How to Handle a Big Family Move

Moving is exhausting both physically and mentally, there is no doubt about it.  If we were to start a debate about which part is harder, it would never end.  Yet, there are many things which you can do, both in the technical and emotional department, to make the move smoother and more efficient for yourself and your big family.

1. Make Checklists

Let’s start with the technicalities.  Whether you are a couple or a large family of five, you need to work systematically.  Go into every room you have in your current home and make an inventory list of all the things you wish to bring with you.  This will clear your mind and let you focus on other details.  It will also be useful once you arrive at your new destination and can’t find that cooking pot you thought you packed.  With the help of a checklist, you will be reminded of your decision not to take it after all and that there is no need to blame your partner for losing it.  Little things like this will keep the stress and fighting to a minimum.

2. Label Everything

Label everything before you close the boxes.  You know how sometimes you take out your phone to look at the time and you put it away but you already forgot what the time was?  Something similar is bound to happen in such chaos.  You close up a box thinking you know exactly what’s inside and just as you press down on the last bit of tape, you realise that you have been spacing out for the past hour.  It’s not the end of the world, but it is going to save you a lot of nerves when you unpack if you do know what is hiding in each container.

3. Keep the Essentials Close

As packing your large family will undoubtedly take days, if not weeks, don’t forget that there are going to be everyday things you will need to use up to the last moment – like towels.  Keeping that in mind, set aside a suitcase or box especially for those essentials.  Also, don’t pack the items you need the most, on the bottom.  Allow for them to be as accessible as possible.

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4. Do Your Research 

Consider the “situation” you will be walking into on the day (or night) you arrive.  Is your new home already equipped with a refrigerator and stove or will you need to go to a restaurant that night?  How late will it be?  Are any of the establishments around going to be open?  Think about the weather as well.  You might be moving from a place like Los Angeles, where it’s warm, to a place across the globe with near-freezing temperatures.  Do your research and pack accordingly.  You might be fine with a little cold but your kids are better off prepared, with a jacket in hand.   

5. Get Expert Help

Make the physical part easier on yourself so that you could focus on handling the emotional one.  Think about hiring professional movers, especially if your large family is moving to another country or continent.  Aussies, for example, tend to rely on companies such as Man and His Van.  Experts like that could help you with everything from start to finish.  The more hands, the better.  The quicker you unpack your belongings and find them a place in your new house, the quicker it will feel like home again.

6. Leave Time for Goodbyes

Now, slowly getting to the emotional part, try not to plan any packing on the night before the big move.  Firstly, you never know what last minute errand might come up out of nowhere.  More importantly, you should take that time to relax with your family.  Leave some space open for friends to be able to come over and say goodbye.  You don’t want to have to leave them in a rush just because you didn’t plan ahead. 

7. Involve the Kids

Let your kids be a part of the move.  Most likely, they had no say in where they are going to live so you need to help them see the upside.  Give them some control and let them pick out their new furniture or at least a rug.  Keep them busy by giving them packing tasks as well.  Make the packing fun.  If you happen to come across a family album in the process, don’t dismiss it in a hurry.  Take a moment, a break, and sit down with your kids to look through the album.  Let them reminisce. 

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Moving doesn’t have to be traumatic for any member of the family.  If you let everybody know that you are all in this together, you are already a step closer to making this big change a positive one filled with countless new possibilities. 

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