The Dude Abides — and How to Survive a Move!

Apr 22, 2015

I know, I know, I’ve been a little quiet around here lately. I owe you an explanation . . .

Somewhere between the move, my two-year-old poking himself in the eye badly enough to require an emergency trip to the ophthalmologist (he is fine, but please note that when light orange fluid comes out of a toddler’s eye, it is frightening), and the first deadline for the Together Leader manuscript, my head popped off.

Well, not literally. I have to be careful now when I say things like this as my almost-five-year-old is just learning about expressions and figures of speech.

Anyway, we are now happily moved into our new home – just a mile down the street in my same DC-burban-town. I’ve moved at least eight times in the past fifteen years, and I think this time we finally did it right. Here are a few tips that helped us stay sane, Together, and fed. Note: Some of these tips would not have worked for our previous across-state-lines move, but they helped for a local move.

  • Establish a Command Center. Oh, how I love me a good Command Center. Because we were fortunate to have three weeks of overlap between houses, I set up a Command Center in each house to hold loose keys, bills, receipts and the like. I also included a Ziploc bag of car and house keys (we are prone to misplacing them), phone chargers, and a temporary inbox. The Command Centers also gave us a place to set down sunglasses and wallets when going in and out.

  • Make a Toolbox. In each location, I needed a tape measure (remind me to tell you about the moment our terrible, but awesome, basement couch almost got stuck!), Post-its to label corresponding rooms, trash bags, brooms, cleaning materials, plastic gloves, scissors and other materials to pack, unpack and clean up quickly.

  • Create a Survival Capsule. We pre-packed a few boxes with sheets, shower curtains, shoes, and silverware. Basically, I tried to imagine what items, if gone missing, could make somebody cry or mad (myself included) and packed accordingly to prevent meltdowns. I also packed another box with the coffee pot, cat food, a few of the kids favorite toys, and key toiletries. These were the first boxes I unpacked when we arrived at the new place.
  • Stock the Essentials. We became Costco members as part of this whole transition to suburbia, and so we pre-stocked the new house with paper towels, cleaning supplies, trash bags, Diet Coke, and hand soap. This was a huge help as we were cleaning the house, getting rid of boxes and bags and setting up the contractors to do some work.
  • Set Aside an Odds and Ends Box. This is basically the school equivalent of a Lost and Found. There are a lot of items you discover as you unpack that were placed in boxes incorrectly, or you’re not sure where they will live yet, or maybe the shelf they lived on is nowhere to be found—yet. We designated one box for “Odds and Ends” and dumped in items like a nightlight, some matches, and a stray tie.

And if you look very, very closely, maybe you will also be amused by the fact that one of the items in the Odds & Ends Box is my husband’s beloved copy of The Big Lebowski.

As for my favorite moving tip . . . keep your expectations very, very low. I don’t want to spend all night unpacking boxes, and you don’t either. While my husband is an unpacking zealot, I’m making us pace the work. In fact, I’m very good at living out of suitcases and boxes. I don’t expect to be fully unpacked until September, and then I doubt we will even have anything hanging on the walls until the fall.

And just for fun . . . here is the basement. We managed to clear the main floor and the bedrooms, but the basement, oh the basement!


Wish us luck!