moving

frugal moving tips

7 Frugal Packing Tips for Your Next Move

Did you know that four years ago it was estimated that the average move costed between $1,100 and $5,600 (depending on if it’s an in-state or out-of-state move)!¹ And, that was four years ago, the price has gone up since then. And, the estimated cost for moving if you were an employee transferring to another location for the company, was about $12,000. (My thought is that they may have been taking advantage of being reimbursed and didn’t spend as stingily as they could have.)

But, it still amazes me. And, that’s not even considering the amount you have to pay up front to live in your new home.

Now, I understand that moving is expensive; there’s renting the moving truck, replacing items in your home that you don’t want to move (like shower curtains), or buying new things for your new home (like curtains).

But, it doesn’t have to be that expensive. My family moved cross country just last year and we didn’t spend anywhere close to $5,000. It was more like $2,500 to $3,000, and we had to buy a new couch and kitchen table because ours wouldn’t fit in the little trailer we rented to move our family of four across the country.

And, and in town move; are you joking me with $1,100? It’s $20 to rent a moving truck for the day, $20 for a pizza for yourself (and family or friends who help you move), and maybe $100-$200 to replace items in your home, or buy new things for your home. And, depending on how long you lived at your old place (and whether or not you had kids), maybe $20 to fix it up to get your security deposit back.

So, wanna learn a thing or two about moving frugally, to save money on your next move?

Check out my money saving packing hacks below!

1. Never Buy a Box

There is absolutely NO reason to ever have to buy a box to move.

Big box stores and grocery stores will usually give them to you for FREE. And, if you know you’re going to be moving within the next year or so, make sure you keep any boxes you come across, especially big ones.

Seriously, doing those two things alone should be enough for you to not have to buy a single box. If you do end up needing more, ask friends or family if they have any they don’t need anymore.

Almost half of the cardboard boxes I used for my last move were diaper boxes. (I guess that’s what happens when you have one in diapers for 2 and a half years, then have another child 9 months later…in diapers for 2 and a half years.)

If you generally store items, such as seasonal clothes or decor, do yourself a favor and invest in some totes to store them in; they’ll last longer and hold up better through out the years. (And, if you did have those items in boxes, use those boxes to move other items…maybe kitchen stuff. Which always seems to be packed last and be the most complicated to pack, or maybe that’s just me.)

2. Don’t Box up Clothes

I know I mentioned packing seasonal clothes in totes in the last tip. But, what about all the clothes that are in season?

DON’T put them in boxes. DON’T put them in totes. DO leave them right as they are in their drawers.

Sure, you may have to take the drawers out to move the dresser (unless you have Hulk helping you move). But, it saves you from using more boxes and saves you room in the moving truck. Win-win!

3. Use Garbage Bags

Yep, you saw that right. If you want to save money, use what you already have; garbage bags included.

It’s really not as horrible as you think it is. Plus, if you have any clothes hanging up in your closet, you don’t even have to take them off the hanger if you simply pack them in garbage bags. Just make a whole at the bottom of the bag for the hangers.

You may also want to consider bagging up stuffed animals this way, especially if your kids have as many as my girls do. (It’s a lot, let’s just leave it at that!)

4. Use what you Have to Cushion Breakables

Let’s go over another thing you should NOT buy; bubble wrap or packing peanuts. Now, don’t think I’m crazy for saying this (or wanting all your precious belongings to break, because I don’t.)

I have moved 9 times in the past 6 years, and never once did I use bubble wrap or packing peanuts. And, 3 of those moves were cross country trips….with a trailer being pulled behind our only vehicle with all of our belongings.

So, take my word or not, but I’ll never buy them.

Instead, I use dish towels, other towels, blankets, those annoying plastic bags that you get at grocery stores that everyone hates, and sometimes even stuffed animals! And, of course, for the most breakable items we keep the original packaging. (Like for the TV and my husbands game systems.)

It may be more creativity than some people are comfortable with, but it works. Nothing has ever broken during a move, and I don’t spend any money on preventing them from breaking.

5. Don’t Skimp on the Tape

At first, making sure you buy name brand tape, and spending a little extra money to not go with an off-brand, doesn’t seem like a way to save money.

But, when the boxes you do use fall open at the bottom because the tape didn’t hold up, you may think a bit differently.

Luckily, this didn’t happen to me; however, I did go back out to get name brand tape after my husband bought off-brand tape. It had a picture of a dinosaur head on it, so he thought it’d be good, and it was a little cheaper than the name brand tape. He thought he was doing a good thing because he knows how I like to save money. But, when the tape won’t hold a completely stuffed box closed; it’s time to cough up the extra dollar and get the packing tape you know and trust.

6. Don’t Hire a Mover

Is hiring a mover even a thing anymore? I’ve never done it, and I don’t know anyone who has.

Isn’t moving what friends and family for. Or, if it’s just you, your husband, and kids, it’ll bring you all closer together and be some good bonding time.

Believe me, it is possible to move without hiring a mover. All you need is at least two adults and some money for a moving truck…and maybe some filling food afterwards when you’re tired from a hard days work.

For example, my husband, myself, and oldest daughter (who was 10 months old at the time) moved from Florida to New York with no help. We had to pack the moving truck ourselves; my husband packed most of it into the truck by himself. But, when it came time to move the couch, I wore our daughter on my chest to help lift the couch down from our second floor apartment and into the truck.

Sure, it may not have been ideal, but we did it. Then, we started our drive to New York that night….We were young back then (and to think, that was only 5 years ago).

7. Fix Minor Issues at your Old Home

If you rented your old home then you’re going to want to clean it well and fix any minor issues that may have occurred during your stay there.

Say…..crayon on the walls.

Hopefully you took pictures of the place when you moved in; make sure you do the same when you move out. But, as long as it looks just like it did, or better, than when you moved in you should be able to get a lot of your security deposit back.

Don’t expect, and be relying on, getting your whole security deposit back, though. In general, some money will be used from the security deposit to get locks changed and carpets cleaned. Depending on the landlord or property’s management, it could be a very minimal charge or it could be upwards to a couple hundred dollars.

But, if you leave the place a mess and don’t fix what you break (or get the beautiful pictures your kids drew on the walls, off), then you may actually end up owing after you move. In other words, the security deposit may not cover it all.

So, think twice before thinking you don’t have to clean up after yourself!

Don’t be Afraid to use Those Frugal Moving Tips

With the tips above you’re sure to save at least a couple hundred dollars on your next move. Just remember that every dollar counts. And, to reuse what you already have. (And, never buy a box.)

There’s no sense in spending $100 on packing supplies when all you really need is to be smart with the way that you’re packing.

No need to hire people to help you move, when all your friends really want is free food.

My last move cost less than $100! (Between fixing minor issues, moving trucks, packing supplies, and food for those helping.)

How much is yours going to cost?

frugal moving tips


¹https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/04/30/the-hidden-costs-of-moving


Related Posts:

How to Pack like a Pro Moving: Cross Country Move
17 Places You Need to Change Your Address When You Move!!
How to Move out in a Month (with Kids)

Moving with Kids

10 Sanity Saving Tips for Moving with Kids

Have you ever tried to move….with kids?

It can be quite a challenge, especially if you don’t have anyone to watch them while you pack or even on moving day.

Naturally, they like to get into things; recently packed boxes and packing supplies included.

So, you may ask ‘how do you move with kids?’ Or, more accurately, ‘how do you move with kids without stressing out so much that you don’t even want to move anymore’?

Well, I have a few tips that may just help you. And, I’m going to let you know right now, first hand, that these are sanity savers!

(Just for reference, I recently moved for the 9th time with kids.)

Before Moving Day (with kids)

Tape up Boxes ASAP

I learned this tip the hard way, and it took multiple moves to finally nail down this sanity saving tape. You can only pack up the same boxes so many times without going insane.

Kids are curious, so of course they want to know what’s inside the boxes you just packed. You can’t blame them for that; when I forget to label a box, I’m the same way.

But, after having to repack a few boxes over and over again, it starts to get stressful and time consuming. So, just do yourself a favor and tape up boxes (and label them) right after you get them packed. And make sure you’re using strong packing tape.

