A big family is a big joy, but also a big responsibility. And if you happen to be planning a house move with your family of 5, 6, or more, the responsibilities and challenges ahead of you may seem downright insurmountable. How can you possibly organize a trouble-free relocation and complete all the laborious moving-related tasks, while also taking care of all your household members (including pets)?
Well, moving with a large family will be difficult and stressful, there’s no way around it. Yet, you can make it go smoothly and efficiently and ensure the safety of your belongings, the well-being and contentment of your family members, and the happy end of your relocation endeavor. You just need to know how to move with a large family without giving in to the relocation chaos.
The simple, yet effective large family moving tips below will help you achieve this feat and turn the arduous moving process into a fun family adventure – the more the merrier, you know.
Plan it out
A house move requires meticulous planning, you sure know that. Yet, moving house with a large family requires more than the typical relocation planning – in addition to deciding on an appropriate moving date, creating a moving calendar, setting up a moving budget, hiring good movers, etc., you also need to:
1) Coordinate the moving plans with your family – Inform everyone in the household of your plans as soon as you start to seriously think about moving house. Hear out what they have to say on the matter and consider their arguments for or against an eventual relocation. (See also: What to do if you want to move and your spouse doesn’t)
Once you and your partner make the decision to move, hold a family meeting and discuss all the important moving issues (the best time to move, the best place to move to (city, neighborhood, etc.), the best new home for your family (location, size, type of dwelling, desirable features, etc.)) together. Share the information you have with all family members and make sure everyone knows when, how, and why the move is happening. The more they know (about the new home, the new area, the specifics of the moving process, etc.), the less stressed they will be.
2) Make your kids feel included – Moving is always hard on kids, but it is even harder when they feel as though they have no say and are simply being dragged from one place to another. So, make sure you communicate with your children during this difficult period – explain to them why it will be better to move house and answer all and any questions they may have. Assure your young ones that they will be as safe and comfortable and loved in the new home as they’re now and ask them what they would like to discover in your new city, what new activities they would like to try, how they’d like to set up their new room, etc.
Making plans for an enjoyable new life in the new place will help your children understand the benefits and opportunities the move provides, will spark their curiosity and adventurous spirit, and will help reduce the moving stress. So, make sure you stay focused on the positive aspects of the move and do everything possible to ease your children’s minds to the relocation.
Related useful read: How moving affects children
3) Decide on the best moment to make your move – When moving with a large family, you need to choose a time-period that will be convenient for everyone. So, take into account all the relevant factors when deciding on a moving date:
- How soon can you and your partner leave your current jobs;
- When do you start work in your new area;
- When do you need to leave your old home (because your lease agreement ends or you have already sold the property, etc.);
- How soon can you move into your new home (you may have agreed on a specific move-in day with your new landlord or the previous owners of your newly purchased property; the necessary (or desired) repair and renovation works may not be over yet, etc.);
- Will it better for your children to move during the school year or during the summer break (See also: How to move with a school-aged child);
- Do you prefer to move in the spring, summer, autumn, or winter (it is not only the ambient temperatures and weather conditions that change in different seasons, but also the road conditions and the movers’ rates and availability);
- Can you afford to move in peak season (from May to September);
- Are there any family holidays or previously planned events (vacations, trips, etc.) you need to take into consideration, etc.
4) Have a detailed plan, but be ready to change it – Planning ahead is essential for a successful move, but being flexible with your plans is just as essential, too. So, put a plan in place with the understanding that it will likely be changed… more than once. This will help you bring order to the moving chaos and will prevent stress when the plan does indeed change.
Organize it perfectly
Once again, organizing a house move with a large family will be much more difficult than organizing a standard relocation. You still need to have a detailed moving checklist and follow it strictly, purge your home and make a moving inventory, find the best movers for you and book their professional services as early as possible, take care of the necessary paperwork, get hold of appropriate packing supplies and pack your household, etc., but you also have to coordinate the moving preparations with all your family members.
To be sure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities and knows what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, you’re advised to assign specific tasks (together with adequate deadlines for their completion) to each of your family members – go through your moving checklist and decide who can best help with what (you and your spouse don’t need to do it all alone – a large family means a lot of helpers, after all). Hold family meetings at least once a week to discuss your achievements and the difficulties you’ve encountered, so that you can keep track of your progress and make sure everything is going according to plan.
