Are you moving your family this summer or fall? Late summer and early fall aren’t just the hottest times of year for weather—they’re also the hottest time of year for moving! This means prices are often higher and waits can be longer.
If you’re a single parent, add those concerns to the already lengthy list. Moving can be stressful, even when there are two adults sharing the burden. If it’s down to just you and you’ve got children to manage too, it’s an even bigger challenge.
Don’t worry, though, because lots of single parents like you have made it through their move and lived to share their advice! Here are some moving tips to help you keep your cool and make moving easier.
Plan Well in Advance of the Move
Children need structure and big, scary surprises aren’t good for anyone. So when you’re moving with children, it’s essential to plan well in advance of the move. Since there’s just one of you, planning ahead is even more important for a single parent.
Typically, at least three months gives you enough time to find good movers that are within your budget, pack things, and get your new home ready. You’ll need to leave extra time for the unexpected, because surprises will crop up.
Do Your Research and Reconnaissance
Research your new neighborhood and schools online well before the move, and keep your kids in on this research. They need to know about school ratings and activities, and what’s going on in your new neighborhood. Where are the parks? Are there events and activities nearby? How do people get around there?
Once you’ve done some research, conduct some reconnaissance. Visit in advance along with your children to get a sense of the place. Your kids will feel a lot more comfortable if the first time they see the new neighborhood isn’t when you pull up with all of your possessions in a truck.
We could all do with some decluttering around the house. If you get started on this before you pack, moving is both cheaper and easier, and unpacking is far less of a chore. Remember, some things cost more to move than to replace, and you surely don’t need everything in your house right now.
Donate or sell what you don’t need, and get your kids involved. They may be excited about selling off old things!
Tell your kids about the move as soon as you decide. Waiting for the right time may seem like a good idea, but they will know if you’re hiding something, and that will make it seem like moving is a bad thing. Instead, talk openly about the move. Give them a chance to vent, and stay positive—while being realistic and acknowledging honest feelings—even if they don’t.
Involve Your Kids
You’re all in this move together. When your kids help with the move, they also maintain a sense of control over their lives. This will help them cope during this time of transition. Let them help decorate, paint rooms, organize for packing, and label boxes, for example.
One of the biggest stressors for a single parent during a move is money, plain and simple. Create a moving budget and stick to it unless it’s absolutely impossible. Reduce unnecessary expenses by following a few smart tips: reuse boxes from local businesses; use things like towels, blankets, clothes, and old newspapers to pack and cushion boxes; move during the week and in the middle of the month if you can; avoid moving in summer if possible; deduct moving expenses where possible; seek out opportunities for paying utility deposits in increments.
Yes, this is expensive. However, you’re already a full-time parent, and probably a full-time worker, not to mention a housekeeper. DIY moving is a fourth job that you may not be able to manage. Prioritizing money for a moving company, or at least a budget option for a truck and movers, is worthwhile.
Use Your Support Network
While a moving company is worth your money, try to save dollars where you can. Depending on what your support network is like, this can mean more than one thing. For example, you might have friends and family members who will take the kids and pets during the moving of big furniture; you might have friends who can help paint. And everyone has friends or family who can make a meal or pack a box here and there.
Hang In There
Moving can be stressful or even overwhelming for anyone, and that goes double for single parents. Hang in there, though, because you can do this. With a few of these moving tips for single parents, you’ll keep your cool and be chilling in a new home before you know it. And, if you need a low-stress solution for furnishing your new home, you know who to call!