Submitted by Gabrielle Oldham
I can still remember the day that I found out my family would be making our first
significant move. I sat on a kitchen bar stool beside my three siblings as my parents stood on
the other side of the island and broke the news. “Kids, we have something important to tell
you,” my mom began. “We found out that the university where I would like to study is putting a
new campus in a town south of here. It would be too far to drive every day from here, so…” she
glanced at my dad, who nodded in agreement. “We will probably be moving in a few months.”
We did. And five years and several smaller moves later, we found ourselves facing an even
larger challenge: our first out-of-state move. The process began with some stress, but even this
quickly faded as our family took worked together to make the move possible. We learned more
about each other and discovered along the way that having a large family did not have to make
long-distance moving stressful. Looking back on our moving experiences, I have found ten keys
to moving with the family that can make it an enjoyable experience.
#1: Evaluate Your Values
Before making a major move or making any other important decision in life, it is important to
pause and evaluate what is most important to you. What are your core values? What are your
priorities? It is best to do this both individually and as a family for two reasons. First, when the pressures of moving start building, it is easy for instructions to get lost in the hassle and for family members to be unsure of what is expected of them. By having your personal and family values out on the table before the move even begins, expectations are much clearer, andmoving will be much smoother. Second, establishing your values will make it easier
to consolidate your possessions, which is especially important for long-distance moves. If you
understand what is really important to you, you will find it easier to sift through your
possessions and only keep what you really need. This can save both time and money
throughout the course of a move.
#2: You’re All in This Together
In the hassle of moving, it is easy for parents to take all of the responsibility and leave the kids
to their own devices. I understand the logic behind this as I am the oldest of four children.
However, even a small amount of responsibility can help a child to feel that he or she is
important to the process and should be excited about the move. Even if a child can help sort
through his or her belongings when parents are consolidating or is able to help clean the house after everything is moved out, they will feel proud of having some responsibility. If children are given clear boundaries and responsibilities, they will be far more helpful and less likely to negatively impact the moving process. This is especially helpful if there are older children or teenagers involved. For young children, parents can make a game out of some of the mundane activities associated with moving. Besides, many parents are surprised by just how helpful kids are in the moving process. The most important key to remember is that your family is a team and any contention will only add stress to the moving process.
#3: Read the Signals
Family unity is one of the most important keys to a successful move. If one of the family
members is upset about the move, it can affect the productivity of the whole group. For this
reason, it is important to make sure that every member has a safe environment to respectfully
share their feelings about the move. Every member of the family should look out for the others.
If someone seems upset or stressed, the others need to come around and encourage that
person, making sure that they are feeling good about the move. This cultivates openness and
honesty which helps with both family bonding and a successful move.
#4: One Step at a Time
Moving can be very exciting and it is easy to try to accomplish everything at once. However, this only causes stress and make the process less enjoyable by the end. Instead of letting
excitement burn you out in the process early, take your time. Make a list of everything that
needs to be done before the move-out day and allocate some of your remaining time for each task.Then, divide each task into smaller ones. Kids can be especially helpful during this phase; while they may not be able to handle large tasks such as moving furniture, they might be able to help with smaller tasks such as emptying furniture drawers. This will increase productivity and save precious time.
#5: Consolidate, Consolidate, Consolidate
This is one of the most important, if not one of the hardest, parts of moving. It can seem
overwhelming to pack an entire house of belongings into a single moving truck. This is when
understanding your values is helpful; if you understand what is most important to you, it will be much easier to consolidate your possessions. At this stage, it may be helpful to make a list of all the spaces in your new house. Make a list of necessities for each room and build your list from there by adding items that you want in each space. After you have decided what you want to keep, try to find a good second home for your unneeded belongings. Shelters, charities, recycling centers, and thrift stores are all good places to give away extra goods. Even friends or neighbors may want the items you cannot take with you. Garage sales can also be a helpful option, especially for extra furniture or clothing. Your belongings are given a second chance, and you can earn money to pay for moving expenses at the same time! Any of these methods can also be effective teaching tools for young children, showing them the value of generosity.
Regardless of the method that is used, consolidation can save both time and money. Before my
family’s first long-distance move, we sorted through all of our belongings and donated many
items. We rented a truck and hired a professional mover to pack the truck. When the mover
packed the truck two days before we left, all of our belongings fit perfectly in the truck with no room to spare. Consolidating kept us from having to rent a second truck, which might have been expensive and difficult to find.
#6: Get Excited!
It is also important to stay positive even in the face of moving stress. Starting a new life in a
new town is always something to be thrilled about! Spending time researching the new
community can help families to get excited about their move. Parents can help children search
for library books about the area and activities in their new community. Moving is enjoyable
when families are excited about their new future!
#7: Build a Support Network
It is difficult to leave a community of family, friends, and neighbors, but instead of drawing
away from them while anticipating the move, it Is best to use the time to make memories.
Invite a friend over for one last barbeque or pay a neighbor to help move furniture. Use the
time you have left to bond. Friends, family, and neighbors can also give valuable support and
help out with last-minute moving concerns. Knowing that you have people supporting your
family as you make a major transition can make the last moments before the move enjoyable
and less stressful.
#8: Take Time for You When moving, it is easy to get caught up in to-do lists and forget about the people who made your home special in the first place. It can be helpful to take frequent breaks from moving chores and do something with your family. This helps families to bond as a team, which only helps the moving process go more smoothly. Taking time to go to your favorite spots one last time before you move can create very special memories. Even something as simple as taking a last walk through the neighborhood and reminiscing about memories can give everyone in the family a sense of closure and help the process feel easier.
#9: Savor Every Moment
Time is one of the most precious resources a person has, especially when it comes to moving.
Even if the move is not pressured by time, it is still wise to get as much done as early as possible in case extra time is needed for unexpected circumstances. Efficiency is important in every move and can save both time and money. Whether this means finding a more efficient way to label boxes or a better way to work together as a family to pack up the house, every resource should be used as thoroughly as possible and nothing should go to waste. However, even when seeking to be efficient, it is important to remember not even one moment should be lost to moving stress. Instead of creating tense environments, families should find ways to make even mundane tasks fun. In the end, your family will not remember if every detail of the move was perfect, but they will remember how they felt when the move was taking place.
#10: Remember the Big Picture
Moving involves many, many details and it is easy to miss the full picture because of these
details. Everyone in the family can benefit from this tip, whether it be a parent stressing over last-minute moving truck details or a child upset about leaving their home for someplace new.
Every once in a while, and even before beginning the moving process, it is helpful to gather as a family to reflect on what the move means for your futures. Imagine all the people your
family can impact and all of the wonderful things that will happen as a result of your move.
Your move can be a wonderful, life-changing experience. Do not let stress or anxiety keep you
from seeing the joy that your future can hold because of your move. Remember that the best is
yet to come!
Moving can be a wonderful adventure filled with joy and excitement for the whole
family. It does not have to be stressful; it can actually be a lot of fun! Even intense moments, it is important to remember that this move is only one piece of life’s grand adventure and that it is okay if not every detail is perfect. What is important is that the family makes it through the move together because, in the end, the family is more important than any move.
Submitted by Gabrielle Oldham
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