I can hardly believe it, but we’re down to less than a week before moving day. I’m overwhelmed and excited and sad, all at once. OVEREXCITAD. (What? It’s a legitimate condition that requires frequent medicinal dosings of Bagel Crisps.)

Listen, I have some questions for you, should you feel like offering some advice.

• For 10 years, we’ve been in this house. Two remodels, two children (projects that are nearly equal in expense and stress, I must say), countless days sitting in the yard and enjoying our cozy little yellow house. I’m eager to see what adventures await us, but I’m terribly bittersweet about saying goodbye. Do you have any ideas for capturing mementos of a home? I’ve taken a bunch of photos, of course, but … I don’t know, maybe rip out a chunk of the foundation so I can scrapbook it into a I’M JUST KIDDING but seriously, any thoughts?

• Riley’s last day of school is on Friday—he’s leaving about a month before the school year ends, and I’d like to send something into class to mark the occasion. Usually birthdays are celebrated with cupcakes or similar treats, and that seems like the easiest way to go, but, well, any other ideas that don’t involve me spending $500 (there are around 26 kids in class) or cooking anything (because 1) NO and 2) all my kitchen shit has now been wedged in like 45 different boxes that are all helpfully labeled KITCHEN)?

• Do you have tips, in general, for move day? I’m thinking I should put the stuff we’ll want right away (IE, all the stuff that has yet to be packed now, like frequently-used clothes, toiletries, toys, and the coffeemaker) in special boxes so I can unpack those right away, right? Can the cat just be wedged in a cat carrier for the drive down (5 hours or so)? We have some movers hired to help us load the truck, should we also hire helpers to unload or does that part tend to go a little easier?

• Do you have any Xanax I can borrow because honestly these Bagel Crisps only do so much?


123 Responses to “Crunch time”

  1. Jess on May 21st, 2012 3:14 pm

    We moved a lot as a kid, and since having kids we’ve moved with them nine times. My oldest is 8. Poor kid.

    We always, ALWAYS leave our mark. We all get a crayon, and on the inside of a closet or a cabinet (where the new owners won’t find it right away), we all write our names. Something about leaving a tiny part of ourselves always made the transition easier.

    Whenever we move with our kids, I pack a suitcase just like if we’re vacationing. Towels, a couple outfits, toiletries, a set of sheets. That way, we have all the basics with us, and not on the moving truck.

  2. Jennifer on May 21st, 2012 3:20 pm

    I’m thinking you’ll be overwhelmed looking at all the “helpful” advice, but it’s fun to pile on so:

    Cat advice: I drove from Boulder CO to Bellingham WA (~1500 miles) with 2 absolutely HOWLING cats in the largest dog carrier I could fit into my car (so I could put litter box in it). Compared to that trip, 5 hours for Callie in a carrier will be cake.

    My vet gave me a “kitty valium” tablet for them ahead of time, I don’t really know if it did any good. Maybe it helped THEM forget about the trip later. Also: take food away from her starting the evening (at least 12 hours or so) before you leave. She’ll try to “hold it” the whole time she’s in the carrier but may not be able to quite make it if she’s been eating up until departure time. Then as soon as you get to new house, put her into an out of the way bathroom or room that won’t be opened/closed too much, with her favorite wet food and a cat bed.

    And – please, PLEASE drive with her in the car/cab with you — not packed away in a UHaul.

  3. Jessica on May 21st, 2012 3:57 pm

    I hear that you can take a photo of your house and find an artist on Etsy to make a hand drawn copy/print of it, which would be lovely framed.

  4. Jo_Ro on May 21st, 2012 4:44 pm

    Get some of those gummy’s that whole foods sells in tubs back in the bakery – those went over at my kids school WELL. Two of them was about 10 bucks and the kids got enough & my kid liked passing them out.

    As for hiring movers on your arrival end – YES. You want helpers.

