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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Heather C
Heather C
11 years ago

I totally agree with the “essentails” box. Pack plenty of toilet paper, paper towels, basic tools, PJs, sheets, etc. This should be the first box you unload. Put it somewhere easy to find, like in the bathtub, because thelast thing you want is to unload it and forget where you put it.

For the cat, do not let her out of her crate until you get to your destination. You will never, ever get her back in. But if. You do decide to let her out, make sure she’s wearing a harness with leash. To make sure you don’t let her out until the movers are gone, stash her in a bathroom or a spare room until everything is in the house, and then let her out to explore. Let her do this at her own pace.

Good luck with the move!

FrostedLemonCarrot
11 years ago

I have no good ideas for most of your questions, but I will say that the first thing you should do when you get to the new house is make the beds and set out toiletries and other essentials that you need for bed. Have them ready so that when you’re exhausted and all you want to do is crash in bed, you can. And at least know where the stuff that is essential to a good morning is – breakfast items, coffee, towels, whatever. If you can go to bed as soon as you want to without having to dig around and can have a normal morning going, everything else is easier.

elembee123
elembee123
11 years ago

Adding my voice to the chorus of packing a Necessities box and putting it in your car.

I’ve seen a lot of comments about digging something up (plant) from your yard to take as a memento – be careful. While your state’s laws may differ, here in CA, buyers can sue and/or void the whole deal if sellers take “a material object” (tree, plant, something-nailed-down) from the property without disclosing it. (And yes, we are lawyer-ed to death) Anyway, YMMV on this one, but I thought it might be worth mentioning.

Lastly, your pet store probably carries chewy treats specifically for feline anxiety. Also Rescue Remedy or any other flower-based anxiety remedy works great. Both would save a trip to the vet or having to get a scrip filled at the last minute.

Definitely lock your cat up in a room while loading at your old place, and once again when you arrive at your new place so you don’t have to worry about where she is at any point in time.

And once you’ve settled in a bit, update her microchip info with your new location so they don’t ship her back to Seattle in case she wanders off.

Okay, that’s all the assvice I have. Good luck and safe travels!!

Jennifer
Jennifer
11 years ago

I love the idea of writing a letter about your family and tucking it behind a kitchen cabinet — so in 50 years, your letter will be found. I would treasure that!
And maybe have the kids put their handprints on the back of the closet wall, garage? Some place discrete but sure to be found. Take pictures.
Maybe a little art project for each kid? On a 4×6 white card – hand print ( obviously I’m charmed by small people and their prints), a little note, a photo of the kid. You can hole punch them and hand them with a binder clip, ribbon, twine — or something fancy.
As a teacher, I’d love a mom to come in and do a little project for an hour. :)
And it’ll be meaningful for Riley and the kids he’s saying good bye to.

Christi
Christi
11 years ago

When we left our much-loved house a few years ago, I had my 4 year old lead me on a tour of the place – while I video-taped it. It was great to have him narrate what each space was to him, what we used it for, and what his favorite memories were. A total keepsake – and something he likes to revisit when he thinks about his “baby house.”

And popsicles. The kids always love popsicles.

Good luck!

Marolyn
Marolyn
11 years ago

Pack the first things you’ll want LAST! Cannot stress that enough. Yes, hire movers to unpack (you can call temp agency for guys that are bonded and cheap!) because you can point and say which room that box/lamp/bed goes into.

When you move the cat, unload her in one room with all her stuff in it so she freak the fuck out like some cats I know (looking over at Polly & Daisy). Leave her in that room and go in and out to visit her for a few days til all the major in and out is over and furniture is placed. Maybe she won’t need the Xanax either !
Good Luck with the move and I hope it is uneventful! (unless it’s fun)

elz
elz
11 years ago

My family is military, so we moved often. I always thought taking a picture in front of the house before saying good-bye was a nice way to remember.

As far as school treats, what about popsicles or ice cream sandwiches? Bonus- watching 30 kids eat them is HILARIOUS. Hilariously messy and slurpy and I laughed so hard.

Good luck.

Judy
Judy
11 years ago

The cat should be fine. You can get kitty tranquilizers from the vet, although they never seemed to help my cats. Keep her in the carrier, though. I am still traumatized by my move from Missouri to Florida when we stopped for the night in Pensacola and Sophie managed to get up inside the dash and was cringing on top of the glove box inside the dash and we about never got her out.

I always use my suitcases for the last minute stuff. A roll of toilet paper, a cheap shower curtain liner from the Dollar Store, a couple changes of clothing and all medications, toiletries and other must-haves. It’s easier to identify the suitcases in that helter-skelter pile of boxes, and unload them first. Plan on ordering pizza or making a run to Mickey D’s for that first dinner. You don’t want to have to move and unpack and cook all in the same day.

