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?

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typelittlea
typelittlea
12 years ago

The only thing I would add is have your bed linens and towels handy.

And for the love of God, YES hire unloading help. Do you really want to do it all with your husband with 2 kids underfoot?

Antropologa
12 years ago

The pictures are good. Maybe sometime make a little photo book of them interspersed with family pictures in the room in question.

Do what’s easiest at this point. If store-bought cupcakes are easy, do that. I’ve done two major moves with children (one five hours away, one to another continent). Sometimes you just have to go easy on yourself.

The cat will be fine for five hours. I mean, she might howl, but she will be fine. Yes on the specially-labeled boxes. And help when you get there will be great. You will be beat. But it depends on when the truck is due back.

Eventually it’ll be done. You will be there, in your new life! It’ll be weird and exciting. And then it won’t be.

Lindsay
Lindsay
12 years ago

The cat should be totally fine in a carrier for five hours…We dragged our cat back and forth to Florida from New Jersey (17 hours) if that makes you feel any better! (We had to travel with the litter box and we let her out to roam the car at rest stops…God those were long trips!)

Stacee
12 years ago

When we moved into our first house, I was completely charmed by a previous family’s child (sometime in the 80 years before we bought it) having written, deep in one of the closets, “Michael loved this house.” I’m not condoning scribbling all over what is now someone else’s home, but it could be done discreetly, then you could snap a photo. Maybe have Riley write a little message? Or you? I don’t know, I’m just sentimental. But it’s like leaving a little piece of your history behind?

sarah
12 years ago

1) unloading help – a resounding YES. you will not regret hiring someone for that.

2) where will your kids be, while you’re moving? do you have family keeping them for a couple days until you get the new place under control? one thing that helped us when we moved was dropping off our kids with friends for a couple days so we could work, uninterrupted, just to get the major things in place. (but our kids were three, one, and in utero when we moved. NIGHTMARE.)

3) one idea for a memento – maybe transplant one of your favorite plants from your current garden into the new house garden? just a thought!

GOOD LUCK and best wishes! i love your blog; looking forward to pics of the new place once you get settled.

Val
Val
12 years ago

Could you do a pizza party during lunch for the kids?

Corina
Corina
12 years ago

Pack a first morning box that travels in the car with you: towels, coffee-maker and mugs, box of cereal, bowls and spoons, toiletries, paper towels. The things that you just would be MISERABLE if you couldn’t find when you crawl out of bed after a long day/night. Because it’s shocking how that shit can get misplaced in even a well-labeled box stuffed into a moving van.

Cat will be totally fine. Don’t worry about food/water/litter. She won’t need/want any of that stuff for such a short trip.

Emily
Emily
12 years ago

The day before we moved we made sure we got a picture of the 3 of us, sitting on the front porch. That’s what had sold us in the house and it’s one of my favorite pictures ever.

And, grocery store cupcakes. Can’t go wrong.

Good luck! What an exciting adventure for you and my family!!!

michelle l.
12 years ago

Lock the cat in an empty room or closet before the movers arrive and leave her there until all the packing/loading is done and you are ready to get in the car and go. Put a big sign on the door to remind everyone not to open the room. The car trip is the easy part. The hardest part for me has always been the wrangling to get the cat in the car. It’s one reason my box spring no longer has a cloth cover on the underside. I had to cut it off to get the cat out so the movers could load the bed.
My only other suggestion for moving day is to pack a cooler with drinks and snacks and so it’s handy while the final packing is underway, while you’re driving in the car, and once you arrive.
For the last day of school, why not pick up a couple of disposable cameras – do they still make those?? – and let Riley use them to take photos of and with his friends and teachers. You could double-print the pictures and send a set to the school when you’re all settled.
Good luck with the move.

Karen
Karen
12 years ago

You have been such an awesome photo mom so far that you will never lack for photo memories…

Despite having baked many a cupcake or fancy cookie for class things over the years, he most popular school treat I ever took in was a tray of (store bought!) large chocolate dipped strawberries…

best wishes, how exciting!

Danell
Danell
12 years ago

Oh man. I suggest crying a lot? And vacillating between sentimental sniffling and excited hyperactivity? Well, that’s what I would be doing…and I would still have MOUNTAINS of crap laying around that I would be utterly convinced I would have organized and packed by move day.

I was wondering how you felt about leaving your house. We moved two years ago and I was SO EMOTIONAL about leaving the house we had made our family in. Ours was yellow, too. :). I think the pictures of it are what make me happiest. You could make a little portrait of one of yours, frame it, and hang it in the new house.