I even go as far as designating one spot for all of the boxes to go once packed. Preferably a place I can keep in sight so I can make sure my girls aren’t trying to open them

Designate ONE Box for them to Keep Their Favorite Toys

…Or laundry basket, bag, or whatever else you want. Have this be the only place they are able to get toys out of while you’re packing, at least for the last week or two before moving, no exceptions!

Maybe have them choose some of their favorite toys, or choose them yourself. Make sure there are enough toys to keep them entertained while you finish packing up the rest of your belonging; but not too many that they don’t all fit in a box or bag to be moved to the new place.

My girls picked out their Disney microphones, other noisy toys, and of course baby dolls, stuffed animals and some dress up clothes for our most recent move. For reference, they’re 2 and 5.

Declutter Their Toys with Them

If your kids are anything like my girls then they probably have more toys than they can play with. They could use a good decluttering session! And, it’s not that we go out and spend a ton of money on their toys, most of them were gifts.

Plus, kids grow so fast and outgrow toys. This last move we had a lot of developmental toys for 12-18 months that we had to get rid of because they were simply taking up space

If your kids are hesitant about donating, or decluttering their belongings, ask which ones they would like to give to other children to make happy. Using that logic seems to go over much better with my 5 year old.

If you’re downsizing, decluttering will be necessary anyways. If you’re not downsizing, having less stuff is a great way to start fresh in a new home; they’ll be less to put away and organize, and less to maintain!

Allow a Little More TV

I know some moms would frown upon this tactic, but it works!

If you’re pressed for time and need your kids to just sit still so you can get everything packed up and cleaned, simply put on a movie. Get what you need to get done, done, then turn off the TV. It’s simple and effective.

If you don’t have anyone to watch your kids while you pack, then use this tip. It will give your kids something to do, and stay out of your way while you run around like crazy trying to get everything packed and cleaned.

Moving Day

Designate and Adult

Have you ever moved with kids and had no extra adult to help with the kids? Just you and your husband?

It can be difficult, to say the least; we’ve done it a few times.

I still remember when we moved with our oldest daughter only10 months old. We were moving from Florida to New York in August, so it was hot. We had no one to help watch her, or to help load up the moving truck. My husband was able to pack up most of our stuff by himself, but when it came to things like our couch, he needed a little help.

And, you can’t very well leave a 10 month old by themselves, so I used a baby carrier and wore her while helping him move our couch from a second floor apartment and onto the moving truck. Luckily, he’s a pretty strong guy so he carried most of the weight.

Honestly, it may be worth it to hire someone to help you pack the moving truck so that you can simply sit with your kids, especially if they’re little or if you have more than one.

Use Gates or Their Car seats

If you can’t afford to hire someone to help you move, or are trying to be frugal, use a gate to keep them safe in one (still baby-proofed) room, while you help with the heavy items.

If you’re children have already figured out how to open the gate, or are tall and can climb over the gate; then this may not work…But, if they still use car seats, which they should be if they’re too little to know how to behave during moving day, then use those.

First, make sure you take the car seats OUT of the car and bring them inside, possibly even near the door so you can keep an eye on them at all times. They may also enjoy watching you go back and fourth and pack up the truck.

Pack a Bag

Whether you have an extra pair of hands to help out, or not, you’re going to want to pack a bag for moving day. (This is outside of the First Day Essentials that I recommend for moving.)

In this bag you will want:

  • Extra clothes for everyone (including PJ’s)
  • Diapers and wipes (if you still have a child in them, or trying to potty train)
  • Drinks and Snacks
  • Pen and Paper
  • Activities for kids (like their tablet, coloring books and crayons, magnetic doodle boards, etc.)
  • Your phone, keys, and money

Make sure you keep this bag easily accessible all day long. Kids like to be entertained and eat, moving day is no exception. And, you’re not going to want to go through boxes or try to find PJ’s for your kids at the end of the day; no one has energy for that after moving all day.

You’re also probably going to appreciate having money out to have some food delivered to you at the end of the day when exhausted.

Coloring Books and Crayons

One of the easiest, and cheapest, ways to entertain kids on moving day is with coloring books and crayons. Get these at a dollar store if you really want to save on money.

Seriously, these are like magic sometimes; I’ve been writing for the past hour and my girls have been coloring at the table and behaving.

They don’t need a table to color at, though, they’re fine with simply sitting on the floor coloring. This can easily give you an hour to at least help pack up all of the heavy items that take more than one person to pack. You could even buy a cheap clipboard and let them color in their car seats (inside) while you pack the moving truck.

Relax on What You Eat

I’ll admit to being a health nut and wanting to make sure everything myself and girls eat will nourish our bodies and promote health. But, it won’t kill us to eat out or have food delivered to us at the end of moving day.

You’re going to want to have easy snacks and meals to eat during the day, that you know your kids won’t fight you with eating. So, if that means cereal with more sugar than you’d like them to have for breakfast, a pb&j for lunch, and pizza for dinner; then so be it. This is not a day to be all that picky, especially if you only have one day to get everything packed up and out of your old home.

As for snacks, see if you can cut up fruits and veggies ahead of time and keep in a cooler, or simply get them a special snack ahead of time and don’t let them eat it til moving day. And, don’t forget to have everyone stay hydrated with water; luckily it’s the easiest drink to choose and good for you!

Set up Their Rooms First

When you finally get everything pack up, out of your old home and into your new home; have your kids rooms be one of the first to get set up.

Obviously, you’re going to want to get a shower curtain up and have the bathroom ready to be used first. Then, have enough things out in the kitchen for it (or you) to function (like your coffee pot). But, then you’re going to want to set up their room so they have a place to be and play while you finish unpacking everything else.

I know, some people recommend setting up their kids room first when moving to help with the transition. But, if you’ve moved as often as I have with kids, moving doesn’t really affect them too much, at least before they’re old enough to go to school. It’s more of a way to keep them entertained and busy while unpacking and organizing the rest of the home.

Be Smart and Take My Advice

Even with all of those tips moving with kids can still be a little stressful; any type of change in your life will be. But, using at least a few tips from above will help stop you from thinking that moving is too stressful and that you just shouldn’t do it.

Obviously, you’re moving for a reason and can’t just change your mind on moving day. So, do yourself a favor, understand that doing anything with kids is supposed to be harder than without kids. But, you’re a mom, so you can handle it; we can basically handle anything.

I just wanted to share some things that I picked up from 9 moves in the past 6 years that helped lesson the stress of moving with kids. My hope is that you can also find some peace in moving with a few of those tips and maybe even enjoy the process of moving and starting anew!

If you have any tips for moving with kids, please share in the comments, I’d love to hear them! I know this past move won’t be my last with my kids.

Moving with Kids

Related Posts:

How to Move out in a Month (with Kids)
How to Prepare a Young Child for Moving
First Day Essentials for Moving!! 32 Items You Must Pack Separate!!

 Moving in a month

How to Move out in a Month (with Kids)

Yes, moving on short notice is stressful. Believe me, I completely get that!

When my oldest daughter was 10 months old we moved back to New York after living in Florida for three months. It was a rash decision and the only way to stay in good standing and have the property manager not hurt our renting history was if we moved out ASAP. And, I mean ASAP; we had 2 to 3 days to get out.

Then, we were planning on moving a few months after our youngest was born, when our lease at the time was up. But, our duplex neighbor wanted our side of the duplex. And, he was willing to finish out our lease and his, so we had about 2 weeks notice on that one. Our second daughter was born on moving day…

So, believe me; I know how stressful moving can be, especially with short notice.

A few months ago we had about a month before we had to be out. So, I will show you, step by step, how to pack for a move when circumstances don’t allow a lot of time….and, all while being a stay at home mom to two energetic little kids!

Step 1: Organize and Clean

Start organizing and cleaning your current home as soon as you find out your moving. You will thank yourself later, a few times.

This way you know what you have and you don’t get overwhelmed by a messy home.

Do a deep cleaning in every room, even if the move is a month away. This way, when it comes time to clean after you have everything out, it’ll be a lot easier and a lot less gross!

