We are in the fortunate position of not being in a rush. We can take our time and spread it out over months if we want. I’m hoping this will make the transition for my kids (and myself) easier, but we’ll see. (And this starts off as a basic packing list, but there’s some parental psychology stuff mixed in so stick with me. Aden doesn’t want to go, so I’m not going to tell her to. I’m going to see how long it takes before she asks.)
Step one: Start with everything the kids won’t notice and does not impact their day to day lives.
I want to move my shop first. It’s my own special favorite room and I’m looking forward to organizing it fresh. I’ll pack up my wood and tools and cart them across the street and probably lay them all out in the kitchen so I can keep reusing the same couple of boxes every trip. When all the bits and pieces are moved over I will find a couple of strong friends (who like pie) to help walk over my desk and workbench and drill press and anything else I wasn’t strong enough to already do myself. Once the whole shop is put together and ready to use, I can turn my back on it for awhile and know it’s waiting for me as a treat when the rest of the move is over.
After the shop is in place, I’ll move on to the storage items. The new house has much better storage space, so I’m really looking forward to the odd things we own having a home. We spend a lot of time in our current house just shifting things around, and some stuff I really don’t know what to do with. For instance, my grandmother had my wedding dress professionally boxed up. I can’t get rid of it, but I have no idea what to do with it. I have saris I wore in India that I doubt I will wear again but don’t want to part with. I have interesting bits of wood and old negatives (remember negatives?) and an electric bass I never play but won’t sell. And much more. My highest hope for this move is that I will lay my hands on everything we own and really decide what to do with it. I’m hoping a bunch of it can go, and what’s left will have an accessible home on a shelf and not be forgotten. (I’m so excited by the idea of sorting everything that even if disaster strikes somewhere between now and closing, I would even consider sending the kids away somewhere for a couple of weeks, emptying the existing house, and moving back into it more neatly. Yes, the clutter has driven me that insane.)
Step two: Take all the pictures off the walls. (My parents own an art gallery, so this is no small task.) That’s just a lot of simple trips across the street and back–nothing to box or wrap. I will store all of those in a corner and when we are all moved in, I will spend an enjoyable day hanging things.
Step three: Start boxing books. This one is a pain. I remember when I filled out an application to a charter Montessori school for Aden before she got off the waiting list for the public one, there was an innocent looking question on the form asking how many books are in our house. I came up with a rough estimate of 3,000 if I’m remembering correctly. If I’d thought to add in cookbooks and some of the textbooks hidden by the toy shelves it would be higher. I’m not looking forward to dealing with the books. Every time we’ve moved and Ian has had to lug my books somewhere, he always takes a moment to show me how light his library card is. But hey, I’m also a geology geek, and it’s better than the boxes literally filled with rocks he’s had to haul around because he loves me. This time Ian is not here, so I get to move my own rocks and books as well as his library card.
Step four: The doodads. One of the things I love about the new house is not just the storage space, but the display space. There are surfaces available for vases and rocks, objects both beautiful and weird, important bits of art and highly sentimental pieces that I’m looking forward to having out finally. My mother is probably reading this and feeling alarmed tha I’m going to clutter things up in the pretty new dining room, but not to worry! With the new storage available I will rotate things—I’m not going to display everything at once. I will box the doodads and enjoy sorting through all of them with my kids later in a home game of show and tell.
Step five: Now we start dipping into the real spaces. I’m going to move over everything from the kitchen but the most basic things and start stocking the new fridge with the things the kids like. All the snack crackers, cookies and bananas will be in the new house. The old house will be a wonderland of vegetables. (What’s that, Aden? You want grapefruit? Well, let’s walk across the street and have some!) I’ll also start moving over all the bathroom items that aren’t often used. (Hot rollers from the 90’s? Can’t part with those yet, but now they’ll have a drawer. Plug-in heated foot bath? Yeah, there’s time for that–in some parallel universe where my novels also get published and my kids remember to put their shoes away.)
During all of this time I’ll have let the kids start working on their rooms. Quinn’s will be purple, apparently. With orange rabbits. I’ll let him pick whatever he wants off the sample cards at the hardware store and all the kids can help. I play fast and loose with paint so they can do whatever makes them happy. I’m hoping by decorating their new spaces they will start getting attached to them. Mona wants her side of the room to look like the sea. I’ve been going through old photos that show anything of their current room but the best I can find are these:
The far end of the room is Aden and Mona’s and it’s split down the middle, purple on Aden’s side and yellow on Mona’s. The front half of the room is Quinn’s and it’s all blue with clouds. The funny thing is, I painted shapes among the clouds (a bunny, a sheep, a duck) but the kids find shapes in the regular clouds I made. They see a mouse and fish and bird somewhere. I wanted them to have defined spaces that were their own, even if they were all sharing a room. Aden and Mona are still going to be sharing a room at the new house, so I need them to get coordinated about what they want to do. Aden currently has no opinion because she’s trying to look more victimized, but I think once Mona starts going at her half of the new room with bright blue paint and picks out a new comforter covered with fish, Aden might start taking an interest.Other fun with paint in our home:
Step six: Big furniture. Living room and music things go across the street. We disassemble the guest and dining rooms. Bookcases and cabinets move. Most of my bedroom moves, and some of theirs. This step involves lots of friends and pizza.
Step seven: Clothes. All but a few basic outfits per person, across the street.
Step eight: Here is where I hit the kids where they live. Moving the bulk of the toys, the art supplies, and the TV. My thought is we can keep sleeping and doing meals at the old home, but more and more be spending time in the new one. Eventually we’ll do all the meals there, and I’ll have to get them up early to cross the street with me to have breakfast before school.
At this point I’ll work on fixing up the old house and freshening it up for sale while I wait Aden out. I have no idea how long she can take our house just being her mattress, a blanket and a stuffed bunny, but it will be interesting to find out. My hope is she will volunteer to move over and we will go and have a little party and all will be well, but it’s hard to say. As bad as she is at change, I was much worse at her age, so who knows how much of my stubborn gene will come back to bite me in Aden form.
So that’s the plan, at least for the moment. It evolves and mutates as I play with it in my mind while I wait in line at the bank or fold laundry, but I’m excited about it. I think this move is going to be a really enjoyable distraction, and I’m looking forward to emailing Ian pictures at each stage. (If only having a new house didn’t involve losing two of our favorite people as neighbors–Paul and Melissa, we’re going to miss you guys.)