So we’re crazy and decided to move at 32 weeks pregnant, yes in my third trimester! We’d been tossing the idea around for a while, but financially it worked out that we could around 32 weeks. God worked it out, we found a place and two weeks later we moved in. It is on the ground floor, has central a/c and a front and back yard. My wonderful husband made sure I wasn’t stressed out and handled the most stressful aspects for me. He did not pressure me to have everything packed, he communicated with our current and soon-to-be landlords, he found, hired, and supervised the moving company guys, and helped unpack the house. Here are some tips I picked up from moving and trying to avoid stress (we only moved across town so that relieved a lot of the stress too).
- Let people help you. Ask for help, and when people offer to help let them know how they can help you. For me, this meant bossing my husband around to move boxes and unpack the top shelves, having family watch Lily so that I could pack, and getting take-out food. You can also ask people to help you move day-of, but I personally preferred having a moving company.
- Call a moving company. We had friends offer to help us move, but we were moving from a second-story apartment with lots of big furniture and I felt much better hiring somebody to go up and down those stairs with my big heavy boxes (love my books!) and furniture. The guys my husband found even disassembled and reassembled our beds – paying for this extra hour or two of work was super worth it to me, otherwise we’d sleep on the floor and in a playpen for a night or two while my husband and I assembled/disassembled. We remembered assembling our bed from when we bought it and were contemplating just buying a new bed instead haha. These guys were great though; they even packed up stuff I didn’t get around to in the kitchen (best surprise ever). Also, they brought boxes, tape, and lots and lots of plastic wrap to wrap our furniture in. I loved this because it protected it from scuffs and dirt, something that would probably have happened if we had just had friends move us. I also did not feel bad being particular about where to put boxes or moving furniture around because we were paying them. If we had just had friends and family doing it I would have felt bad asking them to redo things.
- Take naps, eat food, and take care of yourself. You, your toddler, and your baby are still top priority. Every time I started stressing out, I would remind myself that we can’t move if anything happens to one of us, so we are most important. We still need sleep, rest, food, and toddler still needs attention. I didn’t want the transition to be compounded by her also feeling ignored.
- Include your toddler. Lily loved to play in the empty boxes, pack her toys into the empty boxes, and when she was in a cooperative mood I could get her to help me pack what I was actually packing (obviously nothing dangerous – books, dry goods, plastic dishes, clothes; there’s still lots she could help put in boxes). Something I didn’t end up doing but you could try is to let her color or put stickers on the boxes also.
- Get boxes and bubble wrap for free from your Buy Nothing group or Craigslist (read here to see why I absolutely love Buy Nothing Facebook groups) and to get rid of stuff – that way you don’t have to pack it. We got rid of a lot of extra furniture that we were storing in our garage. (When you unpack, you can also regift it to your group and then you don’t have a massive pile of boxes in your recycling bin!)
- Use towels, blankets, clothes, and junk mail to wrap fragile items. Rather than buying bubble wrap, you can use the items you already have to protect your delicate dishes and knick-knacks (I had no idea how many I had!)
- Pack only what you can everyday – my goal was two boxes a day. Do not overwork yourself. My husband helped pack a lot and I was okay with not getting everything packed by moving day, because as I said before, your health is the most important.
- Label Label Label. Use a thick black marker and label what is in the box and what room it should go into. I labeled two or three sides and the top of every box with the room name, and the top with the contents. It will help so much when the movers take things into the house and to help you figure out what to unpack. Since I could read what was in each box, I knew whether it was high priority or not to unpack.
- When packing boxes, put the box where it will be stacked since you can’t move a heavy packed box. Once it was packed I couldn’t move the box, so I learned to be strategic. Sometimes that meant the empty box sat in the living room and I had to carry the kitchen dishes to it but if I had packed it in the kitchen the box would have sat there all day until my husband could move it. I also slid the boxes around the floor into where a new stack would be but with a big tummy even that was difficult.
- Have someone babysit your toddler on moving day so you can direct movers and start unpacking essentials. Luckily we have family locally, so I just left Lily with her aunt and cousin all day and she had a blast. (She did really well which was encouraging because when Baby Brother comes she is also going to have to be babysat.)
- Use wardrobe boxes for things hanging in your closet so you don’t have to fold it all. I also packed my pre-baby dresses into a box that probably won’t be unpacked for years (between being pregnant and nursing…)
- Use suitcases for day-of necessities (toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, hand soap, towel, pjs, water bottles, sheets for the beds, toothbrushes, diapers, wipes)
- Figure out what to do with your perishable food. Luckily our new house came with a fridge and freezer, so I took all of our perishable food in a cooler the morning of moving day, and stocked our new fridge. However, if you have to travel with your fridge, you could have it be one of the last things on the truck/first things moved in, eat as much of your perishable food as possible, and then transport what is left in a cooler.
- Unpack the most important items first. Since you labeled your boxes, you won’t have to open every box and can leave neat stacks of less-important boxes around. While Lily was being babysat and the movers were assembling our beds, I unpacked a lot of the kitchen goods. Plates, silverware, dish soap, any frozen/refrigerated food, breakfast food for the next day, sippy cups, etc.
- Have lots of plastic wrap and/or blankets for furniture-my great-aunt’s table made it safely out of my apartment into our new house without anymore scuffs or dirt on it, and our couches weren’t dirty either.
- Give yourself grace to go back for loose ends. The next week, we made two or three trips for the things that didn’t get packed and just loaded our car up. This is where moving locally came in handy. I wish I could have had it all ready on moving day, but I focused on being healthy and stress-free, and so we went back twice for the last items (a keurig, lamps, a heater, humidifier, a cupboard we didn’t pack in the kitchen, etc)