Moving Madness Part 2

My family and I recently moved into our new home. I was determined not to repeat the same mistakes I did with our last move and overall, this experience was much better. I had a better plan, put a few good ideas into action, but I still made some mistakes. Here’s what I did right and here’s what I learned:

Pack Early

The first thing I did right was to pack early. I took down and packed away all of our decorative items like pictures, art and knick knacks. Anything that didn’t have a function got wrapped up and packed in boxes. Even though we were about a month out from our move, this allowed me to take the time to wrap breakable items appropriately and I also wasn’t rushed.

Label Boxes Accurately

Labeling you boxes beforehand will help save your sanity once you get in your new home

Labeling you boxes beforehand will help save your sanity once you get in your new home

I took a lot of time to label boxes accurately and with detail. Instead of simply writing “clothes” on a box, I specified who the clothing to belonged to and which season the clothing was. This way, when I went to unpack I could prioritize which clothing needed to be unpacked right away to wear this season. The same went for kitchen items, cleaning supplies, etc. The more detail you add to a box, the better flow of unpacking you’ll have. You won’t waste your time unpacking items that are unnecessary.

This also gave my son an opportunity to practice handwriting. He really wanted to be helpful and since I started packing early, I had the time and patience to work with him. He dislikes writing but this seemed more purposeful to him and I think he enjoyed contributing to the effort.


I started sorting through our items about three weeks before our move. I knew there were quite a few things that needed to be sold or donated. I took a load of kid’s stuff down to the Funky Frog and then donated the rest. I typically call Grace Centers of Hope for our donations because they come pick up my stuff quickly and all items are used to help those right here in Metro Detroit.

Child Care

This time I lined up child care and it was so helpful! This is a must, especially if you have infants, toddlers or preschoolers. This gave me the ability to help my husband unload the truck and unpack boxes without having to be constantly interrupted. If you’re relocating to a completely new area then I suggest arranging a family member to keep your children for several days and then bring the children once the place feels a little more homey.


This was a huge mistake I made for our first move. I had no thoughts or plans for how or what we would eat and it was awful getting carry out for so many days. Ugh… not only were we exhausted from our rushed packing and moving but we felt terrible from so much pizza. This time, though, I did a lot better. I had a box that contained every single thing I would need for breakfast the next morning. I also filled our fridge with fruit, veggies and milk the day before we officially moved and that helped a ton. If you don’t have access to your new home before you move then I suggest packing a cooler full of fruits and veggies so that you can immediately fill up the refrigerator as soon as you walk in. It’s amazing what a pick-me-up an apple is!

I did struggle though in this area. Our stove was installed late so I only had a toaster oven, crock pot and microwave to cook with. That would have been fine for a few days, which is how long we thought we would initially have to wait for our stove but it ended up being on backorder for about 2-3 weeks and I wished I had put together a few freezer meals in advance so that I could have just thrown them into the crock pot. We ended up eating a lot of sandwiches and still ate carryout. However, since I had breakfast figured out, we had at least one hot meal for the day.

Vacation Bag

I packed what I call a vacation bag. Each person got a bag or suitcase filled with several pairs of clothes and their toiletries. This bag got placed in the appropriate bedroom as soon as we moved so that bedtime went a lot smoother. I think the last time we moved I ended up having to buy everyone new toothbrushes because I couldn’t find any bathroom items.


My kids had shared a bedroom for the 10 months prior to this move. For my daughter, this was almost half of her life! I knew it would be an adjustment for both of my kids but they did pretty good with this part. However, we did fail to prepare them for the move. They were both pretty stressed out and crying by the time bedtime rolled around. We expected them to be super happy because they had watched the house being built and we were looking forward to getting out of our cramped apartment but we forgot that kids can’t always anticipate what something will be like. My daughter kept crying that she wanted to go home because she really couldn’t grasp that the house was our new home. I wished I had grabbed some kids books about moving and explained in detail what it would be like to have boxes everywhere and that it would take time to feel like home. Even good change can be stressful.


My husband and I failed to really put a plan together as far as our timeline for moving. My plan was to move stuff starting on Friday night, go back to our apartment, have dinner and then spend the rest of the following day at the new house moving more stuff in. My husband’s plan was to start moving on Friday night and never sleep another night in the apartment. As soon as I walked into the new house, I knew I never wanted to go back to the apartment. I thought, “It’ll be fine, the kids are ready to sleep here.” However, we didn’t think the evening through and finally stopped to eat dinner around 9 p.m. Our kids were crying and exhausted and a little confused. It was kind of horrible, to be honest. I felt so bad that I let my feelings get me carried away. My husband and I should have had a better plan in place for that night. Next time, I’ll move starting in the morning. It was too much for my kids to grasp that evening and it would have gone better if they were fresh and happy in the morning.

Prep the House

I mentioned before that I filled the refrigerator with food and I also stocked the house with paper plates, cups and plasticware. Each bathroom got hand soap, hand towels and toilet paper. If you can’t place these items in your new home ahead of time then you could make sure to have these items in boxes labeled with a high priority label. This way, you know to bring these boxes out first. It will help so much!

Moving is stressful no matter how much you plan or think ahead. Hopefully these ideas will make your transition smoother, too!


About Meghan Zeile

Mom-in-the-know and local writer for Rochester Media. Always looking for tips with kids, family life, and fun local adventures. Contact at

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