{Hoosier Momma Moment} How to Move Cross Country and Not Kill Yourself

Exciting things are happening for our family, and apparently 2013 is a lucky one for us!

As if we didn’t have enough on our plate with planning a wedding and raising and infant, I recently accepted a job at my home away from home, Walt Disney World, so our little family is moving cross country!
The downside of ditching corn country for the sunshine state? We had a grand total of three weeks from accepting the job to starting it. Oh, and did I mention we have an infant?

This should be fun.
Ditch the You-Drive-It Truck

The biggest tip I can give to anyone who is moving out of state, move with the Pods system. Several moving companies offer pod moving, and it’s just been so much easier. They deliver the pods. You pack the pods. They move the pods for you. No more driving a UHaul on the highways. 

The downside? You have to plan for at east 10 days between pick up and delivery at your new place. If it were Justin and I, a week or so roughing it would feel like college. But now we have this infant who is just the tiniest bit high maintenance.

Our Pods were packed up yesterday so Justin and I have resorted to the early days in our relationship: crashing on an air mattress in a house void of furniture.

(Maisy’s room is especially depressing. And with the weather we’re having up here, it looks a little like something out of a horror movie…)

What to do in the meantime? We made what I call my “Snarffblatt” bucket list, full of things we wanted to do in our area before we left forever: go to a Silverhawks game, take Maisy to Lake Michigan, eat at Reddamaks. Fun family activities that didn’t involve (as Scuttle said in my favorite movie) “sitting around staring at each other all day. That’s very boring.” (Hence Snarffblatt, get it? Here’s the reference if you don’t)

This morning, I introduced Maisy to the wonderful world of blogging!

Keep, Donate, Toss

To prepare for our move, Justin and I wanted to put as little stress on us as possible when it came to loading and unloading; we wanted to make sure we both could handle everything while watching the baby in case we weren’t able to have anyone come help us. (We were very lucky to have Justin’s Lowe’s coworker, Jimmy, come and help us load up the Pods, and my dad will be meeting us in Florida to help us unload)

This meant we sold and got rid of a lot (and I mean A LOT) of our stuff.

When going through stuff, I have a fool-proof process. First I start in one area and divide everything into piles of reusable or trash. Then I move to another area. When I’ve finished the initial search, I immediately take the trash out. This helps me to not change my mind about something, and keeps Justin from saving a ratty pair of pajama bottoms he’s suddenly become attached to.

After the initial search, I go through piles again and resort into Give Away or Keep. I found that doing this twice and differentiating between trash and Give Away piles allows me to give more things away. After this sort is all finished, I go through the Give Away pile again and wade out any pieces that should really have been thrown away the first time but I was attached to.

It’s a long process, believe me, but totally worth it. After we had finished going through everything we had dropped our stuff-level almost by half. and donated lots to people in need.

Sell! Sell! Sell!

We held a Moving Sale/Going Away Party. We went through things we wanted to get rid of (in the Goodwill pile) and divided them into categories with corresponding bins around our home (warm coats/blankets, baby goods, women’s clothing and shoes, men’s t-shirts, etc). When our friends showed up, we let them know anything in the bins were up for grabs. No price tags, no haggling, just pay us what’s fair.

This turned out to be great for us because a lot of friends took pantry and cleaning items we didn’t want to move with, many took clothes I can no longer squeeze my post-pregnancy body into. Plus we drank up most of our remaining liquor, always a plus. And because they were our friends who love us, they were very generous with contributions because they knew we needed it. (The key to having a successful moving party? Have absolutely amazing friends like we do)

When the sale was over and done with, Justin and I took advantage of places that buy gently used clothing (like Plato’s Closet) or baby goods (like Once Upon a Child) and sold some of the things we were planning on giving away. These places do not pay top dollar, I mean, they have to turn a profit somehow. But we found we sold enough and got enough cash back for a few meals on the road, and that was good enough for us. (It was especially nice because most of the baby stuff we received as gifts but never used so we came out ahead.)

As an (recently graduated) English major, I have a lot lot lot of books. And it’s so hard for me to part with some of them; I love them like children. So I posted on Facebook that I was looking to sell my books, and for people to message me if they were interested in buying any of them. I would much rather leave my precious children books in the hands of a dear friend, wouldn’t you? This idea works great with DVDs, CDs, and Video Games too.

Finally, we utilized the amazing world of Craigslist. I was a bit tentative… I’d read all about the Craigslist killer and robberies over people buying things on Craigslist, so I told Justin he wasn’t allowed to have anyone come to the house until after all our stuff had been picked up (Good luck robbing a house with absolutely nothing in it!) or he would have to meet in a common location. So far our experiences have been great, we sold the surround sound, the TV stand, two book shelves, and a nightstand off Craigslist. Just to be safe though, Ladies, have your husbands home when someone comes to get something from Craigslist.

Selling and donating is an especially green thing to do when you move. So much less going into landfills!

But What About Baby?

Ah, yes. In the middle of all this crazy crazy moving and shaking, I have my precious infant with a cold, cutting a tooth. What’s Momma-hood without a little chaos, right?

The absolutely most important thing about moving with an infant is keeping them on their schedule, and MAKE TIME WITH THEM. Sounds pretty obvious, right?

But when you’re in the swing of bringing boxes out to your Pods and coming inside to grab more and so on and so forth, it’s easy to let baby quietly play in her play-yard or play mat and stop only to feed her.

Yesterday when we were loading up, Maisy was just so unhappy: crying, screaming, the works. But every time I would walk over to her and look at her or coo at her, she would turn her mood on a dime. After that, I started taking a half hour or so to play with her after feeding her. She went back to quietly playing while I helped Justin pack much easier.

We packed up most of Maisy’s toys and play things but we made sure anything we left behind with us could easily fit into the car. I condensed everything into two baskets that stacked one on top of the other. Because, let’s face it, the last thing you want to do is go digging for diapers in the parking lot of a truck stop somewhere in rural Georgia.

The baby essentials we kept behind? Four bottles, three bowls, two spoons, two pacis, one Wubbinub, two lovie blankets, three burp rags, 5 toys, her Pooh bear, her seahorse, a Pack ‘N’ Play, the Bobby, three bibs, a play mat, and the bouncer chair. (And, you know, of course diapers, wipes, formula, and solids) All packed into two neat little baskets, sometimes I wonder how I do it.

Road Trip!

Now here’s the kicker. This segment is written preemptively  If I don’t post for a few months after we make it to Florida, we didn’t make it. Send help.

The key to any successful road trip: PLAN FOR STOPS.

Someone will have to pee, the baby will need to be changed, your husband is going to see a Cracker Barrell and shout out for Chicken and Dumplings and you will have to stop. Plan for it. Book a hotel halfway on your route and save yourself some sanity, you’ll need it to move into your house later.

The physical act of moving your things from A to B is taken care of, trust in the Pods company, and worry about the idiots on the highway instead.

Pack snacks, make a playlist, put a few Doc McStuffin’s episodes on your iPad for the baby to watch. You will get there and it will all be worth it in the end.

Tell me your favorite moving tips! I love to hear them (I need them!)

It might be a few weeks before I’m up and running again here on Ally Jean but you can follow our adventures on Twitter or Facebook!

Thanks for reading!