Moving season is here! This is a big summer for it – I and several close friends are all moving to new places this spring and summer. I’m getting lots of stories about what goes wrong, why it goes wrong, why you might flee to your parents’ home in North Carolina for the duration, etc. Right now we’re in the thick of things and the nuisance value is really, really obvious. So can I complain for a little bit? I mean, share some hard-earned wisdom?
- You can clean for showings, or you can do normal life stuff, like involve vegetables in dinner.
- You can clean for showings, or you can let your children be creative. As a life choice, I prioritize letting my girls make things – paper art, jewelry, music, embroidered sea creatures, dinosaur soccer fields, flags from leaves and branches, whatever. But you know exactly what a craft room looks like after a creative session. THERE CAN BE NO MORE PAPER KITES TODAY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
- You can clean for showings, or you can pack. While packing some of your stuff will, theoretically, make it easier to clean for showings, in the short term it just makes things messier, which is no comfort when someone is coming at one o’clock.
- Packed boxes do not improve the look of your house for showings. Even if you can tuck them away in a basement, yea, even there will they be ugly.
- Showings will definitely get scheduled over naptime.
- No box is ever the right size for what you want to pack. I have this plaster bust of Otto von Bismarck… I picked him and not the Justin Bieber singing toothbrush at a white elephant party with some college friends, which tells you everything you need to know about my college friends… and he’s exactly two inches taller than the box that was going to “fit” him. Obviously, Bismarck didn’t come with original packaging, not that I would have saved it if he did. Also, I have this super educational fifty states puzzle that doesn’t look oversized until you try to put it in a box, at which point you discover the thing is ridiculous. It’ll have to go in with Bismarck. And WHY IS MY SEWING MACHINE SO ENORMOUS?
- If you pack it, you’re going to want it. I mean, we don’t have a lot of stuff we don’t use. Therefore, ahead of time I can pack… winter clothes… and, um, school supplies. I guess I can live for a month or two without my pretty china and medieval history, but you never know when a sudden urge to consult Augustine while drinking English Breakfast will strike. ::sigh::
- Why do I even have all this stuff? Why would I even read Augustine? I’ll just get rid of it all instead of packing it and I’ll be a minimalist and they can use my new apartment for a J. Crew catalog shoot.
- If you get rid of it, you’ll discover you did want it and have to buy another one. Dang it, Augustine, where were you when I needed you?
- If you don’t pack it, you’ll trip over it until you do pack it. Or, your helpful toddler will pack it anyway, with a sippy cup, and you won’t find either for three months.
- You never have enough boxes.
- When you haul your small daughters to the liquor store to ask if they have boxes, they probably don’t. Come back Tuesday. Either that, or they do have them and all your kitchenware will get travel under the names of Jim Beam and Absolut. Also, in the commonwealth of Virginia, hard liquor can only be sold through state-run ABC stores, leading the more curious among your children to ask awkward questions about that alphabet place. Sadly, it does not involve alphabet songs at all.
- The place you’re leaving always wants to know your move-out date before the place you’re going to will tell you your move-in date, or possibly people will change their minds at the last minute, and guessing wrong will win you two weeks’ stay in a generous friend’s basement.
- Just when you think all is set, the lawyer will leave town the day before closing and you’ll discover he hadn’t done any of the prep work yet and the new lawyer has no idea what’s going on.
- Between house-hunting, packing, showings, delays, moving, and unpacking, moving will devour your entire summer – eat it right up like a cherry cobbler. There will not be any leisured weeks for figuring out this fall’s curriculum.
Moving won’t last forever… Lord willing… and I’m really excited about this new place. You know what I think the best part of moving is? Friends. Our friends and church have a really solid moving ministry, which I do not take for granted for a second. And when it’s their turn, I help them move, too, because it matters.
Friends come help you put things in boxes and take them out at the other end.
Friends move your endless boxes of ::cough cough, Augustine:: into the truck and up and down however many flights of stairs.
Friends take you in while you’re a showings refugee and feed you lunch and let your children nap.
So that part is really pretty nice. Also, I do love getting a fresh house to decorate.
In the meantime, moving is ridiculous and exasperating and no matter how energetically I plan ahead, stuff happens. So since I don’t feel like I’ve got this under control, I asked my friends what they’ve learned about moving with small children, and they had some great suggestions. Join me in Part 2.
Photo Credit: All photos taken by Carolyn Bales.