MissMary
MissMary
12 years ago

1. Dig up a plant/bush/tree to take to the new house. And, take a pic of the kids on the front porch (you’ve probably already done that but, just in case).

2. Pizza &/or ice cream sundae bar.

3. Yes, hire movers to unload. You’ll be exhausted physically & emotionally. We use the U-Haul online site and book 2 men for 2 hours for typically under $200.

4. Mark 1-2 boxes as “last to load/first to unload”. Be sure they have toilet paper & paper towels, too.

Have a safe trip!

Deb
Deb
12 years ago

Yes to specially packed boxes. One thing I would add is a shower curtain if the new house has a tub. I can’t even tell you how many times we’ve wanted a hot shower after a long day of moving only to have to make a midnight trip to WalMart for a freaking shower curtain before we could go to sleep.

Yes to hiring unload help. You will lift your crap enough times as it is.

At our last day in our house, we took the kids under the playset with black sharpies and let them each write their name and age, then took a picture. *sob* I also made sure to take lots of pictures – even of the sad, crying faces. It’s part of the story.

Good luck! So happy for you guys!

Fun mama
Fun mama
12 years ago

Pack your shower curtain with your “first unpack” boxes/bag. More than once I’ve gone out and bought one because I just couldn’t deal with finding it in my exhaustion.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

I’m trying not to think about the someday when I have to leave this little 710-sq-ft house, my first, and all its memories. Or the day (much sooner) when my parents leave the house I mostly grew up in and that contains the vast majority of my Wisconsin childhood memories. Sob sob. But…new memories to be made! Chamomile tea for everyone! I recommend the Natural Medicinals kind that also has lavendar in it; it’s extra soothing for me when I am feeling anxious/panic attack-y. When my housemate was packing her U-haul last Christmas to move across the country, I just kept making her cups of chamomile tea, because she was so anxious she was shaking all over, all day. She said it helped, at least a little.
I made a pile of car/frequently used stuff, as you are describing you have, when I moved from Wisconsin to Oregon, and then defied physics by cramming it all into my 1995 Corolla (followed by hitting a mule deer in Montana…don’t recommend that part. Although when we made it to the reservation where we were staying with a friend and his friend, the local retired nun, and my mom asked the sister whether she would mind if my mom had a beer after the 15 hour day of driving which included a mule deer incident, the sister thought for a second, then said, “Do you have one for me?”. That was pretty great.). When I maxed out on what would fit into my car, I figured out how to fit the rest into the pod. It worked out great.

Most schools only allow store-bought treats nowadays, just in case the parents want to kill off the whole class with poison and/or peanuts in their homemade treats. So let yourself off the hook there. We had one departing family bring in lemonade and frozen berries, and we made the kids smoothies. They loved it. And that should be relatively cheap, especially if you go the costco route for the berries. You could ask the teacher to bring his/her blender, if yours is packed. Or one of Riley’s friend’s parents. Or just Goodwill a blender.

Lauren
Lauren
12 years ago

you could, and hear me out, make a mini “scrapbook” of sorts out of the pictures you took, with contributions from the family of comments, short stories, etc of either favorite family rituals/routines/special memories with the part of the house that is pictured, and depending on how much speed you want to mainline before you do it, you could even make the house-featuring special pics you have into a scrapbooked sort of chronological timeline, since i know you added both children and additions to the house in your time there.

or, you could just put some soil in one of those living terrarium lockets,

or if you want to kick it down ANOTHER notch, put some soil in an old pill bottle, etc, something small and straightforward with a tight lid.

i also like the idea of a family photo on the porch, but since your writing tells me your kids aren’t the “biggest fans” of photo shoots, a movie where it’s ok for them to be funny and constantly moving might work better. like just a short video of them saying good bye to the house and maybe riley guiding you on a tour? his thoughts of where he first grew up from his 6 year old perspective might be pretty awesome in 10 or 20 years (or now.)

as for riley’s good-bye at his school, cookie cakes never, ever lose. buy, let the kid with the shakiest hand cut it up with a super sharp knife, everyone wins.

for the cat, vets have a very standard med you can dose her up with that is the equivalent of human “nerve pills” — and taking the time to dial in that script will be both inexpensive and well worth the effort. i am speaking from experience when i say that a caged, freaked out cat on a long car ride will ratchet your need for your own xanax up about a billion percent. don’t do it.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

second the shower curtain thing! i moved into a house with a nonfunctional bathroom other than the toilet(for the first 24 hrs…no door for the first 3 days). i think i blocked the rest out. empty out a few boxes and give them to the kids to make hideouts in and destroy. that will keep them busy for an hour.

