Moving. UGH. But seriously, I think it’s one of those things that we all dread the most, yes? Moving 3 times in 10 months with two young kids while renovating? It was about as painful as it sounds! If you’re wondering how we made it out on the other side alive keep reading lol!
Charles and I are pretty solid as far as couples go, but this tested us. I could sugar coat it and tell you that it was all a breeze and that we were having date nights on the weekly and high-fiving each other at every turn but that would be a big fat lie. The reality is that renovating is stressful, and moving is even more stressful, and we did a lot of both while still trying to grow our businesses and raise a young family. Oh yeah, and we lived with my parents for 6 months (my mom corrected me, it was 7 … I suppose she was counting too haha!). They were saints for having us for so long, thanks Mom and Dad!
Now, I’m not complaining, we have a great life and we manifested every single bit of it entirely by choice. And I LOVE our new house! But I think it’s important to be honest with you all and give you the real deal; Instagram has a way of making everything look perfect which isn’t fair or even possible, everyone has their ‘stuff’! We are no exception. It was tough on Charles and I and took a toll on our relationship. If you’re going through the same thing maybe it will help to know that it’s pretty normal to have stress through big life changes, it happens to all of us.
In retrospect, I’ve moved a lot over the years. Granted it was so much easier when it was just me and my clothes and a few cheap dishes from my university days (thanks mom and dad, I hope I’m as good of a parent as you were!). But I’ve learned a few things along the way, ESPECIALLY this last round! There are so many things that I’ve learned the hard way… here are my top tips for helping you survive a move if that’s in your future!
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Surviving a Move (or 3…): 10 Lessons I Learned the HARD Way!
- Don’t buy too much in advance. Seriously, stop! It’s so easy to try to get ahead of the game or see something on sale and buy it for the space well before you need it. In most cases the things that I bough in advance didn’t work AT ALL (like my very expensive entry chandelier that was 5 times too small). Which means they were a waste of money (usually you can’t return them by the time you figure it out) and caused stress because I had to find a place to store it all while we were living like gypsies.
- Find a Genius Moving and Storage Solution. Ok, so this was a life saver for us! We used Big Steel Box for our move which worked out SO well! Our move was complicated in that we were moving some of our stuff into a condo (which we then moved AGAIN a few months later), some of it to my parent’s house, some of it to be placed in storage AND some of it to remain on-site at our house that we were renovating. It was enough to make our heads spin! Big Steel Box saved our derrières to be quite frank: we had different containers for different destinations and applications and they were able to accommodate every single bit of it with the most professional and responsive service I’ve seen. The containers are dropped off at your pick up location, you load them up, and they come pick the containers up with one simple phone call and they move them wherever you need them moved (including cost effective long distance moves) or will store them for you for a monthly fee. We had one container on-site at the house being renovated to store materials in like light fixtures and tile and it was such a life saver. HIGHLY recommend them if you’re moving, we’ll never move without them again!
- Pack without kids. If you have young children you will know that they get attached to things quite easily. Which means that they will unpack twice as fast as you can pack: it’s a real thing! Pack while they are sleeping or find someone to take them out to the park while you stealthily pack things up in boxes. They will be none the wiser and you will thank me later.
- Colour code your boxes. This is smart… and something I didn’t do. I guess there’s always next time (gulp, did I just say that??). Buy coloured duct tape and colour code your boxes based on the room. It’s such a simple way to organize your boxes for easy unpacking!
- Pack a ‘treasure box’ (I love this one)! Let the kids pack a small treasure box filled with fun things for their new room or play room, let them decorate the sealed box and make sure you pack that last so that it’s the first thing that gets unpacked!
- PURGE! Captain Obvious here but if it’s not useful or beautiful to you, let it go. Moving stuff is so much work, don’t move things that don’t serve a purpose in your life is such a waste of time and money. There were so many things that I thought I would need when we moved in but didn’t and I ended up giving them away AFTER I unpacked them. Find a good charity in your community like Mamas for Mamas, there are so many people that need so much.
- Prep healthy meals and snacks ahead. Freeze healthy meals ahead of time in preparation for the moving period so it’s one less thing for you to think about (pasta sauces, lasagne, frozen veggies), smoothie popsicles etc). Of course, you may find yourself eating out which is totally understandable: I find that some of the smaller grocery stores like Nature’s Fare Markets and Choices Market have healthier quick options in their deli sections vs many restaurants that are less expensive and much better for you!
- Pack an ‘essentials’ box. This box should be the last one to get packed along with the treasure box if applicable (so it’s the first one to be unpacked) and labelled so that you have the simple necessities when you move in. What you put in is up to you but I would suggest some plates, cutlery, coffee pot and mugs (and coffee lol)… whatever you think you would want on your first day in the new digs!
- Say YES to Help. I’m the WORST here. I hate asking for help and usually politely decline people’s help when offered. Something I’m working on. So don’t do what I did! BUT, I did hire someone to help me pack and take care of the kids while I made arrangements for our dislocation and man, was it ever WORTH IT! I think that we sometimes feel like we need to be Wonder Woman and do everything ourselves. Completely overrated! Hire a cleaner, a mover, a packer and say YES to any help that’s offered!
- Kiss your husband (or wife)… and give yourself a hug! Oh man, it’s so easy to get grumpy during a move and we were no exception. Try to take a breath and a moment to appreciate your partner if that’s your reality. Everyone’s doing their best but it’s hard to recognize that in the throws of a move when kids are screaming, you realized you haven’t eaten or drank anything all day and stuff is getting broken at every turn. Patience and compassion will be your friends. Oh and wine, don’t forget the wine. But also don’t forget to try your best to drop any unrealistic expectations (saying this to myself here too). Us women especially can be so hard on ourselves and feel so bummed out when things get stressful or aren’t as pretty as we see things on social media. Try your best to roll with the punches and KNOW that everyone has their moments, no matter how perfect it may look in a picture!
Thank you Big Steel Box for supplying us with our moving containers (they were a partner for this post), all opinions are my own.