In January my husband and I moved cross-country with our dog and our baby. It was incredibly stressful, but we survived. A friend of mine is doing the same (sans dog) in June and asked me for advice, so I figured this might be a good topic for a post! This advice is primarily related to moving baby, since there is tons of good information out there regarding cross-country moves.
1.) When packing baby’s room, make sure to leave out those things that are essential so you can use them up until the day you move. For example, if baby loves his swing and likes spending time in it during the day, don’t pack it to get it out of the way. Inevitably you will end up unpacking it because you will be desperate.
2.) Don’t leave everything out. You have to be smart about this. If baby loves both swing and bouncy seat pick one and move on.
3.) Pack everything for baby in clearly marked boxes. If necessary, use a different kind of box for baby items than you use for the rest of the house. Write on the box where it should go, and what it contains. I know this is obvious, but be as clear as possible so you can easily locate and identify what you need after your reach your destination.
4.) Are you flying or driving to your destination? If you’re flying then you will only be able to pack necessities for the trip. Try to pack enough to get yourself through 1-2 days after move-in.
5.) Unpack baby’s room FIRST. Obviously get out the essentials for living: toilet paper, soap, towels, water, etc. for the rest of the house, but start setting up the room for baby as soon as possible. To facilitate this, if you’re using a moving company ask them to pack the items from baby’s room last so they’re the first off the truck. If you’re doing the moving yourselves then plan ahead for this.
6.) Get a babysitter for baby if possible. Can grandma travel with you to watch baby while you unpack? Do you know someone trustworthy in your new city that you can leave baby with for a few hours? This is significantly helpful. My mom flew with me when we moved here (hubby drove with dog since dog is a nutcase and would be traumatized for life in a flight), and it was tremendously helpful that I was able to really focus on unpacking for a few hours at a time with someone trustworthy watching her. Also, mom helped me with setting up baby’s room while my hubby focused on other areas of the house.
NOTE: Personally I would not feel comfortable leaving my child with a babysitter in a new city unless they came highly recommended by someone I do know and I met them previously. Obviously be smart and use your own judgment. I am not suggesting that you dial up someone in the phone book and ask them to watch your child.
7.) DO NOT be too hard on yourself- unpacking with a baby is really hard. Especially if you don’t have anyone near you that you know, it’s will be slow going for a while. That’s ok. Decide which rooms are really important to you and get those done first. After baby’s room I did one of the main bathrooms, the kitchen, the living spaces, other bathrooms and our bedroom. Sadly, I’m still not completely finished with our bedroom and we have been here for almost 3 months. If you need a nap, take it instead of unpacking one more box!
I hope this is helpful. Feel free to add your input with any suggestions I may have missed!
Thanks for listening,