Move It, Move It – Toddler Moving Lessons

Yes, that is a shout out to Reel 2 Real’s “I Like to Move It, Move It,” which I believe graced one of my favorite Jock Jams volumes from the 90s. Anyway, like I talked about on Tuesday, we recently bought and sold a home. This move was different than many others I have made over the years simply because now I have a toddler. I knew this would bring new challenges and I felt anxious. I worried that buying and selling a home at the same time would dominate our time; what N would think of all of our things being packed up; how he would adapt to the new house; and how Seano and I would manage to keep a house in showing condition for potential buyers with the thousands of toys we had collected in one short year. Here are a few ideas that worked for us:

  1. Pack in Phases to Identify What you Really Need

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We packed in phases, starting about a month before we listed our house, identifying what we couldn’t live without little by little. Our realtor asked that we minimize the clutter in our house (yes, that was fun with a toddler). So, during the first phase, we packed all of our photos, wall hangings, knickknacks, and other things that were more “decorative items” than functional.  Most of this was pretty easy to identify. In our second phase, we packed things that had a more functional use but that we didn’t use often (anything we didn’t use EVER went to the garage sale pile). Our third phase included things we use but could live without like extra pots and pans and our rice cooker. This was also the phase where we chose which toys of N’s to pack up (BONUS: he was so excited when we unpacked the toys he hadn’t seen in a month) and about the same time we started showing the house. We knew that this was temporary, so we packed as much as we could in hopes that a clutter free house would mean a quick sale and less time living with most of our stuff in boxes. About this time, we received an offer and had 45 days to pack the rest of the house.

  1. Take Advantage of Nap Time, After Bedtime, and Lunch Hours

IMG_1461Those of you with toddlers are probably asking, when did we get all of this packing done? We took advantage of nap times, after bedtime, and lunch hours. Our time with N is too precious and we didn’t want to let packing and preparing to move consume us. We also found trying to pack and keep an eye on N was just plain difficult. We found we were much more efficient while N was sleeping when both Seano and I could get things done. We did try to steer clear of rooms next to his in effort to not wake him up. So, in order to get these rooms packed up I got creative. My office was about 10 minutes from our house so I would run home and get an hour of packing in over lunch. A couple weeks of this and we were set.

  1. Take 15 Minutes at Night and 15 Minutes in the Morning to Prep the House for Showings

007Once we got rid of some of that clutter, we took 15 minutes in the evening before bed and 15 minutes in morning when we got up to get the house ready for showings. This included picking up toys, getting all dishes in the dishwasher, sweeping and mopping the floor, wiping the counters, and just general prepping. N is so busy and this allowed us to get ahead of him before we left for work in the mornings. By splitting up the time and sharing responsibilities, it didn’t seem like too much extra work was on either of us.

  1. Include the Kiddo in the Process

We didn’t do this intentionally.We looked at our new home twice before we made an offer and then once again right before we moved. N joined us each time we visited and he was able to run and explore (the house was vacant so this was easy). It’s nice that it worked out this way, because we did send him to Nana’s several times when we were out house shopping. Since he had been in the our new home several times, it wasn’t so much of a shock for him when all of our stuff ended up in this new place. For older kiddos, it would also make sense to have them help pack their rooms. For toddlers, this would be comical.

  1. Pack the Kiddos’ Bedrooms Last and Get them Settled First

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We waited until the night before we moved to pack N’s room up and it was the first thing I settled when we got into our new home the next day. While I did pack items that we weren’t using such as extra blankets and old baby clothes, I left out photos and pictures on the wall as well as his favorite toys. We also chose to paint it the same color and set it up nearly the same way as in our other home. I feel this helped the transition significantly because he was able to make the connection that this was his new room. Within days of moving, we asked him for something from his room and he knew where to get it.

  1. Kids Are Amazing!

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Seriously, kids are resilient. Every time I have anxiety about a change or how a choice we made is going to affect N, he surprises us with his ability to quickly and easily adapt. It’s like he doesn’t even know anything is different. I need to remind myself of this more when I’m spending precious time worrying how he will react to something. Less time worrying, more time having fun!

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