Organizing all the belongings in you home will help you pack like things together more easily than if everything is everywhere (like things can get with having little ones around). Plus, you’ll be taking things out of closets and out from under beds that you forgot you had and was looking for; or forgot you had and want to get rid of.

If you have the time to declutter your whole home in this step; go for it! If you only have enough time to dig things out from where they were hiding and start deep cleaning; that’s fine as well. It can be hard to tell what you can actually get done in this step until you start it, especially with having kids around all day long. (My two year old gave up naps when we started our moving process.)

If you only have 4 weeks til you move, you will not want this step to take you any longer than a week. I would also suggest to start packing up things while organizing them; but only if you know for sure you won’t need them for the next month. Which brings us to the next step.

Step 2: Pack up Decor and Seasonal Items

If there are no major holidays coming up before you move, make sure you pack up all of your holiday and seasonal décor and items. Along with out of season clothes and regular décor.

If you haven’t already, now is a great time to choose a space in your home to stack all of the boxes that you’ll be packing up before you move.

Hopefully most of the items you’ll be packing up in this step, at least as far as holiday décor goes, will already be in boxes, or at least all in the same place. So, it shouldn’t take too long.

Unless of course, if your home is heavily decorated. Then it may take some time going around and collecting all of the decorations to be packed away. (Like pictures, candles, and other decorative items.) Unfortunately, this isn’t a time for enjoying the way your home looks.

This step should be included in the first week, along with organizing and cleaning.

Step 3: Gather Packing Supplies

Hopefully you had some of the original boxes for holiday and other décor, if not then that’s fine; it should at least be all in the same place and be ready to be packed up. Which brings us to the next step of gathering all the packing supplies. Basically, boxes and tape.

If you are on a budget DO NOT GO OVERBOARD here. You don’t need to buy fancy bubble wrap or packing peanuts or anything like that.

Seriously, you don’t, it’s just a waste of money. Use dish towels to help cushion dishes, or you know all those plastic bags you get your groceries in that you don’t want; use those. That’s really the only reason I don’t mind when I forget my reusable bags when getting groceries.

Now, you may think I’m cheap for doing that, but they work and they don’t cost you anything. Along with diaper boxes. If you have a baby or toddler in diapers and know moving is a possibility anytime within the next year or so; save those diaper boxes. They are made of strong cardboard and are great for packing a bunch of different things, especially books.

Moving can be expensive enough, use what you already have to pack, or go to large stores and ask if they have boxes they need to get rid of. That’s another great way to get your packing supplies for really cheap or nothing at all.

One more thing on packing supplies; don’t skimp on the tape! This past move my husband picked this t-rex packing tape for us to use instead of the regular packing tape, and it was horrible. It was a dollar cheaper than the name brand, and I’m all for cheaping out, but sometimes it’s best just to stick with name brand products that you know will work.

Step 4: Meal Prep

Alright, so maybe you don’t get why this is such a crucial part to moving with limited time. But, trust me, this is super important.

First, if you have a month, or even a few weeks before you move, you’re not going to want to spend time cooking every single day. Cooking and preparing healthy food takes time, time that you should be using to pack and update your address, making phone calls, and other moving tasks.

So, if you have a freezer full of prepped meals that take you a few minutes or actual work to get ready, or a fridge full of food that you only have to warm up; then that’s a lot of time that you just saved.

Second, if you prep everything you’ll need and say freeze it so it just has to be warmed up, then you can pack up your kitchen a lot quicker and easier than if you’re making food on demand.

Now, maybe you think you’ll just be eating out a lot during the last few weeks. Well, if you only had a few days left then it may be fine. But, eating out for a few weeks will get really expensive and unhealthy. And, making sure that you eat healthy food is important for keeping your energy up during the whole moving process.

So, just do yourself and family a favor and meal prep. Keep everyone eating well and save time! (Or, at least plan out really simple meals to eat where you don’t necessarily have to cook, like avocado tomato sandwiches.)

Step 5: Pack Up Anything You Know You Won’t Use in the Next Few Weeks

The next step, which you should start as soon as you have your packing supplies, will be to pack up anything you know you won’t use in the next few weeks.

This will include, hopefully, most of the items in your kitchen, probably physical movies (if you have any), books, and whatever else you may have that you know you could live without for a few weeks.

This should be the majority of your packing and should be done before your final week at your old home.

Step 6: Update Address

And, generally, about 2 weeks before you move you should update your address. Along with telling friends and families about your new address, there will be companies and doctors offices that you’ll need to inform, as well.

For a list of where to update your address, check out the post I wrote on that:17 Places You Need to Change Your Address When You Move!!

Step 7: Pack All Non-Essentials

At the beginning of your final week in your home, you’ll want to pack up everything that you can live without for a few days; all of the non-essentials.

Think of it this way: if you were to go on vacation, whether to a hotel or camping. What would you bring or need to absolutely use while there?

Answering that question should help you narrow down what you should keep out and what you should pack up. Be really stingy at this stage with what you keep out.

(Also, don’t pack up things you’ll need when you’re unpacking at your new home, like scissors or a box cutter.)

Step 8: Clean Again and Pack All Essentials

Once you have the majority of your belongings packed, make sure you do a deep cleaning again. It should be a lot easier this time!

Then, the day before you move, pack up the rest of your belongings. Well, all but toothbrushes, stuff to use during your shower, and whatever it is that you may be sleeping on for your last night in your old home.

The morning of your move you’ll want to pack up those things. But, if you’d like a useful list in what to keep out as essentials and to pack up last, check out: First Day Essentials for Moving!! 32 Items You Must Pack Separate!! 

Step 9: Move Everything to New Home

Then comes moving day! The day you’ve been preparing for.

In all honesty, this is the easiest day for me. All of the packing and planning and updating information falls solely on my shoulders as a stay at home mom. But, picking up the moving truck (because we’re too cheap to hire movers), packing the truck and moving the boxes into our new home; I don’t do it. I’m on kid duty.

My husband picks up the moving truck, invites a friend or 2 over; they pack the truck, and then bring the boxes and our other belongings into our new home. I don’t lift a finger. My only job that day is to keep the kids out of the way. (Which can be actually be quite a challenge- coloring books are recommended for this.)

The last time I had to help move heavy boxes or furniture into or out of a home was when we moved cross country and didn’t know anyone in our new area to help us out. My husband couldn’t carry the couch up the porch stairs and into our second floor apartment all by himself when we first moved out here…

Step 10: Clean Old Home for the Last Time and Fix any Minor Damage

The final step you’ll have to worry about concerning your old home; do one more deep clean and fixing and minor damages that may have occurred while living there. AKA making sure there’s no crayons on the walls.

This step is vital for getting as much of your security deposit back as possible, if you rented. Plus it’s simply the right thing to do.

You Can Do it

So, even if you don’t have a lot of time to fully plan out your next move and may be in a little bit of rush; know it is possible. It’s possible to move when given less than a month to do so.

And, honestly, I’ve done it in less time. It may not be ideal and it may cause a little extra stress (to help you get it all done). But, even with having two little kids running around you and attempting to unpack everything you’ve already packed up; know it can still be done while keeping your sanity in tack. (Just make sure to tape up the boxes right after they’re packed; so little hands can’t open them and unpack what’s inside.)

Moving in a month

Related Posts:

How to Pack like a Pro Moving: Cross Country Move

17 Places You Need to Change Your Address When You Move!!

How to Prepare a Young Child for Moving

First Day Essentials for Moving!! 32 Items You Must Pack Separate!!

First Day Essentials for Moving!! 32 Items You Must Pack Separate!!

 First Day Essentials for Moving

Have you ever moved?

And, when you finally get to your new home, you can’t seem to find anything you need?

You end up having to unpack all of the boxes, because of course the item you were looking for was in the last box you opened….

Or, sometimes you just end up buying the item again before you get to that last box. That is why it is a must to plan to pack a few items last, and separately from all of the other boxes. If possible, pack these items in the car with you so you can easily find them. Or, at the very least, have them be the first boxes that you get into your new home. These are your first day, or week, essentials, that will get you through the process of moving into your new home!!