Definitely hire unloading help. Worth every cent.

As for Riley’s going away party, the store-bought cupcakes and disposable cameras are brilliant ideas. You might also get a small journal-ish book and let every child fill up a page for Riley, whether it be drawings or badly spelled and poorly written notes. He’ll enjoy that in a few years.

I wish you luck. It’s never an easy thing to move, but you’re making the lifestyle change you want, so it should be exciting.

Jen
Jen
11 years ago

For the nostalgia part…maybe have a painting made from one of your photos?

Make sure you have a few kitchen essentials in the “first to be opened” boxes (frying pan, spatula, coffee mug, corkscrew…)

Amy
Amy
11 years ago

Buy a bag of dum dum lollipops. Kids go crazy for them and you generally don’t have to worry about allergies, plus there is no mess. AND it’s cheap and easy.

I love the idea of writing a little note on a wall in the back of a closet

MinnieK
MinnieK
11 years ago

As far as momentos go, I like the video idea someone mentioned above. When my grandparents sold their house we took a picture of it and put it in a shadow box with the house numbers (which we had pulled off the old house). I don’t know how visual your kids are, but I would have loved to have a simple drawing of the houseplan of my family’s first couple of houses – to kind of help me place my memories.
Good luck with the move. I just did it in April and I’m still surrounded by boxes. Bleh.

Kimberly
11 years ago

Goodness yes, hire movers to unpack the truck. And pack a couple rolls of paper towels and hand soap into your first unpack box.

Jess
11 years ago

I agree, popsicles are quick, easy, cheap to feed lots of kids. The cat should be fine in the carrier for 7 hours. You can call the vet to get a tranquilizer prescription that might reduce the yowling from the backseat. (For the cat. Not the kids. Ha.)

erin
11 years ago

Yes, hire people to help unload. Also if you want to be able to get to something easily and quickly, make sure you label that box as one you need to get to quickly. There may be a ton of other things in the box but if your coffeemaker is in there, then put “coffeemaker” on the outside of that box! Don’t rely on your memory to remember which boxes hold the most needed items. You’ll forget, I promise. LABEL every last box with everything that’s in it if you have to. It will make it much easier when you unload to see the box and know exactly where it needs to go so you can get to it quickly. Good luck!

Carla Hinkle
Carla Hinkle
11 years ago

For the love of all that is holy, hire helpers on the unloading end. It will be well worth it!!

Andrea
11 years ago

When we moved, I transplanted some of my favorite iris’ from the old house to the new house. I know this might prove a little difficult for you because you don’t have a permanent ‘landing place’ yet, but is there a favorite plant/flower/tree that you could dig up and plant in a pot for the summer and then plant at your eventual ‘new house?’ As for Riley’s class…what about a pizza party? Sadly, I have no ass-vice for the move day. It’s going to be a cluster. Take a deep breath, remind yourself of all the good that’s on the other end of this great adventure and ride the wave. (easier said than done).

Andrea
11 years ago

Also…congratulations and good luck and all that other good stuff! It’s going to be great!

Billie
Billie
11 years ago

Re cat: Throw a sheet over her cage. If she can’t see movement, she will be much more calm and quiet.

Re treats: How about just plain ice cream bars, like Dilly Bars from DQ. No need for drinks. No need for deciding who gets the most frosting. Get all the same kind, no arguments. All you need is some napkins, no plates and forks. This is about as easy as it gets, and the kids will love it.

Penny
Penny
11 years ago

I didn’t read all the responses so if this is same, pardon me please.
First suggestion, something from your home..many people have a house warming party when they move into a new home, what about putting on a big bon voyage party to say bye to the home, serve sparkling grape (whatever the unchampange thing is) and cheese platters. On invitations let the people know you want their help in saying goodbye. I am sure that memory and some suggestions given at party would definitely help you “capture” a part of that house. In no particular order, yeah the cat will be fine. As for Riley, ask his teacher if you and Riley can have like 10 mins in front of the class, help him in advance to draw a picture of what he thinks his new house looks like, then make copies. hand out copies, and help him talk about how excited he is to move and this might help him with closure saying goodbye to the class, so that doesn’t hit you out of the blue him needing closure after you move. (I like pre-emptive strikes)
I don’t think you need to hire helpers to pack the truck, I think that extra time you spend doing that you can make into a family affair with the boys helping and as you take boxes out make a game of it, asking them and you and jb according to whats in the box, what memory does that box hold with those items in the house you’re leaving and what hopes for the new house.
Good luck with your move.

