While buying a new home is a wonderful and rewarding experience, moving a large family is no easy feat. It can be very difficult to keep things timely and organized, but moving doesn’t have to be a disaster. When you have a huge family, you have a huge advantage: helpers, helpers, helpers! This list of tips will help ensure that getting your whole clan from one home into another goes as smoothly as possible.
The first thing I would suggest is making or finding a time-organized checklist a couple of months before the move. Like this handy moving guide, or this awesome, printable moving checklist. Now that the basics are covered, here are some tips specifically geared to help large families stay organized and on schedule:
Have a family day a month or so before the move where everyone helps go through everything. Get rid of things that aren’t needed or used or clothes that don’t fit. If clothes or toys are being passed down, move them to the right child’s room now so they will be in the right place when you get to the new house. De-cluttering in advance will save a lot of time and hassle come moving week, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to donate much needed supplies to a family, church, or organization that needs it.
Pack and Organize Important Records Early
Getting your families’ vital, medical, school, and financial records packed and organized well in advance will save a lot of stress. Plus, if you don’t already have a filing system in place to keep everything organized, now is the time to do it! You can buy boxes that hold hanging file folders that you can use for the move, and you can also use them for storage for however long you want (you can upgrade to a fancy filing cabinet later if you like.) More little blessings means more records to get lost or misplaced, so I highly recommend having them well organized and filed, and moving is the perfect time to get them there or simply re-organize them!
Use It or Lose It!
About six weeks before the move, start trying to whittle down your pantry and freezer items so you’ll have less to move, and try to eat everything you can from the fridge in the last week before the move. It might even be a good idea to run out of food a day or two before and just order pizza or eat out. A large family means a lot of stuff, so alleviating things that are easily and often replenished, like food and personal care items, will mean less packing and unpacking.
Utilize Your Assets
There are so many tasks involved with preparing and planning for a move, and different age groups can handle different responsibilities. Take some time to sit down and write up what’s expected of each child, or each age group. You know what’s best, but here are some general guidelines:
Teenagers can pack all of their own things, and can also help pack fragile items and kitchen, outdoor, or garage items.
Pre-teens can pack all of their own things and most household items, although it’s best to leave dangerous tools and equipment to older children or adults.
Kids ages 8-10 can pack all of their own clothes, bedding, and toys, but may need some assistance packing anything fragile or sensitive electronics. They can also help with household items like books, movies, and games.
Kids ages 6-8 can pack their clothes and toys, but will probably need assistance with electronics and fragiles.
Kids 4-6 can pack toys and stuffed animals, and may be able to pack their own clothes.
Make Labeling Easier
Instead of using a marker (that always seems to disappear) to label each individual box, consider color coding. It’s worth the money to buy colored packing tape or larger sized price-sticker type labels and assign a different color to each child and each room in the house. It will save so much time not having to write on each box, and when you’re moving in, a simple glance at the boxes will automatically tell you where each one goes.
Don’t get too attached to the notion that you will somehow be able to annihilate Mt. Never Washed before the move. Let’s face it, if you have more than a few kids, there’s no way you’re escaping the house with all clean laundry. While you can make sure most clothes, towels, and linens are clean and packed, there’s just no reason you should be worried about laundry the day of, or even the day before, the move. A good way to keep things organized is to give each child their own trash bag to put all their dirty laundry in on moving day. They could use laundry baskets, but it will take up so much more room: empty baskets can all be stacked, and trash bags full of clothes can be easily molded into awkward spaces on the moving truck. Trash bags are also a great, space-saving option for packing bedding and pillows.
Tips For Moving Day
When moving day comes, keep the older kids around to help, but try and find a place for the little ones to go for a while, or see if a friend or family member can come over and keep them occupied with a backyard activity so they’ll be out of your hair.
The traditional method of emptying out one room at a time may not work with so many bodies moving in and out, so delegate. Have a few of the strongest helpers on furniture duty, and then have the smaller ones assigned to empty boxes and everything else out of rooms one at a time. Make a list or even a map showing how to empty out the house (rooms closest to the door first so that things flow smoothly and there’s less in the way.) Also, have a couple of people in the back of the truck there to just organize things, that way the movers can just bring things to the truck and leave them there without worrying about finding the right place to put it. Use this system and your home will be emptied faster than you could ever imagine!
And finally, when you get to the new house, adopt the same method: Keep two or three in the back of the truck to hand things to the relayers, who will take each box or piece of furniture to the proper room. Once the truck is empty, take an hour and assign different family members to help unpack the things you’ll need right away like kitchen items, bathroom items, and school stuff. Then you can let the children go into their own spaces and unpack their own things.
The last piece of advice I can offer is to slow down, take a deep breath, and relax. Moving is a stressful task, but you’ve got this!
I hope these tips are helpful, and if you have any useful tidbits of your own, leave them in the comment section!
By AJ Earley