Life in lockdown has made many families across the country appreciate the importance of their homes, with many choosing to make a move to somewhere new. And with the stamp duty holiday recently announced, we’re seeing a mini housing boom. If you’re one of the families moving to a new home and the initial flurry of excitement has passed and you’re wading through the tedious paperwork, you’ve probably been hit by the realisation of actually moving, and the enormous task in hand particularly if you have young children in tow! With this in mind, we’ve rounded up 10 tips to help you navigate through the lead-up and the day itself.
1. Involve your child
Older children can help pack up their own toys, books and clothes – ideal for buying yourself 10 minutes of peace! Arm them with some boxes and a pen for labelling to give them a little independence.
2. While the cat’s away…
The mice will stealthily get rid of any junk! Children have a funny way of suddenly becoming very attached to a tatty old teddy or broken toy truck with half its pieces missing if they know it’s going for good. Wait until they are asleep or out of the house and get rid of anything that won’t be coming along for the move – we can almost promise you they will be completely forgotten about by your child.
3. Enlist childcare
If you’re able to, ask a friend or relative to look after your child on moving day itself to allow yourself to get on with things efficiently without having to worry about naps and nappy changes! This also means you can get their room ready in the new house, helping them feel a little more settled when they arrive.
4. A box of tricks
It’s a good idea to fill a separate, smaller box with your child’s favourite toys, snacks and any other items that might provide entertainment or comfort. When the whole house is packed up and you’re waiting for the removal van, having access to a few bits and bobs will be a lifesaver when boredom hits.
5. Easy access essentials
Think about what you’ll need for the first couple of days and nights in your new house and put those in a separate box and mark it clearly. Pyjamas, underwear, shower gel, towels, wipes, a few plates, cutlery, mugs, toilet roll, snacks and lots of tea are a good place to start.
6. It’s never too early
Provided you have the space, there’s no reason why you can’t start packing even if your move is several weeks away. In the summer, start to pack away heavy winter coats and boots. Any occasional crockery and tableware can go into boxes too, along with non-essential books and games.
7. Meal prep
In the days leading up to your move, you probably won’t have the time or inclination to cook, so think about preparing meals for the freezer in advance. If you’re making things like curries, chillies and soups, don’t forget to cook portions of rice and pasta, and freeze some bread rolls too, to save even more hassle later. It also means you can pack up more pots, pans and utensils in advance so there’s less to do at the last minute.
8. Book a food shop
A pre-booked food shop for your first day in your new house will serve you well, especially if you’re moving to a new area and are unfamiliar with the lay of the land. You’ll also be so busy unpacking while trying to keep an inquisitive child out of trouble, a trip to the supermarket will probably be the last thing on your mind!
9. Last in, first out
Prioritise your child’s belongings, especially if they’re around during the move. Pack their things last and unpack them first when you get to your new house – this will save many tears and tantrums especially when they become tired and cranky.
10. Comfort in the familiar
Wait a day or two before using that lovely new bedding in your child’s new room. Giving them their usual duvet and cover (which haven’t been washed) complete with familiar smells of their old home will help them feel more settled in unfamiliar surroundings.