Jadison
Jadison
11 years ago

I understand that it must have taken you quite some time to pack up all your stuff,cause each corner that used to store each piece would have brought you into a while of flashback. I was little when I first experienced moving to another house,later then I had missed the house where I spent most time of my childhood in.I even tried to recall where every bit in that house was situated and the things I’d done and games I’d played in different corners of the house,I wish I had a camera to save the views of the interior look for me to reminisce right now.
So,I recommend you to videotape starting from the outlook through every corner in the house,and before you leave,try to experience things you used to do one last time,such as watching TV on the cozy counch,staying warm near the fireplace,chasing after your kids in the backyard or blowing boubles…
Moreover,to my personal experience I wish I havd saved my childhood mates’ contact numbers cause those were some of the best friends of lifetime and I would never forget spending my happiest childhood with.Now I’ve lost contact with them,so I mean even your kids are still young to be awere of this,I guess they’d appreciate it very mcuh by then if you have asked and taken down contact numbers of their close mates and kindergarten mates when they grow older and starting recalling and wondering where their friends have gone.
Anyway,I’ve been a big fan of yours since I was studying in Singapore,I had been so amazed seeing your shared pictures of beautiful sightseeings in WA and really wondered where to find such awesome places!Now I’ve been in Washington State for nearly two months for study.Knowing you guys are moving and I really wish you and your family enjoy your new life in Oregon! I’m excited about visiting Portland for the 2nd time this weekend!!
:)

Barbara
Barbara
11 years ago

I always feel the same about leaving a place I’ve lived. On the last day, as I get ready to leave for the last time I walk through, lingering in the doorway of each room, drinking it in one last time, and thank it for being my home and harbor, for the memories, and send it love and blessings for the next inhabitants.

I might get misty eyed, I might have a good cry, but when I walk out the door and drive off I’m fully focused on what’s ahead.

I’m excited for you!

annabelvita
11 years ago

What about a video like this? http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/12/this-ones-for-you-babe/ – you could do some video of the stuff the boys won’t remember from their infancy and then “interview” them about some random corners of the house…

Gina
11 years ago

Send in a t-shirt or pillowcase and some fabric markers, so all his friends can sign it – that way, he can take a memory of all his friends with him.

shygirl
shygirl
11 years ago

On the cat– speaking from experience here– she might be fine, or she might yowl all the way. That’s a lot of yowling in a very small space for a lot of hours (ask me how I know). Some cats do great in the car, others do horribly; hard to tell until you’re in the moment, and by then, if it’s going badly, it’s too late to do anything.

I recommend asking your vet for a sedative– they’l usually give you one small pill that you can crush up in a little wet cat food and give to the cat about an hour before you’re leaving. You will *all* be happier, trust!

Laurie
11 years ago

It’s dorky, but when we moved from our first home, the home we brought the boys home to from the hospital, the home we made a family, the home we lived in and loved for over 10 years, I was also feeling sad and bittersweet. I found a person who gave me an ink drawing of the house based on pictures I sent her. I love it and it is framed and now hangs in the new house. It makes me happy to have it there. Email me if you want her contact info, the prices are reasonable and I can send you a pic of what she did for me.

Lisa
Lisa
11 years ago

When we moved out of our first home, we took our house numbers to save as a “souvenir”. We replaced the ones we took with new ones from Home Depot for the new owners, of course. Just a little something. If you have a door knocker or something you can easily remove, do that.

Margaret
Margaret
11 years ago

How about each kid getting their own box (or suitcase) for “open first”? They can help choose which toys and “non-essentials” go in the box.

Put the cat crate on the floor of the vehicle, and be prepared for yowling and motion sickness. It might hate the trip, but it will tolerate crating for 5 hours.

I hope everything goes as smoothly as possible!

Liz
Liz
11 years ago

For the school treat, what about something like this: http://faboolous.blogspot.com/2012/02/another-idea-for-valentines-day.html

You’d need to change the wording so it was more like, “Glad we were in the same school!” but it’s cute, tasty, and wouldn’t cost much. I love the previous commenter’s idea about saving the house numbers. You could easily make a plaque or something with them. Good luck with the move; cat will be fine in carrier, just take a few more breaks than usual for fresh air and petting. Maybe kitty Xanax.

Mary
11 years ago

When my parents moved out of my childhood home they had a local artist do a drawing of our old house from a picture we gave them. That picture hangs in the new house, along with a picture of the new house they had done by the same artist.

Barb Ruess
11 years ago

How about a video tour? Start at the front door and walk through the house, narrating memories from each room… letting the kids chime in whenever… have the kids give a tour of their room… We did this when moving from our childhood home and as adults my siblings & I think this video is hysterical and sentimental all at the same time.

kristin
kristin
11 years ago

I have plenty o’ Xanax!