    I put a post in craigslist (under the for sale part “wanted”) and paid them each 100 bucks. Well spent. Good luck!

  5. EmilysHollow on May 21st, 2012 5:00 pm

    Not like you don’t have a gazillion comments to go through, but some thoughts:

    Yes to hiring unloading help – it’ll allow you to just focus on unpacking/organizing.

    I love the above idea of taking the house numbers! I can still see the script of the numbers from my childhood home and wish we had done something like that.

    Popsicles for the class – cheap and I don’t know a single kid who doesn’t like popsicles.

    For unpacking, I recommend getting some cheap-o “new” toys for the boys to keep them busy once you get there. Outdoor toys would be ideal.

  6. TheRachelSyn on May 21st, 2012 7:36 pm

    I think those Young House Love-rs also have some sort of framed key deal going on – you know, like frame the key of the house you’re leaving in a shadow box?

    When we moved last time I packed the essentials in 2 clear plastic tubs, which were easy to spot amongst all the cardboard boxes, etc. $15 well spent (and reusable in the house once you get there for whatever, of course).

  7. Stacy on May 21st, 2012 7:40 pm

    Best wishes for your new life in Oregon!

    This may have already been mentioned, but as someone who moved many times with a cat, I suggest that you take a few old towels that you don’t care about and a garbage bag, and put one of the towels in the bottom of her cat carrier, so that if she does have an accident, it’s somewhat contained. When you stop for breaks, if she’s wet the towel, replace it with a clean one and put the dirty one in the garbage bag until you get to your new place. To most cats, a ride in the car means either: 1) going to the vet, or 2) moving, and as far as these two things are concerned, it’s not fun times, so it’s pee-ville to share their thoughts on the matter.

  8. Gwen on May 21st, 2012 9:49 pm

    Cat can be in the carrier for the drive (we drove 13 hours with ours, although not in a carrier! He was pretty cool the whole time) they do have some “kitteh xanax” that you can ask a vet for or ask about at Petco/Petsmart. However, be warned..there are some cats that hate car rides so much that they POOP IN THE CARRIER. Which just all around sucks. Maybe you should do some trial drives, just to see how she reacts to riding in the car.

  9. Sandi Kyle on May 22nd, 2012 5:08 am

    We just moved a few months ago and my kids are the same age.

    As weird as it may sound, I wrote our last name and the years we lived in the house on the inside of a linen closet (not where it could ever be seen by anyone) and I took a small plant out and replanted it at our new house. It was small enough to not be a complete pain in the ass.

    Good luck and yes! Have movers unload for you!

  10. lumpyheadsmom on May 22nd, 2012 6:58 am

    Oh Christ, yes, hire unloading help.

    I took the children elsewhere while my husband directed the move-in. He labeled each room (your living room might be that guy’s family room or den – so an 8.5×11 piece of paper with “PLAYROOM” scrawled on it and taped to the door turns out to be incredibly helpful)and stood outside, telling the movers where each box went as it came off the truck.

  11. Rachel on May 22nd, 2012 7:53 am

    I don’t have any advice to add. I just want to wish you luck!

    I’ve been reading for years and one thing I love is that you always seem to be just ahead of me on major life events like having kids and thinking through job changes and moving. Reading about your experiences always helps me think about and prepare for my own. Thanks so much for your blog!

  12. Cherie Beyond on May 22nd, 2012 7:54 am

    It’s a bad time of year for this, but if you have gardens you are fond of, perhaps you can move a special plant or two with you? My parents moved iris bulbs (originally from my grand mother’s garden) from house-to-house three times. Now the descendents are in my yard.

    I have no moving advice, as my strategy is always, “Buck up and suffer.” Cheering, no?

  13. Denice on May 22nd, 2012 9:57 am

    We will be moving out of our house in about 6 weeks (sniff, sniff), and to help my 5-year-old feel better, I’ve been letting her take my iPhone and take videos of the house, with her own running commentary. (“This is my room. This is where I used to play with my My Little Ponies….etc.”) That way she can watch the movies whenever she feels a little homesick once we move. It might make Mommy cry though.

