So recently we have moved from the wine country of California, back to our rightful home in Florida on the east coast. This momma does love wine and loved living in wine country, but deep in my soul I’ve always known I’m an east coast girl at heart.
Moving with a toddler definitely taught me some lessons. For one, it’s super hard to try and do anything while they are awake. We had a pretty good amount of time from the time we found out about the move, to the time we actually moved so that did help a bit. So when Cameron went to daycare, my mother, who bless her soul was able to come out and help us, would pack up things we knew wouldn’t be needed, and other non essential items.
Once Cameron had stopped going to daycare, our days were a bit more busy with her at home, so then packing would happen when she would nap or once she went down for the night. My list making came in handy because I had a game plan for every week leading up to the move. I divided the weeks into rooms in the house, for not only packing, but cleaning as well so that we didn’t have so much to do right there at the end.
When it came to packing Cameron’s stuff, we tried to save most of it for last since a lot we were still using. The biggest thing was her toys, because we were going to get some stuff sooner than later, we had to sort through her toys for what she can have when we get to Florida, and the rest would be boxed up until October. The stuff we knew we wanted to open right away were what we kept for her to play with up until the night before we left. That way she was still entertained as the rest of the house was being packed away. Luckily for her and us she never really noticed she was missing toys. As far as her clothes and other items, that’s all going to be opened right away so that’s all being packed in a suitcase, or being bought once we arrive, like more diapers, food, etc. She also has stuff waiting for her in Florida, like a bed, bathroom items, and those sorts. Also, you can make toys or games out of any random leftover items in your house. Toilet paper rolls, deflated air mattresses, empty rooms all became our friends the last few days before we left.
We also learned that purging is your friend. You find all these baby items that you used or didn’t use, that you’re keeping around for probably no good reason. We also found tons of our stuff too that we no longer wanted or needed, so goodwill loved us!
We used the PODS system, so we were able to pack up the house the week leading up to us leaving, and strategically figuring out what’s needed ASAP, what needs to be taken in the trailer my husband was driving across the country, and what could be packed in suitcases that my mom and I would have. So once again my organization skills were being put to the test. Piles of this and lists of that is what kept me sane the past month.
So once we got the house packed, figured out how things and where things would go, there was the actual moving back across the country.
When my husband and I moved to California four years ago, we drove from Florida to California with our two cats over a weeks time. This time around, we’ve added four years to our ages and a child, who I knew would not enjoy being locked in a car seat on a cross country road trip. Not to mention, work responsibilities make for a not as easy time to take off a whole week to drive across the country. So, we made the decision that Cameron, my mother who is out here helping, and myself would fly back, and then a few days later, my husband and the two cats would load up the truck and trailer and drive back on a more concentrated drive that would only take 3-4 days. It also works this way a bit better due to needing more space in the truck for things we may need right up until the move. This way, Cameron only needs to travel for a day, which she’s done many times in her 20 months of life. We figured that was much easier for her to handle.
One final note that I’m taking away from packing/moving with a toddler is to keep their routine as normal as possible. We still try to keep her activities normal, all her meal times and sleep times the same. If we know she’s going to be napping, we make sure there is no need for us to enter the room she’s in. If we had to pack up the POD while she was up, we made sure the one person who wasn’t carrying furniture or loading, was entertaining Cameron outside in sight of us so she felt included. Trying to keep meltdowns as minimal as possible.
Have you ever moved with an infant or toddler? Any tips or advice? What worked or didn’t for you?