Chris C.
11 years ago

I have moved across states and even the entire country several times, with pets, so I definitely have some advice.

First, if you have an anxious cat, you might consider getting kitty Valium from the vet. I did this when I moved to California and the cat had to fly with me. It was way less traumatic for both of us. For a 5-hour drive, though, I’d just put her in her carrier. Your cat might wail the whole time, like mine does, but she’ll be fine. I usually toss in an old shirt that smells like me for her to sit on, and I attach one of those little hamster-cage water dispensers, so she can get water if she needs it. No food. Her tummy is already upset from the stress, and we’ve had accidents in the crate in the past. No fun for anyone! We don’t usually do potty breaks for that short of a move, but you could pack a cardboard box with a bit of litter in it as an emergency back-up.

As for unloading help, YES! I have never regretted spending that money!

Also, as other folks have suggested, pack a separate “first night” box or suitcase, and don’t let the movers touch it (otherwise, who knows where it will end up!). Mine usually includes linens (bed and bath), a couple changes of clothes, a shower curtain, paper plates and napkins for the pizza I inevitably order when exhaustion sets in, paper towels, toilet paper, chargers for my cell phone and computer and camera, basic toiletries like contact lens case and solution, toothbrush, etc. I also pack “essentials” boxes that are clearly marked with bright stickers. These include everything I think I’m going to want urgently within the first few days — for me, that includes basic cooking gear (a frying pan, a pot to boil water, a wooden spoon, a couple plates and cutlery, and so on), more clothes, and so on. I have the movers stack these boxes in a special spot in the new house, separate from everything else so they don’t get lost.

Good luck!

Dana
11 years ago

I don’t know about all the rest but that person who mentioned the easily located shower curtain is a genius. This coming from someone who’s bathed in a shower without a curtain before, because in addition to not remembering to put the curtain somewhere accessible, I also forgot that you can like, go and by those things too.

Christina
11 years ago

I would say photos. My parents did not take any our first house in NY when moved to CA and I often wonder about that house. I wonder if my memories are accurate. I took a pile of photos of our first house in CA when we moved to another one but I was old enough to do that at that age (12). I would say since the boys are older, just give them and yourself the time to say good-bye to the house and possibly plan a visit back to Seattle to revisit the house down the road. Obviously you cannot go inside but just to be able to see what it looks like again and everything is okay with it. Just a thought, some we never ever did because well NY to CA = long trip! Our first house that we sold here I stayed by myself a little bit and just went from room to room and remembered the moments in those rooms. Like I pictured that one spot where I remember my son taking his first steps, that kind of thing. It gave me closure and I still smile about that time I spent saying good-bye to old because I could then welcome the new with open arms!!

laziza
laziza
11 years ago

I can’t believe you just opened this up for advice. You are a brave, brave woman.

1) LOVE the idea of framing an ink drawing of this house to hang in your new house. Maybe try to take one great photo of the front at your favorite time of day to use. Also like the idea of transplanting a plant from here to there, but I would, uh, suck at that, so god speed to you.

2) Little pre-packaged treats to share would be good. Maybe little packs of gummy bears with a note (forgive me) that says: “Riley will miss you beary much!” Or something?

3) Use your suitcases and overnight bags to the extent possible for the day-of stuff – you have to pack them anyway, and these will be the easiest for you to move yourselves. On that note, absolutely yes get move-in help. I shudder to think about trying to accomplish that with two little ones running around a new place. And yes, of course, to the cat in the carrier.

4) Good luck. This is hard but awesome. :)

Jessica
Jessica
11 years ago

When we moved out of our first apartment, I walked around with a video camera and gave a little tour, reminding myself of little memories in each room. I can watch it take a virtual tour any time I want.

Liz
Liz
11 years ago

Also, just saw this idea on Pinterest and it is also very cute/afordable: http://anythingbutperfect.com/2012/05/free-printable-end-of-school-year-treat-bag-toppers/

Might try searching Pinterest for end of year gifts. Lots of creative ideas.

Cindy
Cindy
11 years ago

I didn’t read the comments above, so this may be a repeat comment.

When we moved last July, I packed a set of suitcases & carry-ons as if we were leaving on vacation. I had all our toiletries, meds, my hair dryer, clothes, pjs, etc. In addition, I packed an extra suitcase with bedding and towels & a packed a box for our cat(taped with hot pink duct tape so it was easy to find) with cat food, litterbox, food dishes etc. I put the suitcases and box for the kitty in my car, not the moving truck. In all the chaos, the suitcases were easy to spot from mountains of boxes.

