HOW TO SURVIVE A MOVE WITH KIDS AND NOT LOSE YOUR MIND

HOW TO SURVIVE A MOVE WITH KIDS AND NOT LOSE YOUR MIND

I recently moved my family of 6 kids from our 2000 square foot home that we lovingly renovated from top to bottom, to a 6000 square foot cabin in the woods (but steps from a Starbucks just ten minutes north of where I was before at the north end of Toronto, Canada!)

Let me tell you- it was difficult. REALLY difficult. I knew moving was going to be difficult, but I really underestimated how physically demanding, and how emotionally demanding it would be. I think being 4 months pregnant had something to do with the emotional element, but still, the last two weeks have been quite the emotional rollercoaster. 

So in an effort to help other moms lead more organized, intentional, beautiful lives (as I try to do in all my content), I bring you my top tips on how to survive a move with kids (and not lose your mind).

1. PURGE BEFORE YOU PACK

We decided fairly quickly it was time to sell our home because the timing felt impeccably right- so we de-cluttered, painted, repaired and staged fairly rapidly. As a result, I hired a moving company to pack up a lot of the extra toys, books and general stuff that wasn't essential and keep it in storage. I figured I would purge when I unpacked all my boxes.

THIS WAS A BIG MISTAKE.

When you're in your new home, you're still trying to figure out systems, storage, and logical places to put things. You might have to put in shelving or purchase furniture that gives you better organization. It is so much easier to do this if you have an accurate sense of how much stuff you are dealing with.

And honestly, it is just a hassle to have a bunch of stuff lying around that you know you don't need when you are trying to get organized in your new space.

SO PURGE FIRST!!! Caveat: the only advantage I see to purging after you move is that you might have a bunch of cardboard, garbage and other debris from unpacking, and you can hire a disposal company like Just Junk or Got Junk to come take away everything in one fell swoop. But honestly, save yourself a bit of physical energy and packing materials and purge before you move.

2. MAKE A SCHEDULE FOR PACKING

I consider myself a very strategic person. Strategy is #2 in my Strengths Finder assessment. But because I hired movers, I kind of thought that I wouldn't really have to think about strategy too much- they would do that. So I basically put off packing to the last possible moment, and again this was a big mistake. 

The movers I worked with have an option where they can pack for you- but it comes with an additional expense and so I thought I could save some dollars and pack myself. This probably would have been fine, except that I simply kept putting off packing, mainly because it was an emotional ordeal for me to pack up the house I have brought all 6 of my babies home to. 

What I wish I had done, was to make a really achievable, realistic schedule- maybe spread out over the course of two weeks, for example. And essentially given myself targets for packing- pack the living room by Monday, pack the storage room by Tuesday, etc. etc. 

I found what happened with me was that I kept forgetting about areas- like my outdoor sheds, or the area under the stairs, or all the things on shelves behind the laundry room door. This slowed down the actual moving day quite a bit as the movers were waiting on me to finish all these random areas, and I literally ran out of boxes on my moving day (and since I had not hired the company for packing they did not bring any extra packing material!)

So set yourself up with a schedule with lots of buffer, and things will run a lot smoother on your actual move day! 

 

3. HIRE MOVERS

I have a big family with 6 amazing kids- but that means I have 6 of everything. 6 beds, 6 sets of blankets, 6 wardrobes of clothing, etc. etc. etc. For a move my size I opted to hire professional movers instead of asking family and friends for help. There are loads of bonuses to going this route- you can purchase insurance if you choose so if anything gets damaged in the move you are covered, and of course you don't have to do the heavy lifting.

But the biggest benefit I see to hiring movers is that when it's 10pm at night, and you still have a hundred boxes to move, and you have been on your feet since the crack of dawn, the movers will stay, and have smiles on their faces. I have used the same company for clients and myself over the last 5 years or so, and I hire them back again and again because of the professional and positive attitude of the staff. 

Moving is tough. You can be met with a bunch of decision fatigue REALLY QUICK! To have a team to say, "let's build the beds first, then unload the rest of the boxes" is just so helpful. Trust me, you will make so many decisions on the day of moving from where to put furniture to what to order for lunch, it is so helpful to have a set of experienced professionals who will take some of this burden off you.

And did I mention you don't have to lift heavy items AND they assemble your furniture for you at your new place, making it so much easier for you and your children to settle in to your new home that first evening.

4. PACK PERSONAL ITEMS LIKE YOU ARE GOING ON VACATION

This is another area where my strategy just flew out the window. Because I wasn't that organized with the packing up of my home, a lot of things got thrown into boxes at the last minute- and even though I labeled them appropriately, a lot of essential things got misplaced (for example: my husband's computer charger got thrown into a random box labeled "office", and it took us a good few days to rummage through all the office boxes to find it!)