Sarah Lena
12 years ago

I love this Pin and have been meaning to do it for ages, since we’ve moved SO MUCH in the last nine years.

http://pinterest.com/pin/228065168599456974/

But since you don’t have a “series” just yet, maybe just a picture of the front of the house, plus two great pictures (I like the idea of everyone on the front porch mentioned above)?

Bobbie
Bobbie
12 years ago

Plan a special “goodbye house” dinner with the family and say your thank you’s to the house that has supported you and your family in in your journey. Have the kids (and yourself) create special pictures of their favorite memories; place in a hidden spot for the new owners to stumble upon someday. While I am sure the cat it not at the “top” of the list; it will move up quickly if she pees or worse in the cat carrier due to stress, (Something my cat did everytime it was taken in the car…..) I would come prepared with cat liter, water and have extra towels ready; you never know. A drop of Bachs rescue remedy in the ear will also make kitty so much more agreeable. BTW, it also will do wonders for you (not in the ear, use as directed under the tongue.) Remember to proceed as you would with any great adventure……lots of water, protein, energy bars, chocolate and a “this is going to make for a great story” attitude. Can’t wait to hear how it goes. Take care of you.

Cheryl
Cheryl
12 years ago

The first thing that came to mind is digging up a little patch of your grass and potting it in a shallow pot. Keep it watered and happy until you find your new home and then plant it in your new yard. The second thing was to give Riley a disposable camera to take pictures of his classmates, teacher, classroom, playground…anything he wants to remember. Lots of luck on EVERYTHING!

Shannon
Shannon
12 years ago

I went to my vet to get “kitty xanax” for my cat for the ride from FL to NJ…it definitely helped…just a thought! It was about 20 bucks and SO worth it!

Pam
Pam
12 years ago

Cat will be fine. You might consider some Feliway spray for the carrier. Supposed to make them calm, although it doesn’t work on my hellions.

Whatever you do, DO NOT let her out of the crate until the crate is inside a closed room for the new place. Do not succumb to guilt and let her out for some air for a few minutes during the trip, because that is exactly when she will bolt.

Also, make sure she’s wearing a collar with a tag that has your cell phone number on it. If she does get out, it will be easier to find you if the tag has current info.

Laura
12 years ago

You could let the boys pick out a couple of rocks from the yard and put them in a jar with some dirt? Benefit: no plants to keep alive while traveling because ugh.

For going away party, ice cream sandwiches. Yes, the cheap kind where that chocolate cookie gets lodged in your fingerprints. They’re likely to be on pre-memorial day sale so yay for not being a kabillion dollars.

I have no tips for moving day because no kids. Can you maybe put them in the room with the kitty and tell them they have to “calm her down?” I have no idea if this will work.

Please contact me privately regarding issue four.

Lori
Lori
12 years ago

We can’t bring food to our schools, b/c of allergy concerns, so kids do small trinkets for everyone on birthdays. What about buying everyone in the class one of the $1 kites from Wal-mart? When the kids use them they’ll think of Riley. And, when he sees a kite he’ll remember that time he got to bring presents to his old friends. Since you can bring food, nothing wrong with buying some cookies from the grocery store and bringing those in with a jug of apple juice. The kids could care less if the cookies are from a fancy bakery.

Marianne
12 years ago

Some ideas based on our own recent move:

1) Pack a box that includes toilet paper, hand soap, clean towels, clean sheets for each bed, clean pj’s and a piece of paper with the phone number for pizza delivery near your new house. That way, if nothing else, when you move in, you can each take a shower, use the loo, have something for dinner, and get into a fresh bed at the end of the night.

2) Unloading help = YES YES DO IT. The unloading takes far less time, but we couldn’t have survived our last move without the unload help.

3) Cat: get the spray version of Feliway, and spray it in her carrier. Pack a box of cat stuff to unpack immediately – litter box, water and food dishes, and something (blanket, sweater, etc.) that smells like “home.” When you get there, put everything out for her in one room, shut the door, and THEN let her out. Hang out with her in there for a few minutes so she knows you’re still there, and then just give her some time to adjust. Introduce her to the rest of the house a bit at a time, if you can.

After everything was loaded, I let myself sit in the middle of the empty apartment and had a good cry. It is so hard to leave all those memories, so give yourself some time to just be with that, if you can.

Good luck! It’s all going to turn out wonderfully.