With that done, I knew I’d packed the basics to keep us going for a few days while the boxes were sorted. I didn’t have to panic about those items and could then panic and have a total meltdown over being asked 896 times where I wanted things unloaded, what room, etc.

P.S. We don’t have kids, but perhaps your boys can each pack a duffel bag or suitcase with toys/games. Also, I said to hell with cooking for a week and the pizza delivery guy was our first new friend while we settled in.

Karen
Karen
11 years ago

I’m sure someone said it already, but leave 27 stamped postcards that are addressed to Riley and have the teacher hand them out the last week of class so he gets cards from all his former classmates when he’s in his new home?

Cindy
Cindy
11 years ago

And YES pay for help loading and unloading. Money well spent and saved husband and I from fighting like maniacs.

Rachael
11 years ago

The only thing I can give advice on is the cat…we moved two cats from Oregon to Montana and back again in cat carriers. We did not put the cat carriers in the UHaul for fear of shifting/falling boxes during the trip so they rode in the cab with Alton. God, they made mournful sounds but they eventually stopped. Or so I’m told…

Rachael
11 years ago

Oh – and maybe a painting of your house for a keepsake?!

Rachael
11 years ago

And I’m volunteering my skills here…

Gaby
Gaby
11 years ago

The couple at “Young House Love” had a portrait of a house painted. Might be a good way to remember your home. Info is on this page: http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/12/fab-freebie-home-sweet-illustrated-home/

JennyA
JennyA
11 years ago

So, I’m late to the party and everyone’s already chimed in with what I would have added. But, I just want to reiterate — dear god hire the move-in help. It will go SO MUCH faster if you have someone to do the major schlepping, and all you have to do is unpack, not schlepp AND unpack. This was a godsend on my last move and I’ll never go back.

Here was my “essentials” list last time I moved, I put all this in a duffel and kept it with me (not on the moving truck):

hand soap
bath towels
shower curtain with rings
TP
paper towels
clorox wipes
set of sheets
trash bags
new lightbulbs

Then I just packed an overnight bag with what I would normally take — my toiletries, change of clothes, hair dryer or whatnot. Anyway, being able to easily wash grubby hands and generally tidy up myself and the new digs as the day progresses makes a huge difference in moving morale.

Every time I’ve moved before, I’ve left a little note hidded somewhere out-of-the-way in the house, along with pencilling in our initials and the dates we lived there. Maybe it will never be found/seen, but it’s satisfying. Like letting the house know it’s a part of you. Shut up.

Happy moving!!! So excited for you guys.

Megan @ Mama Bub
11 years ago

ABSOLUTELY have people to help you unload. Yes, pack specially labeled boxes with toilet paper, hand soap, paper towels, and all purpose cleaner (you don’t want unpack your dishes into dirty cabinets) easy snacks, changes of clothes for everyone and make sure those boxes are the last to be loaded into the moving van, so that they’re the first to come off.

LizP
LizP
11 years ago

Definitely mark some boxes as “hot” with a flourescent label so you can find them; a basic kitchen box, basic boxes for each bedroom and bathroom, one for the living room/family room.

I would totally hire someone/some people to help you unload! I might be able to rent you my stepson. If I remember correctly, there’s a cool playground (with sand and water feature) near where you’ll be. We could take your kids to play with ours while you focus on the move in (I e-mailed my cell # not too long ago).

You’ll never have to make a cupcake for school as long as you live in Eugene. It’s against school district policy. Only store bought cupcakes with the ingredients listed allowed :-(

Safe travels!

bacioni
bacioni
11 years ago

I love the idea of post cards as well, and if it’s not too much work for the teacher, perhaps they get mailed a few at a time? That way Riley gets a trickle of well-wishes rather than an avalanche.

Good luck on the move. Lots of deep breathing will not replace bagel crisps but are cheaper than Xanax!

Tidy Husband
11 years ago

I find the unpacking even more stressful because you just want to get the move done already and the movers gone. To me, I’m moved in when all my stuff is inside the new digs. The faster that happens, the better.

Stacy H-W
11 years ago

Mark the boxes of the stuff that you need immediately with “open first”. (easy enough) Put things that you HAVE to have in a special box. (i.e. medicines, coffee,coffee pot, paper plates, utensils, favorite toys etc)

The beauty of kids is that they are super easy to please if you present any item that contains sugar. So store bought (grocery store made) iced cookies or cupcakes are not a super expensive way to celebrate.

DEFINITELY hire someone to help unload! Definitely!!

It will be crazy for a bit but then just think…OREGON!