So pack the way you would for a vacation for every family member, in their own small suitcase or backpack. Things to include:

– medications

– personal toiletries (makeup, toothbrush, toothpaste,  soap, hair brushes, etc)

– clothing for a few days (including underwear and socks! I literally had to go buy all my kids underwear and socks the day after moving because somehow they got put in a box we could not find immediately upon moving in- we eventually found all their stuff but it was after several days of hunting and unpacking!)

– personal electronics like laptops, iPads, cell phones, WITH CHARGERS

– any books you read regularly or access daily (Bible, journal, favourite novel, notebooks or folders for work, etc.)

– personal comfort items for kids like their favourite toys, blankets, etc.

– any regular items you might use in a two week period for work or personal (I YouTube weekly and of course put the charger for the camera battery in a random box yet again because it was plugged in the wall when we moved)

5. MAKE SURE ITEMS THAT GO TOGETHER STAY TOGETHER

This might not apply to everyone, but I bet you can think of a few things in your life that don't work if they don't have their essential partner. Here are some examples of things that we encountered that we really should have made sure were DUCT TAPED to each other : ) 

– I already mentioned my camera charger above- I should have packed that in the camera bag along with the camera (so logical!)

– the remotes for all your TVs, DVD players, etc. 

– the safety magnetic guard and plug to the treadmill 

– keys that open anything important. We kept the key to our safe, which houses all our passports, birth certificates, etc. in a small dish on the shelf above where we stored our safe. Probably should have duct taped that to the safe when we moved, it was a legit miracle that we found it

– cables to your essential personal electronics

6. HAVE AN UNPACKING PLAN

Similar to point number 2, have a plan for how you are going to unpack- and involve others. I ended up hiring the moving team for a second day as I really wanted to have the house in order as fast as possible. This was great, but I actually wish I had taken it a step farther and enlisted family and friends who like this sort of thing immediately after we moved in!

What I did not plan for, that I really want to share in hopes it benefits others, is just how tired we all were after we moved in. It was a long day, followed by another long day, and once the movers were gone there was still so much to do! Again, this might be the pregnant mama in me talking but the physical act of moving really took a lot out of me.

What I would recommend is you enlist positive, supportive friends and family who can help you unpack. There are people out there WHO LOVE THIS SORT OF THING (big shout outs to my friends and family who came and provided this kind of support over the last few weeks). I do not.

There is something to be said for objectivity, and someone else coming in and helping you decide what to keep, and what to get rid of. It made the process move so much faster to have someone else there to keep me accountable and just fly through boxes without as much sentimentality!

7. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED AND BE GENTLE ON YOURSELF

Let me remind you that for ten years, I have made homes look beautiful as my profession. And for a good chunk of those years I worked on HGTV television shows where we literally did it in 2 days! LITERALLY. On Property Brothers shows I would literally take a house from post construction mess, to magazine image perfection, in a matter of DAYS. 

And I kind of expected I would do the same thing at my own place- but let me tell you, this was not the case. 

Upon moving in and actually using the house, we experienced all kinds of unexpected things. A toilet did not work, and when the plumber came to fix it, the pipe burst all over him and gushed all over the floor. 

Very unexpectedly, one of our children picked up a virus of some kind and had so much trouble breathing we went to emergency and thanks be to God after a good dose of steroids for her little lungs she was all better within a few days.

And on top of everything, my husband threw his back out and was basically immobile for a solid 2 days.

ALL OF THIS WITHIN THE FIRST WEEK OF BEING IN A NEW HOUSE.

So it meant that boxes remained in piles, and the home not set up for organization.

And I really beat myself up for it.

So the advice I would give another mom is that despite your best laid plans, things may not go exactly as you planned. Your spouse or children may not have the reactions you dreamed they would. You might be dissapointed in a few things, and wish things could go faster.

AND THIS IS ALL OK. 

And everything passes, and with time and intentional planning, your home will feel peaceful, and organized, and beautiful. 

EVERYTHING PASSES!!!! 

Things are finally starting to feel slow, and normal around here at our #canningcabin and I cannot wait to share a full home tour with you soon. I've been having loads of fun strategizing how to decorate this space, and how to make strategic budget decisions in a rental (did I mentioned we are renting in Toronto since we are planning to buy a home in the sunny state of Flordia?! I'll save that tale for another time).

What do you think- do you have nay tips on how to make moving easier on a family? Let me know in the comments below!