The first time I made sure we had a ‘first day essentials’ box, was when my family moved from the east coast to the west coast of the U.S.. I also labeled all of the boxes (or, at least most of them, I’m not perfect), such a sanity saver.

The other moves we had were a bit chaotic! Such as the one, when my younger daughter decided to be born the day we were to move into a new house. It took me most of my maternity leave to unpack, and I opted for the 12 weeks of leave. This time it only took about a week to unpack!! However, my husband an I moved without having jobs lined up, so neither of us had to work for the first 2 to 3 weeks after we moved…

How to Know what to Pack

The easiest way to find out what you need to pack in these box/bags is to know what you actually use on a daily basis.

If you don’t know what you truly use on a daily basis then I challenge you to find out, before you move. By this, I mean to challenge yourself to find out what in your home you need to survive a few days, or a week, while you unpack. Be intentional and write down everything you use!

I know this can be different for you than it is for me, so this is an important step to moving and packing process. The basics will be the same, but small details will be different. So, please, take advantage of the list I have below as a guide to what you may want to pack separate for your first couple days at your new home.

I challenged myself before my move, as well. What I discovered was amazing. It also made me think of all the stuff we had that we don’t really need and how much we could still declutter.

I love decluttering. The less stuff in the home the more easily organized it is and the less cleaning that has to be done. It also helps with clearing the mind.


Check out Learn How to Declutter (for beginners) and How to Keep a Clutter Free Home!! for more information on decluttering!!

With our cross country move, we downsized quite a bit!

We moved from a large 4 bedroom home with 2 living rooms, a huge laundry room, huge kitchen, and so much storage space it was insane! I never even went into the basement in the house, it was all storage space (and according to my husband, it was creepy).

I would spend hours a day cleaning before I drove to work each day and hated it! It was too much space for a family of 4.

Now, we live in a home with 2 bedrooms and a small kitchen. And, now I spend a few minutes here and there picking up, doing dishes, and sweeping. But, that’s about it. There just isn’t as much space to get messy!

You’ll need to spend a few days on this challenge. It’s hard to figure this out in just one day. You’ll notice that you will need items from the kitchen so you can eat, from the bathroom for hygiene, and of course some clothes! You may also notice you use a pad and paper or your phone and laptop everyday (I know I do!!).

Don’t forget to watch your children to figure out what they use everyday, too! If they’re old enough to pack themselves, you may just need to remind them. But, for myself with 2 little ones under five, I did most of the packing. And, if all of their toys were packed up in boxes mixed in with all the other boxes, we probably would not have been able to unpack as quickly as we had. Having some of their favorite toys packed with the first day essentials boxes, kept them entertained while my husband and I unpacked!

How to Pack it All…

Again, how you pack these items may be different from how I packed. I had a few different boxes and bags that were needed for our first week at our new home. I had a regular old box for the kitchen stuff we use everyday. The coffee pot was separate in a re-usable grocery bag, along with filters and coffee, so all we needed to buy when we got there was creamer, then we’d be ready to go!

For the bathroom items, we had a bathroom bag. For our clothes I used one dufflebag for myself and two girls and my husband packed his own clothes.

I highly recommend rolling your clothes to fit more into a smaller space when packing, not only for his bag, but all of your clothes that you’re willing to do this with! It really helps conserve space!!

If you don’t have a dufflebag and don’t want to spend money on one, a garbage bag works just as well! Garbage bags also work well for stuffed animals. This comes in handy when your children have a ton of stuffed animals like mine do. We easily filled about 4 garbage bags with stuffed animals and they still had a few out that drove with us.

If you have a long drive ahead of you before you get to your new home, like I did, then you’ll need to pack for the trip and for the first few days, or week, at your new home. Some of these items may be on both of your lists, and that’s alright. It may be even easier that way. For example, I kept my phone and charger, deodorant, hairbrush, and a few other items in my purse. This way I always knew where these important items were. I also kept a few diapers and wipes in my purse, along with mine and my older daughters chapstick. If you want to know what to pack for the trip over I have a list for that here.

Don’t Forget…

Don’t pack the box cutter!!

This is one thing most people don’t even think about!!

You need to have easy access to a box cutter when you get to your new home, it makes unpacking wayy easier!! You spent all that time, and tape, packing up your belongings to make sure they stay safe on your way to your new home; you’ll need a way to get to your belongings once you get there. A few things you may consider for your ‘first day essentials’ box, other than a box cutter, should be garbage bags, a flashlight, some cleaning supplies, and an air mattress/pump (just in case you don’t have a chance to set up you bed the first night)!!

The air mattress idea is certainly important, even if you believe you’ll have time to set up your bed. My family drove four days to get to our new home, we were supposed to get there in the afternoon but didn’t reach our home til about 7pm. (We were stuck at the top of a mountain for four hours because of an accident at the bottom). The air mattress was a life saver, no sleeping on the floor for us!

Other important items to consider packing for easy access, for both the trip and the first few days, would be food and water. The essentials to life! This one may even be more important than the air mattress!! How do you expect to unpack on an empty stomach?! Make sure to pack plenty of water and easy to grab snacks, for you and your kids.

Nothing is worse than wanting to finish unpacking but having to stop to make food with pots and pans you haven’t found yet, or stopping to go out to eat! And it’s not like you can just skip eating. You need to stay hydrated and keep up your energy!!

First Day Essentials for Moving List

Kitchen:

  • Enough dishes/silverware for each person
  • Cups for each person (or favorite sippy cup)
  • A few kitchen towels (or paper towels/napkins)
  • Dishsoap

Unpacking Supplies:

  • Box cutter
  • Scissors
  • Tools to put your belongings together again (think bed and TV stand/bookcases)
  • Garbage bags
  • Flashlight
  • Air mattress and pump (just in case)
  • Quick Cleaning supplies (clorox wipes)

Bathroom:

  • Shower curtain and rings
  • Loofahs, or wash clothes
  • Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner
  • Towels
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss
  • Diapers/ extra wipes (if you have a child in diapers)
  • Toilet Paper
  • Hand Soap

Items that you had with you on the drive:

  • Phones
  • Chargers
  • Water
  • Food/snacks
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • Travel Mugs (for COFFEE)

Other:

  • Clean sheets (If you plan on setting up the bed the first night)
  • Pillows
  • Enough clothes for a week
  • Laptop (to research new area/inspiration on setting up new home)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Entertainment for kids

If you haven’t even considered planning ahead in this way and packing a first day essentials box/ bags, I hope you have changed your mind by now. Or, maybe you’re just moving down the street and don’t expect to be needing this. Either way, there will still be some items that you will want separate from the rest. Take this list into consideration when moving; omit what you know you won’t need and add in your own personal touch if need be!

Don’t forget to share in the comments what you would pack for your first few nights at your new home.

First Day Essentials for Moving

Related Posts:

How to Pack like a Pro Moving: Cross Country Move

17 Places You Need to Change Your Address When You Move!!

How to Prepare a Young Child for Moving

moving with kids

 How to Prepare a Young Child for Moving

Are you planning on moving soon and have little ones moving with you?

We all know moving is stressful for us adults. But have you thought about your childrens needs and the stress they may be going through?!

If you have, do you know how to break the move to them?

Should you tell them as soon as you’re starting to think about moving, or wait til the very last minute when you’re packing everything up to go, or some where in between?

If you haven’t yet thought about this, now may be a good time to start. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want something this big to be a surprise for my kids. Just like I wouldn’t like to be sprung with this type of surprise, myself!

So, with my experience of moving with 2 kids under 5 years of age, a little over a year ago, and moving from one coast of the U.S. to the other; here’s what I recommend….

Talk about the Move

Children need time to process things, just like we do.

Once you have fully committed to the move, it may be a good idea to start planting the idea in your childrens heads. This way, when you formally tell them, or when they fully realize that they are going to have to say goodbye to their home and friends and family, it won’t come to them as a surprise.

They may also be excited to move when it comes time to, just keep them positive about the move during the entire process!

I know my older daughter was excited for our adventure when it finally came up. She was sad to leave friends and family, and she made sure to tell me this. But, she’s even more excited now that she gets to spend all day with mommy. She was four, by the way.