Alisa
Alisa
12 years ago

We recently moved to a new house and felt exactly the same I was so excited about a new bigger house but so sad to leave our little home we lived in when we got married and also had our daughter in. We ended up taking the house number with us. We bought a new generic one from Home Depot to replace it, of course. Then we framed the old original house number in a shadow box and have it hung in our new living room.

Katie
12 years ago

There are a lot of cute things on Etsy to help you remember your home. Here’s one…

http://www.etsy.com/listing/85559637/custom-house-ornament-treasure-memories

There are also people that you can send a picture of the house to and they will sketch it for you…frame it and it’s a daily reminder of a place that you loved.

I love Alisa’s house # idea too!

Good luck with the move!!

Laura M.
Laura M.
12 years ago

I have moved many many times and have gotten in the habit of making a First Night Box and then not letting it out of my sight. Snacks, clean sheets, a set of clothes, meds, etc. Anything that will make the first night easier.
On house momentos, I would ask the kids if there is anything they want to take to remember the house. A doorknob, a rock from the yard. They might have some creative ideas. :)

Bon chance! You can do it! :)

JudithNYC
JudithNYC
12 years ago

If you are a “plant person”, take a few cuttings or seeds from the plants at your old house.

Wishing the best for you and your family in this move. Hope it goes smoothly.

Archer's Mom
Archer's Mom
12 years ago

Otter pops on the playground can’t be beat!

Jan Ross
12 years ago

Pack a box with your bathroom stuff – towels, toiletries. After you unload, everyone can clean up and you can order a pizza. You will be glad you don’t have to dig for that stuff and equally glad you are all squeaky clean. Also pack a box for breakfast the next day – either that or just go get doughnuts! This is not a time to stress about cooking.

ccr in MA
12 years ago

One of my favorite things from moving out of my childhood house (in my 20s) is photos I took of the outside of the house with a panoramic camera. I’m so glad to have them now because the “new” owners have completely changed the outside, so I can still see it as it was (and as I still think it should be).

And yes, hire unpacker-movers. Well worth it!

wanda
wanda
12 years ago

When we moved out of state three years ago, we went around town and took pics of our favorite places. the kids schools, parks we went to, fav. bakery, etc. to make books for the kids and me. i took tons of pics from the house, wish I could have moved it too. I packed a box of have to haves and put it in the trunk, so it wouldn’t be lost.

The Other Megan
The Other Megan
12 years ago

So many great ideas — I love michelle l.’s idea of disposable cameras and double prints for the last day of school.

As far as mementos, anything you take is probably going to lose its special-ness over time, so I’m in the “leave something behind” camp. Love note from the kids? Time capsule? Plant a tree?

Also, unpacker-movers. Totally. Don’t start life in your new place shooting lasers out of your eyes from stress.

Good luck!

Mary Stewart
Mary Stewart
12 years ago

Shhhh… don’t tell anybody and it’s not really a memento but, go into one of the closets turn around and carve your names into the molding around the door frame. I did this in my apartment before I moved after 11 years. Also, I was a nanny for a long time and they moved a lot during the 14 years I worked for them and I did this in every house, along with the kids names and the years we were there. My grandma’s house and my sister’s house just last year when they moved to Washington. I know it’s there and if anyone ever finds it they will know we were there, too.

Good luck!

jenn
jenn
12 years ago

Xanax for the cat. Popsicles for Riley’s last day (simple, cheap, requires no plates or forks or anything except paper towels to wipe up. And it’s pretty much allergen free, as long as the kids aren’t allergic to food dye.) And yes, for the love of all that is good and holy in the world, HIRE SOME HELP for unloading. Good luck!

Julia
12 years ago

Suggestions for moving day include whiskey in your coffee and rum in your OJ.
Make sure you have toilet paper and paper towels handy. Good luck!

Mama Ritchie
Mama Ritchie
12 years ago

For Riley’s class, have him bring in enough stamped postcards for every kid in the class, addressed to Riley at his new address. The kids can ‘write’ a note to him, and/or send their address to him, so they can be pen pals.

Don’t forget sheets in that box to unpack first. Make the beds first thing. You’re house can be a shithole, but you’ll still have a nice, clean bed to sleep in.

We just moved this weekend and it went so smoothly. But we had people who unloaded us. DO THAT. OMG, we’re too old to carry heavy shit.

Also, a nice momento is to recreate a photo you took when you moved in. Like maybe if there’s a picture in the front of the house of Riley and Dylan when they were little, have them pose in the same places and take the same picture.

