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You Are Here: Home - Newsletters - "Get Organized" - Article

The Frequent-Mover's Card

I remember back in the late 80's when frequent flyer programs and cards were becoming very popular, due to the increase in business travel brought on by prosperous times. Today, however, our global economy has necessitated the growth of another trend. More and more people and families are RELOCATING to new cities, states, and sometimes countries for their companies. For those folks who do this often, there should be a frequent mover's card! I know we would have one. My oldest daughter is not yet four years old, and she's lived in four states. Hopefully, this will slow down for us before she enters school, but in the meantime, it has taught us a lot about how to PLAN for a move and how to prepare ourselves for the CHANGE. Perhaps others would benefit from our learning experience. I've compiled a list of things to think about when moving so that your move goes a little easier.

Hopefully you'll have some time to get organized before your things have to be packed. It s a good idea to use this time to go through your belongings and PITCH whatever you don't want to take to your new home. It's easier now that it will be later when you just want to get settled and find places for everything so you can get rid of those pesky boxes!

Make a list of all your UTILITIES, and don t forget garbage collection (like I did a couple moves back), and stop service with them accordingly. If at all possible, it's best to wait until you have a FORWARDING address for the utilities so that you can still correspond for billing purposes. When canceling your telephone service, have your new number handy so that they can give that information when callers try to reach you at your old number, if you care to have that information available.

Make a list of all the places you will have to NOTIFY of your move -- for instance, you will want to tell all of your doctors and dentists so that your medical records can be forwarded. Don't forget about your insurance companies, creditors, and other legal entities. Also, you'll need to let your church know, as well as any other ORGANIZATIONS to which you and your family belong. Check with your homeowner's association to find out if you are entitled to any of your dues back, pro-rated during the paid year.

If given the choice of having the MOVERS unpack you when you reach your destination home, think very hard about whether or not you want this. It has been my experience that it is much easier to unpack yourself. When you do this, you are able to attack boxes in the order in which you choose. Having the movers unpack for you has one advantage: they will REMOVE the cartons and packing papers for you. Other than that, you will feel as though you are much more in control of the task when you do it yourself. And your things will not be SCATTERED all over for you and your family to wade through until you can make a decision about where they go.

Have two boxes set aside just for you. First, have a LAST MINUTE box set aside in which you can toss important things -- items that you'll need up until you walk out of your house. This might include cleaning supplies, rags, your telephone, a stray coffee mug, picture hooks, or whatever you might find as you do your final walk-through. The other box can be pre-packed with EMERGENCY items you might need when you get to your new home, just in case there is a problem with the delivery van:
  • PERSONAL HYGIENE supplies (soap, razor, towels, etc.)
  • box of crackers, jar of peanut butter, knife
  • plastic pitcher, package of drink mix, paper cups
  • cooking pan, package of pasta, jar of sauce
  • extra diapers and wipes
  • BED LINENS, bed pads, and blankets
  • telephone and answering machine
  • toilet paper and garbage bags
  • small tool kit
  • children's books and maybe some for you too
  • favorite toys
  • CHANGE OF CLOTHES for all family members
  • personal address/phone book

This box should travel in the family VEHICLE to ensure its safe arrival and to make sure it s with you at all times, since they represent emergency items. Make sure you have set aside important DOCUMENTS pertaining to the move, mortgage papers, closing documents, etc. And always have your checkbook, credit cards, and driver's license with you.

If your spouse is already working at the new location, that means you are by yourself -- taking care of these delightful details. If your friends offer to take your children for you so you can think straight for a couple of hours, LET THEM! It will save your sanity and that of your loved ones, as well.

Talk constantly to your children about the move. Tell them every DETAIL you can think of. It's important that they can envision strange people putting their things in boxes before it actually happens. Tell them how the boxes will go on a big truck along with the beds, couches, TV, video tapes, toys, beanie friends, dishes, etc. Explain how the truck will safely take your things to your new house and put everything inside! Have your children draw PICTURES of what they think will happen, and then talk about what they draw. As soon as you are in your new home and have a minute to breathe, and before you do anything else, take 20 minutes and have a CELEBRATION party. It might be as simple as cookies and juice and singing a couple songs. Your children will need to feel a part of the activity -- and they will need your focused, stress-free, and loving attention. Finally, take your children's picture sitting on the front porch of your new house on moving day. It's a special moment and a good one to record.

After you've been moved in in for a day or two, let your children write notes (with your help, if necessary) to their friends that they will miss. As crazy as this sounds, try, try, try to enjoy this EXCITING time. Children pick up on our stress, and you want them to feel that this very big change is a good and happy one. If they struggle with moving away from friends, explain that you understand how much they will miss their friends, but the very important thing is that you are together as a family.


Mia Cronan is a stay-at-home mom and editor of the Main Street Mom web site, which offers support, humor, inspirational stories, great articles, and much more. You may visit her website at and subscribe to her weekly newsletter at . Mia may be contacted at .

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