How to make a family move go smoothly

A beautiful sight: an empty, unpacked truck!

Moving is tough no matter who you are.

Even the wealthy and fabulous at some point have to either pack up their precious belongings, unpack them or try to figure out where their hired minions put everything.

Seriously though – moving is hard, and having small kiddos in the mix makes it even more challenging. Moving can also mean changing schools, daycares, churches and friend groups. It’s a lot.

That’s why you need great partners who can take care of the heavy lifting. If you’re a Buckeye like me, using quality Ohio movers like Move 4 Less LLC can make a huge difference.

Our last move?

When we moved to our current home, Z was only two years old. We made the process as fun and magical as we could, but it was still pretty hard on the little tyke. Like many families, once we were all moved in, we swore we’d never move again. It’s been almost ten years and we are still happy and staying put – for now.

While we were looking for houses, little Z was happy to go along. We always found ways to make each home visit fun. Visiting this house before we bought it, Z loved the gorgeous, park-like backyard and the spacious rooms. We knew it was perfect for our family and we couldn’t wait to move.

But once we moved in, all Z could do was mournfully ask to go home. We kept saying, “this is our home now!” But it took days for them to adjust – and it nearly broke our hearts.

Here are my best tips for families to help your next move go smoothly:

Brainstorm, write checklists and plan ahead. Long before you actually move, there are things you can be thinking about and planning for. Researching new daycares or schools, figuring out nearest the grocery store and pizza place, taking time off work before and after the move to pack/unpack, and so much more. Spend your free time thinking ahead, figuring out what all the details are and making checklists of who’s doing what. The best move is a well planned and orderly one.

Print “new home” cards. I can’t remember where I got this idea, but we used these cards (see above) for just about everything. We handed them out to friends, teachers and neighbors we were leaving, and then we also handed them out to new neighbors and teachers when we first moved in. They were so handy! I definitely recommend this as it makes it so easy to keep in touch and make connections with new folks once you’re settled.

Get help. Even though ours was “only” a local move, we learned the hard way that it doesn’t matter how far you’re moving. A move is a move. Even moving within Columbus was a pain and we needed a lot of help! We had our niece come for moving weekend as well as my dear HS best friend. That way, we knew there would always be extra hands and eyes on Z while E and I did our best to work with the movers. Also, if you’re over 30 and have a good job, do yourself a favor and hire professional movers. It’s well worth the expense. Moving yourself is a job for the young – they have strong backs and few possessions!

Create a “must-haves” box. Moving naturally creates uncertainty, so pack a little extra comfort by ensuring that your most important treasures stay within reach. Each member of a family has their special items they can’t go one day or night without. Have kids help you pack their “must-have” box of treasures and daily use items, including tooth brush, medications, pillow, blanket, PJs, a few snacks, an extra outfit or two and of course the favorite stuffed animals and toys du jour. Then this box goes right in the front seat of your car to be sure it doesn’t get mixed up or hidden in with the other, general moving boxes. I like to do this not just for kids, but for the adults in the family too.

Get kids’ rooms ready first. Most people probably want to focus on family living areas or the kitchen first when it comes to unpacking boxes or getting set up. After our experience moving with little Z, we would highly recommend getting kids’ rooms ready first – and try to make them match the old bedrooms as closely as possible. We read this tip in a magazine not long after we moved, and E immediately tried to do that. Z was unhappy with the new house until her new bedroom was painted and decorated to look exactly like her old room. Then, almost immediately, she felt right at home.

Shield kiddos from the moving process. This probably goes without saying, but you can’t have kids underfoot when heavy furniture is being lugged into or out of small doorways. Even if you have to check into a motel or stay with a friend for a few days, do your best to keep kiddos away the actual moving process. This is for their safety and sanity, as well as that of the movers! Z never saw our furniture being moved – as far as they knew, it just magically appeared in our new house.

Splurge on a backyard play-set. Twice in our lives, we’ve splurged on big backyard play-sets: once at our old house, and once here a few weeks after we moved in. Our experience is that the investment more than pays for itself in spring, summer and fall backyard fun – and even winter if you’ve got a snow lover like we do. Swinging, climbing, sliding and playing in a clubhouse are such a necessary part of childhood – and being able to play like that in your backyard is the very best. This tip doesn’t have much to do with moving, but it has a lot to do with helping kiddos feel happy and excited about their new home.

For more great moving tips, visit my friends at Move 4 Less LLC. And if you have any other advice for families about to undertake a big move, be sure to leave them in the comments below or over on Facebook!

Disclaimer: thank you to Move 4 Less LLC for sponsoring this blog post! Be sure to check out this highly-rated Ohio moving company next time you’re planning a move for your family.

About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat, snake and guinea pig mom. Travel nut. Writer since birth. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.

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