Luckily for us, this big move of ours was something my husband has been wanting to do for over a year. And we have been discussing it in front of our children before we even knew a date. I believe this helped our four year old mentally prepare for the move before the process of moving even started.

She knew that even if she were to leave her friends, she would be able to make new friends where we were going.

The time she had before the move gave her the opportunity to find out more about the move. She would ask when we were leaving and what fun things would be at the new location. (We know now that there’s a playground here called the Dream Playground; it’s pretty awesome!) She wanted to know if she was still going to have certain toys in her room when we moved and if not then she would miss them. And of course, all of her toys came with us! She even picked out a new ninja turtle pillow to go on her bed at our new home!

Let Them Help

Another step I took that helped with preparing my four year old for the move was letting her help pack. Well, help pack some of her belongings…..

She helped pack her stuffed animals and all of her other toys. We packed them together. We packed some of her toys up a couple of times, before I decided to finally tape up the boxes or tie up the bags with the stuffed animals. She also chose a few things to keep out for the trip, for herself and for her little sister!

Letting children be a part of the moving process helps them feel important, or at least lets them know that they helped, and they already know that helping is a good thing.

If you have a long trip ahead of you to your new place, I would also recommend to allow your children to pick out at least one snack or meal that they like, that is car friendly. Even if you pick out the rest, allowing them some input on what they eat in the car, or at the rest stop, can help them feel even more involved. This helps get them excited about the long drive because then they get to have their special snack. When it comes to moving, it’s always best to keep them involved as much as possible.

Children are very curious, and intelligent, even (especially) at the age of four. They want to know things, everything (my daughter is at the “why” stage). They also like knowing what things will be like, even before they happen. To somewhat prepare themselves for what is to come. For example, when she was three and her sister was born, she was prepared for the event. We let her know everything that would change or stay the same when her sister came into this world. This way she was ready for the change and to welcome her sister into the world with us.

The Younger the Easier

During our big move across the country, our younger daughter was 14 months old. And, what I found out about this age is that they don’t really care all that much about moving. As long they have their immediate family and some toys and food, they are all set!

She was even content on the four day drive across the country. Sure, she fussed a little, but for the most part she was pretty happy. I know this can’t be said for all one year olds, but it’s easier to move when they’re this age than when they get older. They’re still usually happy go lucky at this age!

When they are this young, they don’t tend to have many friends yet, and if they do, they won’t remember them, as sad as that is. If you have family where you are moving from, then it may be a good idea to visit them so your children will remember them. I’m planning on doing this. And my four year old won’t let me forget it. She keeps talking about visiting where we moved from so she can see her grandparents and aunt and uncles. She talks about missing them and what we’re going to do when we go to visit. She’s being very mature about it all.

(We’ve also been skyping them at least every other weekend since we moved! This way my mom and sister can still see my girls grow up, and my girls will still know their extended family!)

Overall, I believe it is best to keep children involved when moving. Letting them help as much as they can and answering any questions they may have. Now, a few quick tips that you can implement!!

Quick Tips

  1.  Let your children know that all their toys and room decor, and bed, and everything else they own will be coming with them!
  2. Let them know they can call friends/family after the move!
  3. Move before they make start school, if possible.
  4. If you are going to visit the area you are moving from, let them know, and let them know when! Just not too early in advance, or they may not stop asking you about it til it happens…..
  5. Keep them involved as much as possible!!

If you’ve ever moved with children, you may know that it could be a struggle and hope that others do not have to struggle. Honestly, with my move and my children, it wasn’t much of a struggle. They actually did not mind all that much. My younger daughter did not care, she was still very little. And, my older daughter acted so grown up about it all. This was due to being honest with her from the beginning and not trying to hide the move from her on any level.

If you have a different opinion, or more quick tips, please share in a comment.

moving with kids

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17 Places You Need to Change Your Address When You Move!!

change address

17 Places You Need to Change Your Address When You Move!!

Moving is stressful.

We all know this. Which is why lists are so helpful; they help combat some of that stress!

Lists help us remember what needs to be done, even if they’re misplaced (possibly by a one of our kids, or maybe our memory is really just going). Either way, we still wrote down what we needed to do, so we’re still more likely to remember what was on them. I’m going to share with you my list for all of the places I needed to update my address for when my family and I moved from one coast of the U.S. to the other!

Seeing as how there are quite a few different reasons for moving, and different types of moves; where you need to update your address for may be slightly different from where I need to update mine.

For my family, we moved about 3,000 miles away; I needed to do a little more than just update my address. Such as finding a new bank, checking out the city library, and getting our licenses for the new state we were in. I still feel kind of new to our home on the west coast. Even though we moved over a year ago. For the first full year we were here, we only had one vehicle, so I was literally stuck home with our girls all day while my husband worked.

First things First

Plan ahead!

The first thing you’ll want to do, before anything else, as far as updating your address goes, would be to put in a request for an address change with your post office. I scheduled this to start about 2 weeks before our move in date for our new home. This way mail would stop going to our old residence and start going to our new home. Simply doing this is not enough, though.

It’s best to notify other places and companies of your move, as well, just to make sure you continue getting your subscriptions or any other important mail going to your new address, instead of the old one. (Important mail like W-2’s. Which took me a good two months of sending emails and playing phone tag with my prior employer to get them to update my mailing address in their system.)

For example, you’ll want to notify the electric and/or heating company you use of your move a few weeks ahead of time. Just in case they need to physically come out to read the meter for you final bill. Depending on the time of year, the scheduling may already be a week or so out for a technician to come out.

You may also want to contact your new electric and heating company to make sure that services are turned on before you get to your new home. Who wants to be unpacking in the dark? I know I wouldn’t have. When we finally got to our new home it was already dark out, and it was cold and raining. We didn’t even start unpacking til the morning. Luckily, our air mattress was easily accessible, along with our blankets…and the girls favorite stuffed animals!!

Along the same lines, you’ll also want to contact the cable/home phone/ internet provider. It can take quite awhile to cancel this type of account, and sometimes just as long to have it turned on. Believe me, I used to work for cable company (the prior employer I was talking about, who took 2 months to update my address). The same cable company that took three weeks to set up internet at the home I left on the east coast. It also took about three weeks to close out my account after I canceled it and returned all of the equipment….

For our current internet provider, we only had to go 3 days without internet. And, the only reason we had to wait this long is because we missed our appointment, which was scheduled for the first day we were there. My husband had called and scheduled weeks in advance. If we weren’t stuck at the top of a mountain for 4 hours on  our last day of driving, then we would have had internet within hours after arriving. And, if my husband hadn’t called every day to try to get a technician to our home as soon as possible, we would’ve gone almost a week without internet, and I would’ve missed an amazing webinar that I was looking forward to. My husband is wonderful, he makes sure everything works out for us!!

More Planning Ahead!!

Another item on the list to plan ahead for; updating your address with doctors, dentists, and schools, especially if you have children. If you’re moving out of town, or out of state, you’ll have to do some research and find new doctors and dentists, that accept your insurance…. Remember to read reviews of the offices and the doctors/dentists themselves. Or, if you know people in the area, ask if they have any recommendations, that would be ideal!

Also, if you have school aged children you’ll need to make sure you contact both the old school and the new school your child(ren) will be transferring to, to make sure everything is ready to go when it’s time for your child’s first day at the new school! Luckily for me, my daughters were too young for kindergarten when we moved, so no hassle with contacting two different school districts.

Another thing you may need to plan ahead for may be updating your address at work. Especially if you are ending your employment with your current employer and seeking new employment. You will want to make sure anything mailed to you from your old work will actually get to you. Not the people who are taking over your old home.

This could prove to be very important. Especially if the employer you are leaving mails out your last paycheck instead of leaving the direct deposit alone. My former employer told me the last paycheck would be mailed to me and it was direct deposited. Chances are, if I was misinformed of this, others could be misinformed of the opposite. So, just to be on the safe side, make sure you update your address.

Next on the List and After the Move

The next thing you may want to think about when changing your address would be to make sure you have cell service at your new home. If you won’t, see if there’s either a way your carrier provides to increase signal strength, such as a micro-cell. Or, you may need to consider another company.

