top tips for moving house……….with kids

I love how things sneak up on you….like moving house! We are just a week out and I’m getting my butt into gear and doing what I do best……… at the last minute. We had a few little dramas yesterday like the removalist having us moving to the wrong place and on the wrong day. Thankfully we are all good now and I’m hoping that’s the worst of the things that could go wrong.

So let’s talk moving with kids………..this is our 5th house and we’ve done a few moves. Not as many as you defence families have probably done and growing up in the navy means that we moved every 2 to 3 years so my mum was certainly the queen of moving house compared to me. But I’ve put down some top tips and things I’ve learnt over the years that have made things run smoothly

1. leave out some suitcases for toys, clothes and things you’ll need before you’re settled

Packed For 3 Weeks

2. take a laptop and dvds with you to keep the kids entertained when all the furniture is gone and you’re cleaning or waiting to be settled and have the tv set up at your new home. This is a lifesaver when it’s getting late in the afternoon and no one is happy….parents included. Everyone is tired and cranky and watching their favourite dvd (albeit on a smaller screen) with some pillows is great entertainment

3. leave out some plastic plates, cutlery and drink bottles. You need to eat and drink. We love to have rice crackers, le snaks, bananas, yoghurt and some jelly snakes (treat food!) for the day of the move to keep everyone happy and lunch might be a pie or some sushi from the shops but at least we have snacks covered.

4. give the kids a box each to help pack their room. We have the packers doing most of our packing but the kids love to get involved and have packed up their knick knacks and bits and bobs and enjoyed it. Keep it simple and they’ll have fun.

5. be prepared for the barbie shoes, bobby pins, lego, tissues, socks and odd shoes behind beds and at the back of wardrobes. Wow when we left out last house I couldn’t believe the number of these items down the side of the kids beds! Maybe it was because we were moving house with 4 kids but I had to run around with a bag and pick it all up

6. Get a cleaner or friend in to help with the clean. I used to have a great lady lily who would come in with her team and clean my house in half a day and that was all they did. Exit cleans. I can’t find her anymore as she left the agency so for the last 2 houses I have helped my cleaner. We start early and in opposite parts of the house and get the house clean on the last day. It leaves one of you to mind the kids – but also gives the kids some water and a chux and let them do some dusting and help you too. They’ll last about 5 minutes but it’s fun. But if you can get a cleaner in it really lightens the load. I always seem to be pregnant when we move so having someone else do the oven is a great help too. Leave out all of your cleaning products, 50 million garbage bags ( you can never have too many garbage bags when moving) and a broom and vac and you’ll be done in no time.

7. Camp out at the new house.………this is something that we just love to do. We’re doing this time too, no hotels just airbeds, pillows and doonas at each house. I’ve got a jug and toaster set aside so breakfast is covered, dinner is usually takeaway but the kids think it is the best fun. It means you are there bright and early for the removalists and the kids have figured out the best bedrooms and explored the house. It is also a great way to save money too and especially for large families.

8. Get some help in with the kids if you need it.…..if your neighbour or friend offers to take the kids for a few hours say yes. I’m so bad at saying no but say yes and you’ll knock over a few jobs faster if you have the house to yourself for a few hours.

9. Do all of the disconnection/reconnection/change of address stuff at least 2 weeks before you move. This has really lightened my load knowing that the paperwork side of things is done and let’s hope it runs smoothly. I always seem to have problems with the internet.

10. Say goodbye to your neighbours! Always make time to say goodbye to your neighbours and leave them your new address in case any mail /deliveries or the new owners need to forward something to you. I’m going to miss our neighbours so much when we move as they have just been so lovely and friendly to us but I know we’ll have them out to our new house which will be great.

All Cleared Now

11. Do your pantry and fridge ahead of time and not at the last minute! There is nothing worse than arriving at your new house and the bins are full of food and stuff from the previous owners. It really pays to do your fridge, freezer and things that will cause rubbish just before your last garbage collection. If you have lots of rubbish that isn’t food then take it with you to the tip or to your next house if you can. I can proudly say that I’ve done the pantry and this weekend is freeze and fridge before rubbish on Sunday.

12. Take photos! It’s great to look back on especially when the kids are older as you are making memories moving into your new home.

13. Leave a box or two open on the last day because we always seem to find things at the back of cupboards, in the laundry, in the garage that need to be packed so having a spare box or two that last minute things can be chucked into is great and means you aren’t lugging bits and pieces in your own car to the new house.

And that’s it from me……… to hear your top tips for moving with kids and what has worked with you


  1. Great moving tips Corrie. I can’t wait to see your new home. I think the worse thing about moving is the exit clean. And yes bobby pins everywhere. Good luck with settling into your new home xo

  2. We are a Defence family and we do all of that too! Only difference is we usually have to stay in a hotel for up to 2 weeks at a time as we only ever move across the States, or to new ones! Last year we moved from Townsville to Brisbane with our 4 little people and we did it via driving which was great fun.
    In June we are moving BACK! Only difference is I am doing it on my own, as my husband will still be deployed. We are flying back though and only have to stay in the hotel for 4 nights.

    My main tip for moving with kids, is to make it an adventure, and if you are moving to a new area no matter if it is close or far away, do some research so you can add in the ”sights” of their soon to be new home town so they can get excited about what there is to do. We always move schools so I could keep on going but I won’t. :-)

    Oh, and start packing as soon as you can. And do the dump run FIRST, so you don’t pack items and stuff you won’t intend on using in the new home.

    Thanks for the great read,

    • yes you just made me realise! if we stay in a hotel we try to do it down in manly so the kids are right near the beach and things to do! great tip! I don’t know how you do it, it was tough growing up and I’m sure I said I’d never marry anyone in the navy:)

  3. Christie says:

    Cleaning behind the fridge and the washing machine ….arghhhh those fluff monsters just grow in multiples….dislike moving and cleaning immensely and usually get to the other end and just want to sit there with the boxes for a few weeks!

