The Big Move | 3. Making Things Easier

Moving is hard on everyone — whether it is just you, your spouse, your kids, or even the pets! Here are some ways to make moving easier and hopefully more fun.

Making moving fun for your kids (and you!)

Having kids makes moving a bit harder but getting them involved can create all sorts of wonderful memories. 

Let Kids Help You House Hunt 

Show your kids the spaces you are interested in and get their feedback. They may surprise you!

Throw a Goodbye Party

A goodbye party is a great way to help everyone process the change. It can be a simple affair with loved ones and snacks.

Make Packing Fun

Packing games make moving fun for everybody. Play a game of iSpy around the house. Do a mini scavenger hunt. Play basketball with stuffed animals and a suitcase. Have a 2 minute race to pack a treasure box with favourite toys and goodies (see Prepare a treasure box below).

Prepare a treasure box

Having a treasure box to keep close during the move helps create a sense of security and comfort. Maybe it has some favourite books, blankets, toys, comfy sweaters, or sippy cups. Whatever it is, having it in the car, truck, or plane during the trip can be a huge help.

Take a Farewell Tour

A walk, bike, or drive around your neighbourhood can be a chance to take a last mental snapshot of your community. Giving your kids a chance to say their goodbyes is a healthy way to make what can be difficult, fun. 

Map out their new rooms

If your kids are old enough, they may even want to plan out their own room. Some fun ways to do this:

  • Cut construction paper into furniture shapes and draw their room shape out on a piece of paper. Slide the pieces around until they find the right layout.
  • A simple crayons/colouring pencils/markers and paper is another great option, draw out the room shape and let them go for it!

You can even go as far as picking out some paint chips and looking at bedding together online or in store. This helps your kids get excited about the move and can help them process their feelings.

Make a moving box fort

Making a fort out of cardboard is a great way to enjoy the packing process. Create a tunnel out of cardboard, a cool fort for a movie night on a laptop, or a fun little reading nook. The opportunities are endless with this extremely versatile construction material!

Pick out some donation items together

Have your kid(s) pick out a handful of items to donate, this is a great learning experience and the perfect way to make the toy box a little lighter.

Make a playlist

Many great family memories come from belting out some of your favourite tunes, even if it is only the Wiggles. Make a family playlist that has a little something for everyone so you can sing at the top of your lungs or shake off the moving stress. 

Making moving easier on your pets

Getting comfortable with moving supplies

A couple of weeks, even up to a month, before moving, leave out some moving supplies. Things like moving boxes (which your cat will probably love!) are great to leave out to explore and get comfortable with before your house is covered in them. 

Keep a routine

Even when the chaos of moving sets in, try to keep feeding times, walks, and play time as normal as possible. 

Get the zoomies out

Keeping a normal exercise routine is important but adding in longer walks, fetch games, and other activities can help keep your dogs anxiety levels down. For cats, this could mean more stimulation in the form of a feather stick or catnip. 

Set up a quiet spot for retreat

When your living space begins to get even more chaotic and typical spaces of comfort start to get crowded or are taken away completely, try to set up a safe space for your pet. For your dog this could be a crate or bed, for a cat this could mean packing the cat tree last. 

Make use of anxiety aids

Many anxiety aids are available for pets — consult your vet on what may be right for your pet.

Removed from the move

If possible, the best option is to take your pet to a space where they can be completely removed from the moving situation. Do you have a place you typically take them when you go on vacation? A friend, family member, or even a kennel may be an option. There are even doggie day cares in some towns which could be a safe and stimulating space to be away from the action. 

Special toys and scents

Keeping items close by that smell like home helps make the move a little more familiar. Don’t wash some blankets, pillow cases, beds or toys so they can have some items that smell like home for the move and once they arrive in their new space. 

Treat yourself to a clean slate with a purge

To make the move easier for you and to make it a cathartic experience, collecting unused or less used items to bring for donation or to throw out is a great way to lessen your mental (and moving) load. 

There are plenty of cleaning and organisational gurus out there but they all follow similar principles. 

  1. Start with your clothes. Keep in mind the weather in your new city or town.
  2. Books are one of the heaviest items to move, and as med students, we know you have a lot! ​​You can throw away 90% of your preclinical textbooks and toss or digitise 99% of your preclinical notes. Everything you need in residency will be clinically focused. Keep only the essentials. Sell what you can for extra cash.
  3. Now go through the rest. Is it time to buy new silverware? Donate or sell the old stuff. That old idea cabinet slowly falling apart? Time to part with it. 
  4. Create a box for special items, perhaps of sentimental value or of financial value. This can also help you filter through some items that you may be holding onto but realize you don’t actually need.

The bottom line is, like Marie Kondo says, if it doesn’t “spark joy” it can go. 

A little extra effort upfront can go a long way. Planning for your kids, your pets, and yourself ahead of time can save a lot of stress and can lighten the moving load, literally! Any ideas we missed? Comment below some of your moving or de-stressing tips.

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