Helping Kids Prepare to Move

Happy June!  School is out.  Escrows are closing.  People are moving.  This morning I heard on the news that people would rather go to jail than move.  I burst out laughing – I know what they mean.  I see it every day in my career – no one likes packing and moving.  I remeber my last move, which I packed by myself (next time I’m hiring someone). By the time I got to packing my kitchen – I was at my wits end.  I think I broke down in tears over a mound of pots and pans – right after I banged them together in dispair.  I laugh now – but looking back – I can relate to the sentiment.  So today – I thought I would share these articles about moving.  One is dedicated to the kids – the young and young at heart and the other a great moving to-do list.


Mindful Moving – Helping Kids Prepare to Move

Moving can be an overwhelming process. When you move with children, regardless of their age, it can be a challenge to stay mindful of the impact on you and your kids. Leaving their old home for a new one, saying goodbye to friends, and disrupting their regular routine is stressful and difficult to handle.

You may not be able to completely eliminate the challenges of moving with kids, but there are ways to minimize the stress that can help ease the process for them. In this first part of our Mindful Moving guide, you’ll find tips about involving your children, visiting the new neighborhood, and packing a moving-day bag.

1. Involve Children in Decisions When You Can

  • Have them help you narrow down the homes you’re considering by house hunting together. If it’s practical, take your children to see prospective houses with you. If you’re searching online, bookmark your favorites so your kids can have a look-see.
  • When you’ve found a house, ask them to map out their new bedroom. If old enough they can draw a floorplan with cut-outs of their bedroom furniture that they can move around, and let them choose a new paint color. Create a mood board with colors and favorite pics of bedrooms on a sheet of construction paper.
  • Ask for their input on, for example, their top three choices for new wall color or new carpet in the family room.
  • Let the kids pack a few of their own moving boxes with their special items to be unpacked first, like their favorite stuffed animal or Nintendo game. Explain that it may take a week or two for all of the moving boxes to be unpacked, so they should keep everything that they want close by in their “special” box. They can even customize the moving box labels with their names, and for younger kids, let them decorate their boxes with stickers—they’ll love it!

2. Visit the New Neighborhood Together

Sometimes, circumstances or distance makes it difficult to visit the new neighborhood with your kids before moving day. But if you can, plan a visit that includes taking a walking tour of your new neighborhood, the downtown area, and their new school.

Before you visit, buy a copy of the local newspaper or its online site to find out what kids-oriented activities are happening during your visit. A visit to the local sports field or recreation center or library may help get them excited about their new town.

3. Pack a Moving-Day Bag

As a surprise, pack a special bag for each child with snacks, games, and toys. Maybe even mementoes like pics of their old home, friends, and school as keepsakes. Bring it in the car (or plane) with you to help them focus on positive memories rather than leaving their old home.

Once you’ve arrived at your new home, let your child unpack their special bag and set out a few personal items in their new room and make sure you have that floorplan ready of their room so the movers know exactly where to put everything.

Especially with young kids, minimizing change is essential. Try to keep things familiar by maintaining the same morning and bedtime routines, and maintaining family traditions like Tuesday taco nights or Saturday family movie nights. You won’t be able to keep everything the same, but the little pieces you preserve in the transition can make a world of difference.



Moving To-Do List

Moving to a new home can be exciting as well as stressful with so much to do and remember. Use this checklist to get all your ducks in a row and make your move as smooth as possible.

2 Months Prior:

  • Get organized. Keep all the items related to the move, such as receipts, quotes, and insurance documents in one area such as a drawer or binder.
  • Know the rules. If you are moving because of a work transfer and are receiving a relocation budget, understand your company’s moving policies and rules to limit non-covered costs.
  • Research. Compare at least three moving companies, noting price, availability, and included items vs. extras. Request an on-site estimate when available for a more accurate quote.
  • Document damage. When moving a long distance where you’ll be relying mostly on the movers, document any noticeable furniture damage with photos. Discuss what coverage the movers have in case damage occurs during the move.
  • Inventory. Make a list of your valuable items. Note any items that will require special packing or extra insurance coverage and make arrangements accordingly.
  • Separate. Sort items into four or five piles: keep, donate, recycle and toss. If you have enough items that you’re getting rid of to justify a garage sale, make a fifth pile for selling.
  • Transfer records. If you have kids in school, go to their school and arrange for their records to be transferred to their new school district.

1 Month Prior:

  • Hire. Now that you’ve researched movers, it’s time to hire. Make arrangements for other things that will need to be moved, such as cars if you do not have enough drivers to transport them to your new home.
  • Stock up. Purchase packing supplies such as tape, boxes, labels, and moving paper.
  • Sell. If you’re going to have a garage sale, now would be the time to do it.
  • Inspect. Make sure all inspections are being done on your new home and arrange to fix any problems that arise before moving in. If your new home comes with any systems that may not fall into a standard home inspection, such as a built-in surround-sound or high-tech pool equipment, arrange for a specialist to inspect these items before you take ownership of the home.
  • Take measurements. Measure rooms in your new home, if possible, to start creating your new furniture layout. You’ll also want to measure door openings to ensure furniture will fit through, or start getting creative.
  • Get a head start. Start packing things that you won’t need in the next month, such as seasonal items, spare closets, and basement or attic items.
  • Label. Clearly label each box with the room it should go to for an easier moving day. Keep anything you’ll need right away in a separate box and make sure it is easily identifiable.
  • Make a plan. Create a packing plan, ensuring everyone in the family knows their job. Plan the order in which you will pack up each room and when it needs to be completed by.
  • Make another plan. Create a plan for your family and the movers of what will go where in your new home. Most movers will only place furniture once and will not rearrange if you do not like where you originally told them it should go, so plan carefully.
  • Request time off. Depending on your job, it is a good time to ask for a few days off from work to ensure you have ample time to pack, move, and unpack.

