration finding a piece of Lego. I think having more Lego that this may be overwhelming so we are just keeping this amount for now. My son has a set of Lego Duplo (larger blocks) and another set of some kind of imitation Lego which is in between the regular Lego and Duplo size my husband brought back from overseas. I will mention that this black coffee table was my daughters first ‘Montessori materials shelf’, it really has come in handy. I used it to display puzzles mostly and some baskets underneath. I only wish I took more photos of it in use all those years back.

coffee-table-simple-art-supplies

This light wooden coffee table my husband’s mum gave us recently when she moved house. It’s a nice large, low to the ground coffee table with some great storage underneath. We are going to use this as an art table in our next place as opposed to a table with chairs. For now we have kept out some paper, coloured pencils, scissors, glue stick, crayons and pastels. These are the most used art materials at the moment. Our paint palette is with the outdoors art easel.

In the whole moving house process we have tried to involve our children as much as possible; not only were my children involved in the selling and moving of their Grandmas’s place very recently (helped pack boxes, do some gardening and were there for the auction of the house, they have also seen my parents move house several months back. Both of my children being very excited about the idea of us moving house too (luckily). They have come with us to look at suitable places to live (aiming to downsize), they have helped with packing and sorting and there has been lots of open communication about what is happening every step of the way. It can be a strange thing for children to see their items being packed away into boxes, so open communication is important. They let me know which items they wanted to keep out and which ones they were happy to pack up. For young children its not just dealing with change but its also about security. For now, we just spend the next few weeks going with the flow. I am so glad so far it has not been at all stressful. My husband and I have felt really motivated to get into our garage and sort through some boxes that haven’t been opened in a while.

Some moving tips I have picked up thanks to google and advice from others;

Minimising/Reducing;

  • Rather than throwing away unwanted items; share, donate, sell or have a yard sale.
  • Go through and pack up way in advance if possible. Try ‘apartment/hotel style suitcase living with bare essentials, toiletries, food, clothes, small amount of toys etc in the last few weeks before moving.

Packing;

  • Borrow containers and boxes (what we have done), look in recycling bins at shopping centres for boxes or otherwise rent boxes.
  • Use bedding- sheets, bath towels, dish towels etc for packing if you don’t have newspaper (we did this).

MOVING DAY- To Go bag for in the CAR for the day we are moving;

  • Water bottles
  • Snack/lunch box
  • Phone for contact/wallet or purse etc
  • Some drawing supplies
  • Favourite toy

Essentials in a BAG/BOX for first unpacking; (whatever is left over in the house the night before we move that needs to be packed up)

  • pillows,
  • bedding,
  • stuffed toys for sleeping.
  • toiletries,
  • spare clothes
  • basic kitchen items (cutlery, drinking glass or cup, plates) plus some food

With children, trying to keep calm (keep the peace), stay organized, keep out their fave things and talk them through the process.

Some other tips;

  • Visit house before hand with your children. Take photos if allowed.
  • Research your new area with your children. Places to visit
  • disassemble kids beds- sleep on mattress before the move and keep tools out to assemble bed
  • Leave fave toys out
  • Assemble children’s bedroom space straight away if possible
  • Prioritise unpacking essentials
  • laptop and dvd or book/audio book for entertainment
  • camp out in the new house initially
  • take help if you need

I will keep you posted on how it all goes.


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