I should be a moving expert by now. I’ve moved 11 times in 17 years. Once was to London, but that international move was just me, an exchange student with three pieces of luggage.
Moving a family with two kids internationally is a whole new ballgame for me though. EVERYTHING you own needs to have a decision made about it: toss/recycle/donate, sell, store or move.
Here’s a few things I’ve found helpful before a major move:
1) Sell, sell, sell. Be in the mindset that unless the items are irreplaceable or extremely sentimental, sell it. Believe that if you need something similar the universe will bring another one to you. Then sell like crazy. I recommend Craigslist.com. But also try your friends, neighbors and facebook peeps. Rummage sales are also awesome to do.
2) Make a master to-do list and post it somewhere prominent. Try not to cry or faint upon seeing how long it is (haha. no not really haha. Don’t faint).
3) Hire a babysitter or send your kids to childcare. When the sitter is here, I make a condensed to-do list just for that day. Otherwise I stand there with my head nearly exploding going “She’s only here for 5 hours! OMG! Where do I start?”
4) If you have time, digitize all or at least some of your CDs and photos. I was able to get some money by selling my CDs to the used book store and now the music is all neatly on my laptop!
5) As for kids toys, we took two approaches for selling the ones we didn’t want. Some of the little ones we just slowly made disappear and the kiddos didn’t even notice. Some of the special ones they saw us sell or donate, and we talked with them about getting new ones in Puerto Rico. Keep the kids toys that you are keeping out as long as possible. Then ‘spin’ the concept of packing them up by telling the kids a delivery truck will bring them! This worked for my 3 year old boy. I’ll even put his name on the package for a little extra fun.
6) Staging areas! In the basement I have three areas: one for things to go in the luggage (we’re taking 12 suitcases plus carryons), a pile of boxes to be shipped and a pile of boxes to be temporarily stored.
**12 suitcases?? yes. My Dad and Step-Mom will be flying there with us and taking 4 of our bags. GODSEND
7) Speaking of boxes to be shipped, we’ll probably have at least 25 of ’em so I’m giving each a number. I’ve started a fancy shmancy spreadsheet with the latest technology to keep track of what’s in each box, who I shipped it with, when, and the ETA.
8) You should implement a healthy diet and gets lots of solid sleep to stay healthy and sane before such a big move. That’s what you should do. We plan to do this once we move to Puerto Rico! Meanwhile, what keeps me going is:
9) And clean out that liquor cabinet of yours while you’re organizing. That booze ain’t gonna drink itself.