Moving With Kids: 4 Tips for Busy Parents


As an adult I’ve moved all over—I’ve moved states five times, and lived in 10+ different apartments or houses. But as we all know, moving with kids is a whole different ball game. These are my top moving tips for busy parents.

1. Start Early: Do What You Can Now

As I look at my list of things to do, there are certain tasks I think “well, that doesn’t have to be done now.” But, there are so many things that you can ONLY do right before or during the actual move day, and so it helps to do anything that can be done NOW. 

Sit down and think, what CAN be done today, even if it doesn’t NEED to be done today. Some of the moving tasks on my list I took care of earlier include giving loaned items back to friends, dropping off donations, and taking back my library books. 

Ali Wenzke, the author of the book “The Art of Happy Moving” and blog writer, has a great checklist available on her site to help you get started early. She also has several posts on moving during COVID-19.

2. Packing Organization: Post It Notes & Donation Bags

As parents, it can be hard to get big blocks of time to tackle a project. For me with moving it is necessary to figure out how to break down packing into small manageable pieces as I go. I use post-it notes and donation bags around the house to organize the clutter as I go throughout my day. 

Post-it notes help me categorize items so I can later gather them all together. For instance, I’m labeling things that are for friends, need to go in the car, or can now be packed. 

Do you ever pick something up and think, “oh, we should donate this because its (too big, too small, not used).” Then you set it down and walk away until you have time to gather donations? Instead of waiting, just keep a few grocery bags around the house to load with things you want to get rid of whenever you think about it. 

3. Apply the Five Minute Tidy Rule to Moving Tasks

If you follow any minimalist Instagramers, you’ll see many of them promote doing 5-minute tidying sessions. You can apply the same thing to prepare for moving and packing. 

Five minutes sounds like nothing—but if you set a timer, and set a specific task you can actually accomplish a lot. Perhaps tackle one specific area of the house that needs to be packed. For example, if you are purging bathroom supplies, the five-minute task could be gathering all items to look through. You can later dedicate five minutes to looking through everything. 

4. Divide and Conquer Your Move—if Possible

If you are able, have your partner (or relative, babysitter, or friend) get the kids out of the house. It’s simply easier and safer to have the kids out while moving things out of the house.

When the movers arrived for our neighbors, their two-year-old came over to play for a bit. It was no big deal—don’t hesitate to ask. Obviously, while COVID-19 restricts socializing outside of our immediate families, this is not an option. An alternative could be one parent taking the kids for a walk, or playing in the yard.

If you can’t get help consider how to create a safe and entertaining area for the kids on moving day. Moving can be distracting. Doors might be propped open, and kids are not always on their best behavior during times of transition (read here on our site for tips on helping toddlers with big life transitions).

Moving is rough. Moving with kids is next level rough. Being strategic and started early on packing can make the move less daunting. What has worked or not worked for you? Have you moved with kids? Share your tips in the comments below.

Photo by HiveBoxx on Unsplash
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Kristin grew up mostly in the midwest but has lived all over (California, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, and DC). She currently stays at home with her three-year-old son and 4-month-old daughter, but previously worked as a youth social worker and in different corporate positions. She loves to be outside as much as possible and prefers walking everywhere (especially with DC traffic!). She is a sucker for donuts and cannot live without coffee. Her hope in sharing her writing is that other moms will feel less alone in their motherhood journey.