On this same note, check out the businesses in your new area, if it is a new area…. You’ll want to find out what grocery stores and restaurants they have to offer. I unfortunately did not do this well enough before moving. I realized half way to our destination that dunkin donuts is not everywhere. That was a huge, disappointing surprise. The last one I saw on our way out was in Wisconsin…and they didn’t make my last iced coffee right…So, it’s better to research this ahead of time to not be as disappointed when it comes to reality.

After all of the address changes you make before the move and researching the new area you’re moving to; there are also some places you may not be able to update your address for til after you move. This includes changing your address on your license and registration for you vehicle. Or, if you are moving out of state like I did, you will have to get a new license and new license plates for you vehicle.

If you would like my non-exhaustive list of places to change your address, it is right below.

Change of Address List

  • Post Office
  • Bank (may need to switch banks)
  • Anywhere you have a loan
  • Credit Card Companies
  • Electric/ Heating Company
  • Internet/Cable/Phone
  • Garbage/ Water/ Sewer
  • Doctors/ Dentists
  • Children’s School
  • Gym
  • Work (& deal with ending employment/ starting employment, or transfer)
  • Cellphone Carrier
  • Any Online Account you would like to update (especially any account you purchase items on, such as Amazon or the Disney Movie Club)
  • Any Subscriptions you may have
  • All types of Insurance
  • Driver’s License
  • Vehicle Registration/ License Plates(if moving out of state)

And, I’m sure there may be more, depending on where you’re moving to/from and the reasons for your move.

There is so much that needs to be done for a successful move; whether it be across town or across the country! Use this list to help reduce the stress that you’re bound to put on yourself during this time of chaos in your life!

Subscribe below to get access to a printable library to help you stress less and be healthy; plus, a printable version of this list is available there, as well!!

 

Don’t forget to comment and let me know if I’m forgetting anything!

change address

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The Complete Cross Country Road Trip Packing List (with kids)!

How to Pack like a Pro Moving: Cross Country Move


cross country road trip packing list

The Complete Cross Country Road Trip Packing List (with kids)!

About a year or so ago, I had to pack for a cross country trip. I know, that doesn’t sound very exciting, but it wasn’t just any old trip; my family moved from one coast of the U.S. to the other. Myself, my husband, and my two little girls.

It was quite an adventure…and I love making lists, so of course I have a list of everything I planned on packing for inside our car for the trip over. For our four day trip!!!

And since the trip is now complete, I also have the knowledge of what we actually used and what simply took up valuable space, and space was valuable….I had bananas on my lap for some reason during the whole trip and no foot space (no one wanted to eat bananas…).

The LIST

I will start off with the list I made myself of stuff to pack for the ride from coast to coast for my family of four. This will include basically clothes and food for 3 to 5 days, which is the length of time I expected this journey to take. (Good guess, right?)

Clothes

  • 5 outfits per person (includes shirts, pants, socks, underwear, etc.)
  • 2-3 sets of pj’s per person

Miscellaneous

  • diapers and wipes (for my one year old at the time)
  • paper towels
  • thermometer/ bandaids (or basically, a whole first aid kit)
  • plastic bags for garbage in car
  • plastic bag for clothes that will need to be washed after trip
  • chapstick(so important, couldn’t live without my burt’s bees chapstick on this trip)
  • hand lotion for dry hands
  • ziplock bags
  • hand sanitizer
  • blankets
  • pillows
  • stuffed animals/ dolls
  • toys/ tablet

Bathroom Bag

Food and Drinks

  • water
  • gatorade
  • premade shelf stable coffees
  • peanut butter
  • jam
  • bread
  • cereal
  • bananas
  • cliff bars or other types of similar bars
  • crackers
  • cheese
  • pretzels
  • cute packaged snack packs for kids with fruit and pretzels/cheese
  • home made muffins/ healthy cookies(or muffins from wegmans)
  • toddler squeezable packets
  • goldfish crackers
  • peanuts/cashews

This may look like a lot, but in reality, when it’s all packed up, it’s not really a lot, at all. Although, it also was not followed exactly how I planned it, either. For example, the cute snack pack things for kids with the fruit and cheese and pretzels or crackers were more expensive than what it showed online. So, I just bought packs of pre cut apples, a whole bag of pretzels (which lasted a whole week after the move, my girls loved them), cheese sticks, and grapes. I also didn’t buy peanuts or cashews, but we did fine without those. Other than those, everything else was packed(except for pillows, we didn’t have room for those, now we have comfier ones).

What Did Not Work

Like I mentioned before, I not only made the lists and pack, but my adventure of being in the car for 4 days(…and stuck at the top of a mountain for 4 hours on the last day with everyone needing to use the restroom) is now over!

So, let me tell you what didn’t work from my lists!

As for the clothes, it’s not that there was anything wrong with the clothes, I just over packed. We also could’ve done some more decluttering of our stuff, because even after getting rid of half our belongings, all of our stuff still didn’t fit in the trailer we rented. Some of it had to ride over in the vehicle with us! Which is why we didn’t have a lot of space, and I had no foot space. (I did, thankfully, have more space than I did 5 years ago when we moved from New York to Florida….you don’t want to know.)

So, that cute diaper bag I had packed with mine and the girls clothes in it for our first hotel stop; we didn’t find it til we hit our final destination. I also couldn’t find the duffle bag that I packed our clothes in til the second night we stopped. Our stops at hotels weren’t very long, either; just long enough for my husband and I to sleep for a few hours and shower.

diaper bag

Plan for a bigger mess than you expect

So, the clothes list was good.

The bathroom bag was good.

Most of the miscellaneous stuff was good.

And, some of the food choices were good.

One thing not on the list that we brought for the girls however may have been a mistake…we brought crayons and a coloring book for our 4 year old (at the time). It kept her busy like it should have, pages were colored and crayons were broken. That was to be expected. What wasn’t expected was her sharing it with her little sister and having every single page of the coloring book torn into thousands of little pieces….. This took about a week to clean out of our vehicle! That was really the only thing from the miscellaneous list that didn’t work out as planned. Oh, and we also didn’t need the thermometer or first aid kit! Always good to be prepared though.

The Food.

Some of the food worked fine, other food did not. I thought bananas would be a good idea; I thought wrong. Sure, they may seem easy; they use their own skin as a wrapper, they aren’t messy if eaten correctly. Then I realized, after packing them in the safest place in the vehicle (and the only place they would fit without squishing) my lap, that I have a 4 year old and a 1 year old! How could I ever expect them to not make a total mess if I handed them back bananas?

bananas, cross country trip list

So, from fear of having a huge mess in the back seat and having it smell like bananas for the next few months; no one ate the bananas. They then became a hassle, as I decided to put them on the dashboard. Every turn made or sudden stop, there came the bananas!

They flew at me, they flung themselves toward me, there was no escaping from the bananas, for 4 days….. My warning to you, don’t bring bananas unless you either have older children who won’t make a mess or you have a place to put them that won’t drive anyone crazy! (My mom also made us banana bread for the way over, which is in the foil in the picture above; that, we did eat on the way over!)

Another food item that didn’t work out as planned was ingredients to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Like my diaper bag, the bread was also no where to be found until everything was unpacked. And when it was unpacked, it was also very squished and unusable.

Note to self, next time we pack for a trip, I’m the one who’s going to be the person to pack the car before we leave. I’m the type of person who needs to know where things are, I don’t like these horrible surprises of not knowing where something is that I need. It’s not, and it wasn’t, a good feeling. We got through it, and we only stopped maybe twice for food and twice for coffee. The coffee was another struggle though, at least after we left Wisconsin. No more dunkin donuts… 🙁

What Worked

But enough about the struggles of the list. Let me tell you what you want to hear, and what you probably came to this list for; what actually worked from the list, so you know what to pack.

Like I said before, the clothes portion worked, I simply over packed. I’d rather over pack than under pack. Just make sure to bring clothes for different seasons….