OMG have fun and enjoy. I know moving can be hard and bittersweet, but when you find “home” (and I don’t mean a house) you suddenly feel so happy.

Meagan
12 years ago

When my grandma moved out of her house of 50the years, a friend painted her a little house “portrait” on a small (4″?) stand. It was sweet and special and wouldnt be too difficult for anyone with moderate painting skills to do from a photo. You could probably find someone from etsy. Or, for something a wee bit less involved, ask the boys to each go find some pretty rocks from near the house, and stick the best of them in a shadow box with a pretty photo print of the house as a background.

For class: stick with Safeway cupcakes. 5 year olds will not be remotely impressed by something more special or creative. If you want to make them really happy, pick the ones with obnoxious plastic toppers that are almost as good as toys to a little kid.

No suggestions about moving. Just remember it will be over soon!

Katie B
Katie B
12 years ago

Someone in this mix suggested locking the cat in a room before you load. DO IT. We did that and locked them in a room when we got there and things went so much more smoothly than searching for two hours to find the cat when it was time to go (did that too).

Have someone help you unpack. And definitely have specially marked ones for first to unpack. My rule is to always make the beds first-it always makes the new place more home for me and the kiddos.

My momento suggestion, although there are a number of really good ones in this list so far that I might steal next time, is to have everyone pick a rock from the old place to bring to the new one. The ones I have chosen are big and no one else would know what they are but I know every time I look at them. I love the idea of a picture on the last day that repeats a picture you have taken there before when the kids were younger.

Good luck this week!

olyguy
olyguy
12 years ago

Best unpacking advice I ever received: first thing-FIRST thing-get the beds made up. Get the linens on there, make it up nice. Get the bedside table set up. That way, when you are absolutely at whit’s end after the rest of the chaos of the day, you have a sanctuary waiting for you.

Same for the kids’ room.

Good luck!

Mama Ritchie
Mama Ritchie
12 years ago

Oh yeah, bath towels. I so wanted to take a shower but had nothing to dry my tushie with.

Courtney
12 years ago

I, too, have graffiti’d the inside of a closet or two (or ten) during my moves. Sharpie, inside and above the door on the header. You’d never know it was there unless you looked.

Have you packed your video camera yet? You could ask the boys to give you one last tour of their first home. Could be entertaining to look back at some day! (Dylan: “And this is where I would find the dog fur to eat when I was a frustrated baby…”)

I like the pizza party lunch idea too. Heck, you wouldn’t even have to show up, just order it to the classroom!

Good luck Linda, and your great boys. Such and adventure you’re headed out on!

steff
steff
12 years ago

Hire unloading help for sure! Makes unpacking and getting everything settle so much easier!

The kitty will be fine in his crate, ours rode from Texas to Utah and was wonderful! I also kept a beach towel over the top and side of his crate so he was cozy and felt like he was hiding.

Deanna
Deanna
12 years ago

Any way you can send the cat ahead and board it or have it stay with someone? It will take a giant (OHMYGAWDTHECATESCAPED!!) load off you. (Is she microchipped, by the way??)

Also- ok, this might be TMI but at our last house I had buried my cat – she was 16 and like a child to me- and I was . . . it felt so bad leaving her. So I had to have some quiet time to talk to her and I took a rock from the yard (ok, I’m welling up here). Anyway. That rock is on a bookshelf and it helped me.

Carole
Carole
12 years ago

I love the idea of a video tour of the house so the boys can watch it when they are older.

Very Bloggy Beth
12 years ago

In my experience, the unloading is a lot harder than the loading. When loading, your motivation is usually fueled by excitement and anticipation. The unloading sucks. You’re tired from loading and just read to be IN ALREADY. Also yes, kitty will be ok in a carrier. But if it’s a little scared of the car, it may pee/poo inside the carrier. Though, better there than somewhere in the car. And we generally leave the must haves like toilet paper, etc. for absolutely last and put them in something like a milk crate so we won’t forget where they are, and can get at them right away. I haven’t ever lived anywhere I loved enough to really miss, but pictures are a great way to look back. Good luck to you, I’m so excited for you guys!

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

I’ve moved a lot. The box that goes in the car with us has: the shower curtain, dish soap (you can use that shit for everything), device chargers, some paper plates, paper towels, cups/glasses, underwear for all residents, and toothbrushes. Oh, and dog food. I also pre-scope out pizza joints near the new place. Good luck, dude. You can do it.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

Oooh also? on our last move? My mother in law and sister in law unpacked my kitchen before the movers were even done and it was HEAVEN.

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