2 Weeks Prior:

  • Confirm. Confirm all the details of your move with the movers, such as date, time, and expectations of what special items you may have, such as a piano or pool table.
  • Change your address. Forward your address through the USPS to start the day of your move.
  • Utilities. Make the arrangements to disconnect or transfer your current services and utilities, such as cable, internet, phone, water, gas, and electric. Arrange for service to be connected at your new home.
  • Make a list. Take a few moments and write down everyone who has your address so that you can notify them of your move. Along with your family and friends, this list should include bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, doctors, cell phone provider, tax forms, voter registration, and of course the DMV.
  • Clean. Clean any areas that you’ve already packed. Plan to clean the rest of your old home, or make arrangements to have it professionally cleaned. If the previous tenants of your new home haven’t do so already, you may want to arrange for your new home to be cleaned and painted before your arrival.
  • Financial arrangements. If you are moving to an area that will require you to switch banks, make sure any outstanding checks you’ve written have been cashed. If you have a safety deposit box, remember to clean it out.

1 Week Prior:

  • Pack, pack, pack. This is when the bulk of your packing should be done. All of your drawers, cabinets and closets should be mostly cleared, leaving only essentials out. The kitchen usually takes the longest since it is full of delicate dishes and glasses, so you’ll want to get this done early. Remember to clearly label any boxes with breakables with “fragile”. For an easier move, pack all dishware and use paper plates and plastic silverware. Plan to eat out a lot or order takeout during this last week in your home.
  • Dispose of hazards. Don’t move with hazardous or potentially messy materials such as paint, oil, and weed killers. Drain fuel out of mowers, ATVs, dirt bikes, and discard propane tanks from grills.
  • Arrange payment. Most movers will require a credit or debit card to hold the appointment date. If you would prefer to pay by cash, money order or check, ensure the mover is expecting that so that your card doesn’t get accidentally charged. Also, you’ll want to plan for a tip the day of the move. Typically, a good tip is 10-15% of the total cost of the move, which is usually about $20-25 cash tip per mover for an easy move, all the way up to $100 for a particularly long or difficult job.
  • Pack a survival kit. Pack a bag with items you will need during the move and immediately when you arrive at your new home. These items should include toilet paper, a few dishes, glasses and silverware, toiletries, towels, and a change of clothes. If you’re moving long distance, prepare for the scenario that your items may take a few days to arrive.
  • Pack a cooler. One of the last things people think about on moving day is eating and drinking, but you, your family, and the movers will undoubtedly get thirsty and hungry. Plan ahead and pack a cooler with bottled water, snacks and a few sandwiches for moving day.
  • Clean. If you don’t have a professional cleaner coming in, you’ll want to do the bulk of your home cleaning a few days before the move. Thoroughly clean windows, floors and carpets, counters, appliances, bathrooms, cabinets and closets.

Moving Day

  • Double-check. Double-check everything you’ve scheduled to happen on moving day is going to go according to plan. Confirm arrival times with the movers, house cleaners, and utility people such as cable and gas. If you don’t already have the keys to your new home, check when you can pick them up. Ask when your utilities will be shut off at your old home and turned on in your new one.
  • Contact information. Make sure each of your movers have your contact information, exact moving address, and maps if needed. Keep the mover’s direct number with you in case you need to call them during the move.
  • Paperwork. In the hustle and bustle of moving day, it may be tempting to sign something without reading it first. Read all paperwork the movers ask you to sign carefully, including the Bill of Lading, waivers, and any inventory list they provide.
  • Extra packing material. Keep a few boxes and a roll of tape handy for any miscellaneous items you come across.
  • Direct. If you’re too busy during moving day to be present in your new home, designate someone else in your family to be there the whole time the movers are there to tell them where to put boxes and furniture. It may be a good idea to lay out plastic across any carpet to prevent stains.
  • Final walk-through. Do one last walk-through in your old home to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything, opening every drawer, cabinet and closet. Keep a few cleaning supplies with you, like all-purpose cleaner, paper towels, and a vacuum for a last minute touch up.
  • Cash. Be sure to have enough cash on hand for the move for tip, and a little extra for food and last minute items.

After Unpacking

  • Safety first. Make sure you have all necessary safety precautions in place in your new home. Locate and test fire extinguishers and detectors, change the locks, and change the alarm code – if there is one.
  • Check your list. Compare your inventory list of what you packed to what you unpacked to ensure everything made the move. If you notice any damage to your furniture or other items, compare it to the photos you originally took and contact the moving company if necessary.
  • Update. Refer to your list that you created of everyone who needs your change of address and update them.
  • Deposit refund. If you’re moving from a rental, make sure you follow-up with your previous landlord about your security deposit and when you can expect it back. Some moving companies also require a moving deposit to hold an appointment. Make sure you’ve gotten that returned or know when you can expect it.
  • Repairs. Complete quick repairs that need to be done, including changing light bulbs, fixing light switches, touching up paint, etc.
  • Sit back, relax, and enjoy. You’ve earned it. Take a load off and enjoy your new home!


I read this article at: FirstAm Home Warranty

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The Caton Team - Realtors

Sabrina & Susan are native Californians - born and raised in the Silicon Valley with a passion for Residential Real Estate. A mother and daughter-in-law duo called - The Caton Team. With over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time. Call | Text at: 650-799-4333 | Email The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true. The Peninsula is our backyard - let us help make it yours. We represent Buyer’s and Seller’s throughout the Bay Area. The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina A Family of Realtors Effective. Efficient. Responsive. What can we do for you?

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