Reality: Houses sell before you find a new one. New houses are seldom ready when they are supposed to be. Like many other families, this was our family’s reality this spring as our house sold much quicker than we expected.
Signing on the dotted line seemed surreal until I embraced everything that meant for us while we waited for our new home to be built. Not only was it daunting to even find a place that would rent to us for less than a year, but there were also a whole host of things that I wasn’t prepared for.
Before I knew it, my role of Mommy turned into Moving Coordinator and Master Juggler.
My Survival Tips for Navigating a Temporary Living Situation:
1) Get Perspective.
More than 100 million people are homeless in the world. In our city, thousands of people don’t have a house or are in an undesirable living situation, so living in a two-bedroom apartment or with the in-laws is not the end of the world. When you start to grumble or feel inconvenienced about this or that, remember to be grateful for what you have.
This perspective helped me realize the in-the-moment crisis-of-the-day is nothing compared to what it could be.
2) Manage the Move.
Get a binder, notebook, or use an app like Evernote to track all the things that are happening and the timelines exploding around you. No mommy can master the daily grind plus every coming and going surrounding the move. Changing addresses on every bill, warranty, or account you hold, turning off electricity and Internet in one place and turning it on in another, plus arranging manpower for both moving days is a lot to handle.
Find a way to organize everything happening in your life before the insanity sets in. Ask for help with the kids or meals when you need it. Don’t try to be Super Mommy. Strive to be Sane Mommy.
3) Plan Ahead.
Keep a journal for a few months before you move. Keep track of things you “need” and those you don’t use that often. This helps you make a list of what you think you’ll need with you and what you can either sell, donate, or store. Keep a list of what you have with you and what’s in storage. Said list will come in handy when you’re looking frantically for Princess Merida and she was in storage the whole time.
If you need to keep things in storage, I highly recommend one with 24-hour access – ideally, close to where you’re going to live. And make sure you keep the key in a happy place. Don’t forget to keep out necessities like a plunger. Toilets still overflow in apartments.
4) Downsize Belongings and Responsibilities.
Moving requires you to play “survival of the fittest” with all your belongings. There are likely things you think you all “must have” but later find that isn’t the case. We live with far too much “stuff,” and living without all that is way easier than we thought. Have a garage sale, help a local charity, or donate all the things that aren’t absolutely necessary.
The same reduction needs to happen with your family calendar. Evaluate what activities are important to you and which ones can go. Say no to the extra day camp or family reunion during this time of transition. All those committees and boards you serve on? They will exist without you for a few months. Your “every-night-at-the-ball-field” schedule will resume promptly as soon as you’re settled. Promise.
4) Make Friends with Your Neighbors.
Having kids in an apartment is, well… complicated. Kids jump off the couch and slide toys across the floor loudly. They drop things off the balcony onto the patio below on a daily basis. Meet your neighbors early on so you can ask for grace. And when the fire alarm is pulled at midnight, it’s easier to be on a first name basis anyway.
Our family has met more new people in this last four months than we have in the last two years. My daughter has made more friends from different cultures and experienced multiple new foods and activities, and that is a huge blessing.
5) Stop Hoarding.
Dear Costco: I love you, but you breed hoarding behaviors in me. Those Bare dried apple chips? It’s not really necessary to buy three bags after all. Learn to buy just enough food, cleaning products, toilet paper, etc., for the short term. Resist the urge to save the $.08 and just say no.
Think before you buy anything, and consider where you’re going to store that item while you’re in the middle. I’m learning to embrace the “if you can’t store it, you can’t have it” motto.
There you have it mamas… proof that you can manage the crazy going on around you with a few simple tips.
This Type-A Personality, Control Freak, I-Live-for-Consistency Mama