Make it a game
As difficult and exhausting as moving usually is, it can also be a lot of fun – it all depends on your mindset and attitude. So, why not turn the laborious moving tasks into a game?
- Seek and find – ask your kids to find all out-of-season items (Christmas decorations, winter wear, etc.) or specialty items (sports gear, craft supplies, etc.) in the home and group them by type, so that you can pack them quickly and easily;
- Speed packing – give each of your kids a large moving box and see who will be the first to pack all their stuffed toys (or books, or games, or clothes – any non-breakable, easy to pack items);
- Treasure hunt – when the time comes to double-check your home for items left behind, tell your kids that a box of cookies has been hidden somewhere in the house (in the shower enclosure, under the bottom shelf of the kitchen cabinet, etc.) and challenge them to inspect the place and discover the treasure (while also bringing you any forgotten items they may find); etc.
There are many more moving games you can think of depending on your children’s age and abilities – what matters is to keep everyone’s spirits up and have fun while working together on the moving task at hand.
Bonus tips for moving with a large family
- Declutter your home – A big family means a lot of belongings – and moving a lot of belongings means higher moving costs (they’re based on the weight of your shipment). So, you’re strongly advised to purge your home and get rid of no longer needed items before the move – have a look in the attic, basement, and garage; check closets, bookshelves, and toy chests; go through every single piece of baby and kid clothing and plaything that you own and give some away to friends who have babies and young children, sell others at a garage sale, and toss the stuff that is no longer usable;
- Make a detailed moving inventory – Once you have sorted out your possessions, make a detailed inventory of the items you’re going to move to your new home – otherwise, it will be very difficult to keep track of everyone’s belongings during the relocation process;
- Collect and organize documents early – Obtaining and organizing all your families’ vital, medical, school, and financial records will take a lot of time, so it is a good idea to take care of the papers well in advance;
- Make labeling easier – There will be A LOT of boxes when moving with a big family, so you need to use an easy and efficient labeling system in order to bring order to the chaos. Color coding is your best bet – buy colored packing tape or color labels and assign a different color to each child and each room in the house. This will save you plenty of time and confusion when moving in – a simple glance at the boxes will automatically tell you where each one goes;
- Have all your essentials with you all the time – If you have a large family, you likely have several children of different ages and, therefore, need different items on a daily basis for each child. When moving house, make sure you have all these items packed in a separate essentials box that will travel with you – water, milk, juice, formula, bottles, medication, snacks, paper plates, plastic utensils, napkins and diapers, as well as coloring books and games to keep your children entertained during the move. It is a good idea to prepare a separate bag for each child to carry the practical and sentimental items most important to them (a change of clothes, their most favorite toys, most frequently needed personal care items, and anything else you think the kid may need during the trip and in the first couple of days in the new home);
- Ensure safety and peace on moving day – You can keep the older kids around to help, but try to find a place for the little ones to go for the day (grandparents’ or friend’s house), or see if a close friend or family member can come over and keep them occupied in a quiet room away from the moving chaos, or hire a babysitter – whatever you can do to ensure your little ones’ safety and well-being on moving day and get them out of your hair, so that you can concentrate on the urgent moving tasks at hand;
- Use the Buddy System – Pair every adult or older child with one or two younger kids and ask them to stay together all the time, no matter what. This way, little ones are always safe and cared for and things get easier for the parent or older sibling as they need to look after only one or two small kids;
- Make good use of today’s technology – Have your chargers handy to keep your phones, tablets, and/or laptops functional during the move – they will help you quickly find any information you need (moving tips, phone numbers, maps, location of lodging and food establishments), check the weather, keep in contact with family members and friends, entertain the children, etc.;
- Have a fun trip to your new home – When moving with children and pets, it will be much more convenient to drive to your new home. The trip will take longer (as compared to flying), but you will be able to stop whenever you want to, visit nearby places of interest and historical sites, play games in the car, and make the trip an enjoyable event that will help you reduce the moving stress and bond as a family. What’s more, you will be able to take a lot of specialized items and comforters for the kids and pets with you.
Last but not least – make sure you hire professional movers when moving with a large family. The experts will take much of the burden from your shoulders and will ensure your safe, efficient, and trouble-free relocation. Full service movers are your best bet as they’ll take care of your move from start to finish, assuring your peace of mind and giving you more time to deal with other important tasks and look after your large family.