During our journey, at the end of February, the first day we were on the road it was actually in the 70’s!! It was hard to believe, luckily we packed the girls in their seats without any jackets and my youngest in short sleeves. My older daughter was in long sleeves and wanted to take her shirt off! By night though, it was back in the 30’s, and the rest of the trip was back to winter. This is where the blankets were great to have in the vehicle! The girls, and myself didn’t have to wear our winter jackets, yet we stayed nice and cozy warm.

Toys

I already said a little about what works for keeping small children happy and entertained. But, ripping up coloring books didn’t take up 4 entire days. It may have taken up two though. (It’s also not what anyone would probably want to do, at least now knowing what happens!)

We also brought my older daughters tablet with games on it that did not require wifi. This is a big one to know when planning on bringing a childs tablet that runs off wifi and not data. Highways DO NOT have wifi, plan accordingly! If that means downloading games that don’t run on wifi before the trip, then do it. I planned on doing this and wasn’t able to find the time to do so, and our trip turned out fine. My daughter played some of the games pre loaded into her tablet.

This may not be so important for younger children, but it may be for older children. If you have older children who download their own games; it may be a good idea to tell them this, so that they are not in for a rude awakening when they can’t play their favorite game because they need the internet for it.

Other toys that worked well were any toys that made noise, for my one year old. Such as the baby computers or talking books. Stuffed animals were another big one. Just make sure you bring multiple special stuffed animals for your children, especially if they a young like mine. My children seemed to want the same stuffed animal though, so they had to share. In case you want to know, they both wanted to hold the small cat beanie baby that their uncle had given my one year old before we left.

Diapers

Diapers and wipes are kind of obvious if you have one still in diapers. Just pack a whole bag of diapers, it’s easier that way. The wipes came in handy for not only messy diapers, but sticky hands, as well, when the paper towels didn’t work. The plastic bags for garbage came in handy too, we just used the small plastic bags that groceries get packed in, the same ones we used to pack breakable in (we were on a tight budget). I didn’t think to grab more than a few though, and more would’ve been better, especially with little ones!

Water and Food

Alright, last thing I’m going to give you a tip on is the food, again.

Water was a big win! I bought a 35 pack of water, there may have been one or two bottles left by the time we got to our new home. Same with the gatorade.

The pre made coffee drinks, starbucks frappuccinos in a bottle didn’t make it past the second day, I really wish I had more than just four of those. Hint, hint, if you need caffeine, or coffee, might not be a bad idea to stock up on these or other shelf stable caffeinated drinks. We don’t drink energy drinks, I haven’t since before I became pregnant with my older daughter, but coffee is still an essential part of mine and my husbands diet!

As for food, we did have to stop for food twice, not where I wanted to; I actually didn’t even eat anything when we did stop. But, it kept my husband and girls happy. Other than stopping to eat, we pretty much just ate snacks the whole trip. We had pretzels, grapes, apple slices, muffins, goldfish, cheerios, etc. This kept us full and gave the girls something to do, other than color, rip paper, and sleep.

We SURVIVED

All in all, we survived four days in the car together driving from one coast to the other, thanks to my lists! And now, the next time we travel a long distance, such as to visit family, I will have a better, more refined list of what we will need in the car, and make improvement if need be! (Like, not bringing bananas!)

I hope these lists will help you and your family on your next adventure!

If you have any other tips or lists, or anything I forgot to mention, please comment below and let me know. We’re all here to work together, and there may be something I didn’t include, but you and your family couldn’t travel without, and I’m sure other families wouldn’t be able to live without it either.

cross country road trip packing list

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How to Pack like a Pro Moving: Cross Country Move

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 How to Pack like a Pro Moving

How to Pack like a Pro Moving: Cross Country Move

Moving is a stressful time. Add a child to the picture and the stress multiplies. Add two or more and you may feel like you’re in over your head!

But, you’ve got this. You can handle anything, you’re a mom, remember! And that’s just what us mom’s do; we handle situations when they come up, and if need be, turn into SUPER MOM’S.

I originally wrote this while getting ready for a big cross country move with my husband and two girls. All the way from one coast of the U.S. to the other coast. Approximately 3000 miles of driving. To be exact 2898 miles on the road with a one year old and a four year.

I know, I know, some of you may be thinking why in the world would I be doing this to myself? And, the answer is that my husband was planning on going back to school in the fall and wanted to work in a national park.

This would give me opportunities, as well. It obviously gave me the opportunity to write about moving and help you in case you are planning a move, too!

In this post and my next couple posts I will provide tips and hints to make your moving experience more pleasant than my own. Aren’t you lucky!!

Make LISTS!!

Yes!! I love lists and being organized and things like that. And, how can you even start to think about moving without lists?!? It’s pretty much impossible!!

This was going to be a fun family trip for us! At least my four year will be able to remember parts of it. We’ll take tons of pictures to help remind us of it. And to show my little one year old when she’s older so she can see just how it was that we came to live on the west coast when she was born on the east coast. I know it won’t be something easily forgotten!

And to help us not forget anything important from the east coast, that we wouldn’t be able to live without, like a blankie or a favorite stuffed animal; I have kept organized. I have my lists that I oh so love.

Now, most of our packing is done, just everyday essentials left. But, let me tell you how it is; how packing should really be done. Just in case you haven’t moved in awhile or are stressing out because you have no idea where to even start. And be forewarned, I LOVE LISTS!

Declutter

Before you even start thinking about packing, you need to start decluttering. I would recommend to start this vital step ASAP! Like, as soon as you find out that there’s a possibility to be moving. Plus, life is just so much less stressful and more fulfilling when you actually have less stuff. It can be quite amazing, actually!

If you don’t already attempt on a regular basis to get rid of unneeded items, start now!! This is your sign!!

You know the items in your home that just take up space and drain your energy; get rid of ’em! Now would be the best time to start. Or at least do this as soon as you find out that you’re going to be moving. Believe me, it will help reduce stress and be easier to pack when you are free of items that you do not need or love. If you don’t even know where to begin to declutter, read this.

I had a whole room dedicated to items that we needed to get rid of from our home before packing, and no joke- the room was almost full; such a relief to get rid of it all!

This will most likely be an ongoing process during packing…..and through out life in general. I already know I will get rid of more clutter after the move. If it doesn’t have a home in our new home then out it goes, no need to keep something that doesn’t have a place to be.

Read How to Keep a Clutter Free Home!! if you need help figuring out how to keep the clutter and unneeded items out of your home!

It’s best to have belongings you love and that bring you joy, and that has its own place in your home; than to just have ‘stuff’. It truly is a freeing feeling! Just make sure you know what to do with stuff you are getting rid of. Whether it be selling it (know where you can sell it), donating it, or throwing it out. You need a plan for it, not just a place to store it!

Packing Supplies

After you declutter, or maybe just when you’re ready to actually start packing things up (cause you’ll probably never really be done decluttering). The next step you will want to take will be gathering packing supplies.

What you need will depend a lot on your style and how organized you want to be. But, the basics are boxes, packing tape, and something to wrap breakables in so they won’t break. To keep your head on during the whole moving process you should probably also grab a sharpie to write on the boxes to describe what is in each one, or at least what room they will belong in. If you want to go all out then you should grab:

  • packing tape
  • sturdy boxes/ bins
  • colored index cards (different color for each room)
  • sharpie
  • tape for colored index cards to stay on the boxes/above door of room they belong in for new home
  • list of all our items in each box with a piece of colored tape at the top (printed and whole punched into our “move” binder that we all love because it helps keep us sane)
  • bubble wrap for breakables(or lots of plastic bags that you somehow end up having hundreds of anyways, or some type of clothe/tissues/paper towels, anything that will help prevent items from breaking. Be creative here, packing supplies can get pricey, and if you’re like me then you may not want to spend a lot of your moving budget on packing supplies; renting a moving truck or trailer is expensive enough!!)
  • garbage bags- for clothing (that aren’t packed into dressers) or stuffed animals(because we all know our kids have about three hundred of these and its easier to squeeze these into the trailer, or back of our vehicles when in bags rather than in boxes)

What to pack when

Once you have your packing supplies, you can start packing up needed belongings. But, start with the items you won’t need til after the move. And, it is perfectly alright if all you have is the basics for you packing supplies. Sometimes it’s not practical to go all out! Even if you would love to; things get in the way, and it can be difficult sometimes to be that organized if you have a time restraint, or kids!!

