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5 Tips for Stress-Free Moving with Kids

When you finally decide to take a big leap and move, it can be one of the most exciting and stressful periods of your life. And if you’re a parent, double that excitement and stress based on the number of children you have.

There are just so many things to consider, especially if you are both buying and selling a home. From the exciting parts like deciding where you want to live and the house hunting, to the more mundane parts like signing contracts and dealing with lawyers about land transfer taxes, it’s really a mixed bag of emotions.

I get it – I have three young kids under the age of eight and we are in the process of selling our home and purchasing a new one. I can tell you firsthand, this experience is not for the faint of heart.

As we’ve prepped our home to go on the market and bought a new house over the last few weeks, I’ve learned many useful tips for making this entire process easier with children.

So today I want to share with you five tips on how you can make your move an easy and relatively carefree and –dare I say– even fun!–experience for your whole family.

1. Declutter, declutter, declutter

two boys packing up their toys in their bedroom

Long before you ever decide to put your home on the market, it’s critical that you first declutter your entire home. When you are selling, it’s important that you showcase your home as beautifully as possible and typically, having minimal items on display will help do just that. When we live in our homes, especially if you have kids, “stuff” tends to pile up in every nook and cranny.

The thought of decluttering an entire house can feel daunting, so start small, with one room at a time. I chose my kids’ bedrooms because I knew they would be the worst, especially those closets!

Tip: Take two garbage bags and one large box into the room. Label one bag “Donation” and the other bag “garbage.” In the box, place items you want to keep but don’t necessarily need out for everyday life (think stuffies or old school projects).

Bonus tip: Get a storage unit. This has been one of the best things we’ve done with this move. Because we lack extra storage space in our home, renting a local storage unit not far from our current home has been amazing to help declutter our space.

2. Hire a cleaning company

a bucket of cleaning supplies on a kitchen counter

Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

I can remember one of my first stressors when we decided to move was the thought of having to clean our home. While I would never say that our home was grossly dirty, it has never had a good, deep cleaning in the four years we’ve lived here. And with five people living here, you can image how the dirt has piled up. I’m talking all the neglected areas like baseboards, light fixtures and blinds – the areas I just never have had time to clean but knew dirt had been accumulating.

Hiring in a professional cleaning service was one of the best decisions we made during this process. They came in with a crew of four people and spent almost five hours cleaning our 2,500-square-foot home. Every nook and cranny was wiped, dusted, shined and left squeaky clean!

Tip: If you have carpet in your home, it’s a good idea to have the carpets cleaned before listing your home, too. Especially if you have kids or pets, the carpets are bound to get dirty. In our case, we had some unfortunate makeup spills, including a dark red nail polish on our almost-white carpets! Having a professional come into the space and give the carpets the deepest clean not only freshened things up, it also brightened the overall look.

Bonus tip: Along with cleaning, if you can hire a painter to give your walls a fresh coat of paint, especially in high-traffic areas like the foyer, kitchen and kids’ rooms, it will help the space feel fresh and clean!

3. Stage your home

A living room with dark furniture and white walls

Photo by Chastity Cortijo on Unsplash

One of the lessons I’ve learned through the process of selling our home is: not everyone will care for the décor I’ve chosen for each room. I love my rooms to be filled with art and decorative items, as I would classify myself as somewhat of a Maximalist. But that doesn’t always bode well when trying to showcase your home to potential buyers.

Removing personal items such as family pictures and expensive pieces of artwork or collections is a good idea so the focus remains on the home and not the stuff you’ve put into it.

Tip: Working with a home stager could help breathe new life into the space before listing your home. Especially in hallways or transitional spaces, stagers can add in or suggest items that might help make the space flow a bit better.

Bonus tip: When you have showings booked for your home, make sure to turn on all the table and floor lamps. This helps give a warm and inviting touch to the space while allowing ample light to showcase the room.

4. Hire a REALTOR®

a woman opening the front door to her home

One of the best decisions we made throughout this process of buying and selling was to hire a REALTOR®. As a busy, working mom of three young kids, I couldn’t imagine going through this process without a professional’s help. For many of the above tips I’ve given, like hiring a cleaning company or painter, our REALTOR® had all of those services lined up for us, so we didn’t have to worry about finding and vetting different companies. We just took his recommendations and they were in the house in a matter of days, getting the job done.

Tip: If you don’t already have a REALTOR®, take a look around your neighbourhood to see who is selling there. Those local REALTORS® are likely the experts in your area and can help market your home accordingly.

5. Get the kids involved

three children standing inside a moving boxa girl packing up her toys into a box in her bedroom

At the end of the day, the process of buying and selling a home with kids doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, we’ve actually found that throughout the process, not only has our home never felt calmer but our family works better as a team now than before. I think it’s because we’ve empowered the kids to get involved in the process. From asking them what they’d like in a new home, to getting them to help with the decluttering of their room, to rewarding them for keeping their spaces clean every day, it’s been fun to watch our kids work together to make our home the best it can be during this time.

Tip: While some might advise against this, we found that taking our kids to see perspective homes helped in our decision-making process. Naturally, many kids will be sad about the idea of leaving their home, especially if they have to change neighbourhoods and schools. So having them see the potential new homes and running around in them, imagining whose room would be whose, really can help make the transition easier in the long run.

Bonus tip: Give your kids incentives to help keep the home clean. Make it all about teamwork and empower them to be vital part of the process. We offered rewards for cleaning their rooms, emptying the dishwasher and helping with the laundry. Getting them involved not only teaches them responsibility but also helps lessen the burden of cleaning the entire home yourself.

a boy jumping up and down within a cardboard box

Moving can be a stressful time in your life, as it’s one of the biggest transitions you can go through. But implementing these tips can really help reduce the stress of a move – especially one with kids – and help strengthen your family dynamic.

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