  14. Kate on May 22nd, 2012 12:40 pm

    Amen to the shower curtain! I never thought of that. Popsicles would be great for the school class. You can read some books from the library on moving. One we had suggested saying goodbye to every room just before you go. You are going to love making new memories!

  15. yup on May 22nd, 2012 3:30 pm

    Don’t you have mormon missionaries where you’re moving? Those guys pack and unload like champs. Plus: FREE! Ha ha

  16. tanya on May 22nd, 2012 4:06 pm

    yes, cat in carrier. Yhoughts on Riley’s goodbye: a printed out pic of him smiling for each kid in class saying Thanks for the great year, can be done on home printer? Re: stuff you will need, put it in last so you can have it out first and put it where you will remember it, closest to the parts of the house where you will be using it. At least theoretically that should work. SO HAPPY FOR YOU

  17. tanya on May 22nd, 2012 4:06 pm

    Damn it. Thoughts. Not Yhoughts. Bleah.

  18. Becky on May 22nd, 2012 6:28 pm

    Well, as far as keepsakes of the house…you have pictures. Tons and tons of pictures of your family in that house. For me, that would be enough. Unless there is literally like a piece of the house you could artistically frame or shadow-box, I’d say just take one last instagram and let it go.
    As far as the moving – absolutely put your essentials into one place, make it ridiculously obvious that THISISTHEBOXYOUNEED and put it at the BACK of the truck. Yes, the back. Why? Because it will be the last thing you unload, and therefore the EASIEST to get to. In my experience, you always pack the crap you need at the back of the truck so it’s not buried when it gets unloaded. And, as a person who has moved 9 times in the past 9 years, you can trust my judgment on that. ;)

    Good luck, and don’t do what I do…which is leave a bunch of crap until the night before because “eh, we’ll get it packed” and then you end up packing until 3am the night before the move because your junk seems to be reproducing like freaking bunnies.

  19. Joel on May 22nd, 2012 11:34 pm

    One thing I would suggest is leaving a care package of sorts for the folks moving in. Some of the basics that people are recommending, like TP and a cheap shower curtain, maybe the menu for a great local take-out place. They’ll be in the same boat as you and may not have planned ahead as well as you.

    That’s my two cents, leave some good karma behind with a note.

  20. Karen on May 23rd, 2012 1:32 pm

    When my parents moved out of their house after 40 years, I made a photo book that combined old pictures of us in the house with new pictures of the house’s details. I did it room-by-room, so you could open a page and remember what it felt like to be, for example, in the living room. The new pictures were of what any outsider would think of as the most ridiculous details, but when anyone in my family looks at the book, it’s a guaranteed tear jerker.

    Here’s a link so you can see what I mean:

    (Plz ignore horrible 80s garb.)

  21. elc on May 24th, 2012 6:43 am

    I like the idea of leaving something behind as well, someone mention a time-capsule, and well, I’m sure you’re running out of time BUT, I also know you guys like to Geo-cache, so maybe plant one of those?

  22. Jess on May 24th, 2012 1:54 pm

    I am not sure if anyone else has commented concerning this same idea (and I am not too sure that you’ll even see this comment), but my parents, during their 45 year marriage and counting (holy shit!!) have only moved 3 times. Our, (yes, I am 35 and married, but their house will always be Our House), house, in the backyard, is where two medium sized rocks decorate the scenery. Each taken from their previous yards where so many memories were made. It is funny how when my mom or dad look at these rocks so many memories and stories begin to flow easily. There are also a few plants and flowers that have made the move with them. Someday, when it is time, I will have these rocks and flower bulbs in my yard and the memories/stories will continue to live on.

  23. Sunday Tollefson on May 27th, 2012 7:58 am


    Here’s a link to cute gifts that could cost a fortune, but don’t!

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