The first items you should pack will include any holiday décor, clothes you wear in a different season, any decorations you may own, yes, even the ones that are out now!! No one is going to care if your house isn’t beautifully decorated while you’re in the process of packing up all your belongings. Unless, of course, if you’re trying to sell your home, then these may need to wait til a later date to be packed up.

Also, pack up anything in the kitchen that you’re not specifically planning on using again until after the move.

The kitchen (the heart of the home…and the most difficult room to pack up)

If you’re anything like me, then the kitchen is going to be the hardest room to pack!!

My number 1 tip, if you do any type of baking at all; leave out a baking sheet!! I can’t even count the number of times I had to unpack and repack mine because I thought I was done using it. Or, if yours are old, you could always just buy new for your new home, they’re cheap enough to do so. I didn’t, and now, even a year after moving, I still wish I had bought new ones!

Honestly, all I have left out  til about a week before our big move was enough dishes/silverware for four, the coffee pot, toaster, microwave, necessary utensils, pots/pans, and of course our food!

All other kitchen items had been packed up. Even my nutribullet that I love and have used almost everyday since I got it, was packed. This type of packing could be done around a month or so before the big move. Really, how often do you use a whisk or your crockpot? Ok, YOU may use your crockpot often, but I don’t. So, away it goes into a box with other ‘like’ items that belong in the new kitchen in our new home.

You get the idea. And same goes for every other room in the house.

Pack Room by Room

To go room by room usually makes the most sense. Even if you aren’t going all out with organizing your packing, you are least going to want to keep all items in a single box from the same room. Or, packed with items that will be in the same room at your new home! Seeing as how the number of rooms from old home to new home may differ. Our move is having us downsize! Going from a large four bedroom farm home with plenty of storage, and a creepy basement I never even step foot in (and mice that were impossible to get rid of- one of which destroyed my favorite robe), to a two bedroom home with not a lot of storage space.

It will be soo nice to just let go of all the items we don’t need or love. This is the push my family needed to declutter, and I am welcoming it with open arms!!

Less stuff = less stress, smaller home = easier and faster to clean!

Finally, I won’t need to spend days to get my home clean after one week of work! I won’t need to spend hours cleaning the kitchen in the morning after I worked all night long. I won’t have to do dishes everyday for at least an hour; thanks to finally having a dishwasher again when we get to our new home. Such a relief. I am looking forward to being able to spend more time with my girls doing what they want to do, and less time cleaning our home. I am thankful for that!!

Start Packing up Stored Items (if you’re keeping them!)

And to bring us back from that tangent; if you have any storage rooms, you may want to start packing up all items you can from there. Or better yet, go through the stuff and get rid of what you can, first!

After storage rooms, I packed my stuff from our bedroom up next (my husband packed up his own stuff in his own boxes). First I packed all of my belongings from the top of my dresser; I can live a few weeks without jewelry and make up/ hair stuff. It’s not like I even use any of it very often anyways, just some items I love and an eyeliner. If you haven’t gone through these items in a while; make sure all jewelry you are keeping is in good condition and no make up/ hair stuff is expired. If so, they will become fast friends with your garbage!

Next, you may want to pack up any books/movies you have. Especially the movies that have digital copies, you will still be able to watch your favorite movie when it’s already packed up. What a genius idea!!

Keep on Packing, keep on packing…..

Keep the process going and pack up everything you can from every room, and don’t forget about getting rid of clutter along the way!

Another tip, don’t even bother packing up all the kids toys til you absolutely need to; they will find a way to get into them! I must have packed up toys at least 10 times before the boxes were taped shut and put into the room with our ‘done and ready to go’ boxes. And, my girls still had some of their toys out til moving day, but not as many. Basically, just the toys that they brought in the vehicle with us for the trip.

My husband and I had a similar amount of personal items left out til the end, as well. Mine consisted of a cute little black basket that I have all my planning supplies/writing supplies in, along with my laptop. As for clothes, we had season appropriate clothing out. Whatever that meant for the time of year it was….we had snow storms a few weeks before our move, where I didn’t even want to drive, and then it was in the 50’s!!

 

You will Need to plan a little (or a lot!)

As you get closer to the move date you will need to start planning the actual trip! How exciting is that?!

I started planning the trip AT LEAST a month in advance. But, then again, I like my lists, and I like them to be as complete as possible. And, I was working 3pm to midnight at a call center, it usually wasn’t too busy after 10pm or so; so I needed something to pass the time, just in case my co-workers were on calls when I wasn’t. I probably wrote a couple duplicates of my lists, but that’s ok. You will need at least a few lists. Such as:

  • a list for stuff to pack in the vehicle with you
  • items you need to buy before the move
  • items you will need to buy after the move
  • a ‘first’ grocery list for you new home
  • a list of everywhere/bill/office or person you need to change your address for
  • things you need to do before you leave your current home(repairs if renting)
  • things to do when you get to the new home
  • setting up appointments for utilities/internet to be turned on at new home (can’t live without that internet)
  • planning out how to move everything into your new home when you get there (we planned on buying a gate and keeping our kids in their room so we could both bring things in)

The lists goes on, but those are the major lists/plans that are absolutely necessary for a big move. I left the navigation and the ‘how to get there’ up to my husband. He’s the one who drives.

Just one more list….

I was side tracked again by my list. But, they are a life saver, especially when running off of little sleep and a poor memory and kids running around. Yes, even my one year old was running around like her older sister, creating chaos like little tornadoes. She started walking around a little before she was 9 months old! And I could go on forever with my lists. But I will end my lists, for this post anyways, with just one more…..then back to packing like a pro!

Items to gather closer to the actual move date:

  • plastic bags for garbage
  • garbage bag for clothes that are worn during the trip that will need to be washed when we get to our new home
  • reusable shopping bags for food and drinks for the trip
  • duffle bags/ suitcases for clothes and hygiene items for the trip
  • bag for kid chosen items for the trip
  • first aid kit, along with other emergency prepared items that may be needed

*If you want a complete list of what to pack for the trip, if you have a big move, check that out here!!

Live out of boxes for a week or so

Alright, so back to packing as promised. Get ready for the toughest part, wanting to be done packing but still needing to use your stuff!!

The best way to go around this obstacle is to pack up everything and live out of boxes for a week. Make sure you pack your bags for your trip and store in a place where the kids won’t get into them! That way you’ll be all ready to go when it’s time. Just a couple of quick boxes to pack and then onto the truck or trailer.

It may be easiest  eating wise to not do anything fancy, and if possible to use disposable dishes/cutlery this week. But in all seriousness, I didn’t! Remember me, with no dishwasher in the home I’m leaving; easy enough to just quickly wash a dish or two. What I did do though, was pack up all but one of each item per person. So, each person had one bowl, one plate, one spoon/fork, and one cup out. This doesn’t include our water bottles and coffee mugs.

Stop buying groceries

By this time you will have to have all your food out of the cupboards and hopefully almost all gone as well. Anything not eaten up, should be given to friends or family who can use it. If it hasn’t been opened yet or doesn’t need refrigeration then you might as well bring it with you. Cold or opened items are to be left. We started to use up our food about a month or two before our expected move date. This is necessary to prevent wasting food, plus it will save you money and force you to be a little creative.

Only buy what you need and shape meals around what you already have! This should be a no brainer, it’s part of how many people meal plan and prep already, to save money; works even better when you have more stress on you to use up your stock of food!

Final Notes

And there you have it. How to pack like a pro!

Start by getting rid of things you don’t need or love. Gather packing supplies, and then pack up everything you own from least used to most used!

Please comment below and let me know if I forgot anything, we are all human you know, and mom’s…with possibly poor memory. Seriously, my lists are need be things that I could not live without! Tell me what’s on your list for How to Pack like a Pro Moving.

How to Pack like a Pro Moving

Related Posts:

The Complete Cross Country Road Trip Packing List (with kids)!

17 Places You Need to Change Your Address When You Move!!

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