For some reason or another, Reid and I always pack as much into one month out of the year as humanly possible. This year it was August, and as if finishing graduate school, adjusting to life with a 2 year old, and higher UPS demands because of COVID-19 weren’t enough, we thought buying and moving into a new house would be fun…
I’m totally kidding—no one ever thinks moving is fun, because it isn’t. It’s the worst.
The boxes, the tape guns, and the overwhelming scent of Sharpie that fills the dust-filled air are enough to bring anyone’s spirits down. Add a cranky toddler, and it’s the perfect recipe for a multiple-breakdown fiasco.
We had been looking for a new house for a while, and when we finally found one within our price range and with a great backyard, we moved as quick as we could to make it ours.
Let’s just say a global pandemic has worked wonders for the housing market.
As frustrating and laborious as finding the house was, we had no idea that the next couple of steps would really be the challenge.
Besides paperwork, insurance, and countless calls to and from banks, the idea that we had to move our entire house to another house was a little daunting, especially considering we’re going down in square footage.
Even more of an issue? Figuring out the best way to transition Sloan from one house to another without making her feel lost or confused.
While we’ve shown her pictures of the house and pointed out where certain things will go, I don’t think she’ll really understand until our first night there, when she has to sleep in a brand-new room.
READ IT OUT
Here are some of my favorite children’s books that tackle the idea of moving:
Bad Bye, Good Bye Deborah Underwood
Boomer’s Big Day Constance W. McGeorge
Bella and Stella Come Home Anika A. Denise
Then comes the question of how. How do we make this as seamless as possible? How do we create a space for her that makes her feel at home?
I started with the packing process itself. Sloan helped put books in boxes, she colored on one side while we labeled the other, and she “helped” organize our “keep” and “throw” piles.
Deciding to take little pieces from her room every day allowed her to still feel like she had a space and allowed me to focus on other aspects of the house. I was really worried about her feeling out of control and anxious with so much of her daily life packed away, but as always, she blew me away with her adaptability and calmness.
My Pinterest board is filled with all of these brand-new ideas and concepts for the new place, but after completely planning Sloan’s new room in my head, I realized that keeping her room the same for the time being makes the most sense for both of us.
Not only does that take a project off of my list, but it allows her to associate a room she knows and loves with a new, and potentially scary, place.
Change is scary for everyone, but it can be especially daunting if you’re 2 and don’t understand why your house suddenly looks, smells, and feels different. A place where she is always supposed to feel warm and safe in is suddenly new, and acknowledging that has really helped me understand my own anxiety toward the moving process.
While things will be new and different, there’s nothing that says it also has to be scary.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED
+ Pack boxes by items, not rooms. Don’t limit your inner interior designer by assigning your stuff to their old spaces. Maybe your books will be in your living room and not your den, and that’s okay.
+ Markers are a kid’s best friend. Sloan was really into our permanent markers, so by giving her her own set, she was able to “label” her boxes how she saw fit.
+ Always pack dÉcor first. Your walls may look naked, but it’s better than scrambling to find your work clothes in a sea of already-taped boxes.
Sloan will play with her cars no matter where they are. She’ll still find comfort in her blankets and stuffed animals because they haven’t changed. She’ll still look to Reid and I and feel at home.
Everyone is apprehensive when it comes to moving, and even more so when the move includes other people. Switching the emphasis from the house itself to the experiences that may come from it is a surefire way to realize that home is where you feel loved, not the address you give to Jimmy John’s for delivery.
I’ll take a Turkey Tom, by the way.