How to Pack and Move with Toddlers: Part 1

by Melody on August 23, 2012


In case you missed the big news, we sold our house!  We found out while we were at a friend’s house for a BBQ and there was quite a few really awesome high fives handed out.  And then I had a beer to celebrate.  And then I was in shock.  I had never allowed myself to think about what it would be like if we sold the house, not even once.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up, only to have something fall through.  But this was solid.  Concrete.  We sold our house.

After one full week of planning and packing, I decided I can write the official manual on “How to Pack Efficiently with Toddlers”.  Follow these steps exactly.

Walk around the house for about 3 hours staring at all the things in your house, uncomprehending.  Let your eyes glaze over a little bit while trying to make some kind of decision.

Decide exactly where you want to start.  Go grab a box.

Stop.  Make lunch for your kids.  Make lunch for yourself.  Clean peanut butter and jelly off the bottom of the dining room table.  Forget where you were going to start packing.

Find something and put it in a pile.  Feel accomplished.  Make yourself a cup of tea.  Turn around to find your children pulling things out of your pile and strategically hiding them around the house.

Let the kids go outside to play.  Think about packing some more.  Realize that you haven’t heard the kids in awhile.  Stop thinking about packing.  Run down the street to find your 2-year old in front of the neighbor’s house watching them mow the lawn.

Nap time.  Blog so your readers don’t think you’ve forgotten them.  45 minutes later, go lay with your 2-year old and sing “You Are My Sunshine” repeatedly while he tries to stick his finger in your eyeball.

Accept every single offer of help that comes your way.  You have boxes?  We will take them, absolutely.  You want to drop them off?  Even better.  You want to mind the kids?  You bet.  It’s probably more fun than watching their Mom throw out all their broken toys that nobody plays with but insists that they are “My FAVORITE”.  You want to come help us pack?  Fantastic.  You want to make us dinner?  Perfect.  How about tomorrow?  This is no time to be noble and pretend you can do it all yourself.

Side note: Did I mention I have amazing friends?

Start pulling things out of the kitchen cabinets that aren’t everyday items and that you shouldn’t really miss.  Plan to put them in a box.  Stop.  Feed your family.  Clean up after your family.  Three days later, notice that your kitchen counters are still covered and nothing has made it into a box.  Think seriously about just throwing it all away.

Any time someone stops by to visit and say hello or help, offer them something from your packing adventures.  Would you like these five random tea bags that I’ll probably never use?  Are you SURE you don’t want this extra apron that I’ve never worn?  How about this stack of 10 foam cups I found hiding in the back of the pantry?

Realize that your children’s lives are probably in more upheaval and turmoil than yours when your 3-year old asks if his bed and toys will go to the new house.  Sit down and try to explain what’s going on and make him feel more comfortable.  Make it sound super cool that he is sleeping on a mattress on the floor.  Think about explaining to your 2-year old, but after he punches you in the face and runs away giggling, realize it’s probably not worth the effort.

Celebrate your oldest son’s birthday, celebrate your husband’s birthday, celebrate your birthday.  Take a 4-day trip to Vegas.  Take your little brother on a college tour.  All while attempting to maintain your sanity.

Eat lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Let the kids turn the house upside down because, well, the house is already upside down.

Take pictures of things you don’t want to forget.  Take pictures of the front door that opened to welcome your newborn babes.

Attempt to enjoy a few peaceful moments of joy, realizing that after 7 long years of saving and sacrificing, you are moving into the house of your (realistic) dreams.  The chaos and destruction are only temporary.

Stay tuned for Part 2.  It will most likely be next week.  Or after we move in to our new house.  Or never.  Did I mention we are trying to pack and move with toddlers?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Desi August 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Lol..we are moving out of state in December and am starting to pack now because I know that getting anything done will be near impossible with my almost one year old. Your post makes me laugh. I know exactly what you’re going through!


Jennie August 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm

You’re hilarious. My boys are 4 and 2 so I am COMPLETELY tracking with you here. Anytime you have a desire to post something like this, go for it. I’m in stiches over here. Love your writing and love your realness. Way to go! So very happy for your and your family!!! 🙂


Sara Anderson August 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I was cracking up and then about half way through I started to tear up, what? Oh my goodness Mel I’m so glad you can find the humor in all this. I just love you!!


Lynn August 23, 2012 at 10:04 pm

I love the part about taking a picture of the front door, that opened to welcome your newborn babies. Melody, you know what is important in life!! You make me smile.
I’m so proud of you! Congratulations on your new house!


Trina September 16, 2012 at 12:07 am

The front door part made me tear up. And then smile again with this: “Attempt to enjoy a few peaceful moments of joy, realizing that after 7 long years of saving and sacrificing, you are moving into the house of your (realistic) dreams. “


Sarah August 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm

I’m there with Sara! So glad you can find humor in the chaos…you know no other way, right? And I teared up about the picture of the door 🙂


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Stephanie August 24, 2012 at 1:30 am

You said it perfectly! Ben and I said that this house was going to be our “starter” home, and then after the move we were like, we’re NEVER moving again!


Tera August 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Love love love this post! We have a 2 year old and 7 month old and plan to move within the year, so I can totally relate with the chaos. Thanks for the laugh and the helpful tips. 🙂 Congratulations on your new home!


Rebecca August 28, 2012 at 1:46 am

Oh my, that was funny, and perfect timing as we are in the middle of buying a house right now! With a 6,4 and 1year old and being 6months pregnant I am not looking forward to the process. Thanks for keeping it real!


Catherine September 24, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I just loved this post. It made me laugh out loud and I came back to read it again.


Christina October 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm

That was me this year, we moved from Washington State to Florida with our 3, 5, 8, 10 & 14 year olds. Plus our 120lb dog.

I am still unpacking, we got here six weeks ago.

I’ve read bloggers who unpack in a week….I hate them.


Melody February 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Ha! Bloggers don’t unpack in a week, they hire people to do it so they can take pictures. Four months later, this is why there are still no pictures of our new house on the blog. 🙂


Maggie May 25, 2013 at 5:35 am

This is my life. Exactly. How did you know? I am so glad to hear that I’m not the only one. And of course, right at the moment my children are blissfully sleeping and what am I doing???? Not packing. But I’m reading about packing so that’s almost the same thing. 😉


Melody May 25, 2013 at 7:16 am

It’s definitely the same and exactly what I would be doing. Good luck, it’s a crazy ride, that’s for sure!


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