 

CREATING THE ULTIMATE CRAFT ROOM

CREATING THE ULTIMATE CRAFT ROOM

I wouldn't exactly call me a crafter (my lifestyle of 6 children and a business means I am more of a DIFM than a DIY-er), but I might change my ways after creating this space for my most recent sponsored makeover! I partnered with some incredible brands to create this craft room for the most gracious client who runs an essential oils business from home and boasts an incredible collection of ribbons, paper and paints for her various craft projects. We created a craft room that I think is pretty ultimate- here are some essential things to consider if you want to create your own:

1. KEEP IT COLOURFUL

If you can't have fun with colour in a craft room, where can you have fun? In this case, we went with a beautiful teal called Sylvan Mist by Benjamin Moore. It's soft and inviting but definitely saturated enough to be whimsical and playful! I think it's also a really fun accent to the MDF tongue and groove we applied to the walls from Metrie

And I had to add a bit of colour with the cabinet hardware. Shayne Fox Hardware is a newcomer to the Toronto artisan community and her hand-made in Toronto hardware really is a piece of art. We used her cast bronze knobs in bright bronze for a pop of contrast against the white cabinets. 

And again because it's a craft room and why not, we chose a bold colour on the chairs- these stools from Wayfair provide a fun pop against the white base cabinetry. And don't forget about accessories- even in stationary products you can incorporate colour like these paper clips and feather shaped pen holder (and pens!) from Home Sense.

2. KEEP PRACTICALITY IN MIND

A craft room has to be really practical- keep paint spills, sticky fingers, and general mess in mind! For this reason, I wanted a really durable, but beautiful floor. I used ErthCovering's Tivoli natural stone plank, which has the texture of wood but the durability and liquid resistance of stone. 

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And because it is a craft room, including a sink makes so much sense. We used the Delta Cassidy faucet, with Touch20 technology which allows you to simply tap anywhere on the faucet when the handle is in the on position. When your hands are covered in glitter glue, and the faucet is as pretty as this, you better believe that Touch20 capability comes in handy! I also love how the pull-down spout is integrated so elegantly in the design, and you can position elements like the spray toggle and handle as per your personal preference. Finally, I love how the Champagne Bronze finish looks with the SFH knobs.  

3. KEEP IT COZY

This room is in the basement adjacent to the backyard entrance and as a result, it is cold and drafty, especially in the winter. To keep it cozy, we put in the Celeste stove by Dimplex. My favourite thing about this electric fireplace is just how portable, and easy to install it is. It provides instant warmth, and a cozy atmosphere to a space, with very little fuss, mess, or expense. And this pop of colour in this carpet from Home Sense completes this cozy vignette!

And to help with that exterior draft, we replaced the window with an energy star rated, top quality vinyl window in white by Fieldstone Windows, and finished it off with Metrie's Very Square casing to keep the details contemporary. 

4. KEEP IT PERSONAL

Again, I feel like a craft room is where you can get really fun and personal. This homeowner loves the outdoors, nature, and essential oils! So I worked with Posterjack to create
all of the artwork in the room using personal photos to create unique pieces. With an assortment of styles and sizes to choose from including my choices Canvas Prints, Framed Prints, and Acrylic Prints you can really create a customized look featuring your own photos.
 

5. KEEP IT ORGANIZED

This is arguably the most important one! Keeping craft supplies organized (rather than jumbled in large plastic containers like mine currently are!) really is the key to an ultimate craft room. And the best solution to this, hands down, is strategic storage cabinetry. I partnered with Tailored Living on this project, a custom whole home organization company with franchise locations across Canada and the US. They provide all the tools to create effective storage solutions that will help you meet your organizational goals. In a craft room, this means a combination of shallow drawers for small items like essential oils and paper, base cabinets for tall bottles and jars, and tall cabinets for rolls of wrapping paper and banners.

Colourful baskets from Home Sense keep the interiors neat and tidy.

And the best part? Tailored Living will come and take care of it all for you. From free in-home initial consultation, to 3D design, quote and installation, you are guided through the process in a streamlined, organized manner. 

What do you think? Could you see yourself crafting up a storm in this space? Let me know in the comments below.

Special thanks to all the brands that partnered with me on this makeover. I work very hard to research the brands I work with- I love working with brands that will make your life more beautiful, organized and intentional. Opinions are my own. Photos by Dann Tardiff. 

If you enjoyed this blog post and seek even more organization in your life, why don't you join me and hundreds of others in my 7-day declutter challenge! Just enter your details below and you'll be on your way to a more beautiful, organized home!