    • yes! thankfully this fridge is staying so that is kind of nice! but oh yes the dryer and under things, the things you find!!!!!!!

      not looking forward to the other end but at least it’s holidays

  4. Fashionista says:

    Retro Mummy you are a legend! The reason we have not moved house for the last 17 years is that I cannot bear the moving process (oh and I refuse to pay the exorbitant stamp duty the Victorian government charges on property transactions). Prior to this house we had moved 5 times in 10 years.

    All the very best for the big day :)

  5. Yes definitely take photos! It’s so easy to forget in all the moving stress, but you look back and wish you had some!
    Good luck with the move- such an exciting time!

  6. Engracia says:

    Good luck with the move Corrie, I always have a box or 2 labelled “first night” which has the bed sheets, towels, cutlery, plates, cups & basic dry foods for first night first brekky. Also I try to move on a weekday so kids are at school/preschool/daycare. Oh and don’t forget to kennel pet or have a neighbour/friend look after pet.

    Good luck. I’ll be thinking of you.

    • oh you are organised!!!!! better than me! I’ve never had a first night box – I’m impressed!!!!!!!!

      thank you! we are so excited and can’t wait…..for the move to be over:)

  7. anne seery says:

    Hope it all runs smoothly, Corrie :) Some great tips there xx

  8. What great tips. Getting a cleaner is what I should of done on our last move, but it just didn’t cross my mind until I was in the throws of it. After the removalists packed everything in the truck we then had to the clean the house and then drive to our new house 700 kms away during the night because the removalists would be there at 6.30am. We stopped at a truck stop for a snooze and my daughter who 9 at the time wouldn’t sleep because she didn’t have her pajamas on!! Like you say it’s making memories, at the time it was a nightmare but now we can laugh at it. Another couple of tips is also watch what the packers are packing. Our house was packed up in a day by about 6 men on the eve of the move. That night we had to go looking for detergents and cleaners because they had packed them. Even though they were told not to. Keep valuables like jewellery with you so you know exactly where they are. Pets also need a bit of consideration. I hadn’t given much though to that only buying the dog a dog seat belt but we also had a rabbit . So I had dog and child in one car and my husband had rabbit in his car (he got the better end of the deal, I think lol). Good luck in the move Corrie and remember to rest as well.

    • oh my gosh! I feel your pain! I learnt early on with the cleaner and has saved me every time! it’s another bit of cash to have out to pay someone but always worth it!
      glad you got there in the end, as stressful as moving is we do always get there in the end

  9. Okay – been there and done it so many times. I agree with all of your points. And I have moved pregnant or with a new babe umpteen times… Cleaning lady is a must. Last thing you want to do and in military housing they inspect your house when you leave!! For dirt!! Definitely a kennel and child care – I took my babysitter to the new location (often only 2 – 3 hours away) and they looked after the kids at both locations – took them to the park so they weren’t in the way when the fridge came in the house. Try to pack each room independently so that when it lands you don’t have to look for the pots and pans for 10 boxes. We weren’t allowed to unpack because of insurance reasons so we always had to wait. And I like the idea of BOX 1 – with the basics (kettle, coffee maker, cutlery, scissors, basic tools, sheets etc for the beds. Good luck. Hope they don’t drop anything.

    • thank you! some great tips! I’m doing a bit of packing in each room just of valuables and things that are in bits and bobs

  10. Kristie says:

    Great tips Corrie, love your pic’s :) We moved back in December – moved ourselves…. lucky it was just around the corner and we had time to get out of the Rental into the new house we built. Took most of the kitchen to the new house but left 2 of everything we needed at the old house.

  11. We went through about 10 years where we were transferred every 10-13 months. There were so many boxes we never bothered unpacking, but we have since gone through them all and only kept the things we really, really want. The best tip we have is to have one box set aside with everything you will want your first night in your new house such as sheets, towels, nappies, plastic plates, cutlery, cups, toaster, jug, coffee, snacks and cereal. That way you don’t have to search through several boxes before you can get tired and cranky kids to bed. And a hot cup of coffee is at hand. It’s the most important box in the move so label it well. Good luck with your move Corrie. You must be feeling a mixture of excitement and sadness. You did such a wonderful job of your current home. Will your Magnolia grow from a cutting?

  12. Fabulous tips Corrie (not that we plan on moving anytime soon!). I’m excited for you (and a little bit exhausted!!).

  13. Good luck Corrie. Moving is hideous and I feel anxious just thinking about it! I’ve moved 13 times in my life (I’m now 45) and I think about 3 moves ago, my baby ended up living in the same onesie for 3 days!!

    What I don’t understand is how we have so many trailer-loads for the tip every move. The clutter seems to multiply in every new house by itself!

    All your tips are brilliant. My other tip is, if friends offer to help (they always do and I used to say no), now I invite them all at the same time for a packing party. A bottle of champers and some cheese is all you need. I think my 4 friends packed up my entire kitchen in about 20 minutes one time while I got on with the stuff that only I could do in other rooms (sorting, etc). Lots of laughing and chatting was coming from the kitchen though!

  14. Really good advice as always and I agree, if anyone offers help always say yes please!

  15. What fantastic tips Corrie! We are moving again in just under 2 weeks time (our 6th move in 4 years!). Luckily my family owns a removalist company so apart from fuel costs (moving within the same town) we receive that service for free. We considered paying packers and cleaners, but in the end, even though it’s a lot of work, I prefer to do it all myself. I don’t even let my fiancé help, I just know what he would pack like haha. I have a 21 month old daughter, who luckily has been spending lots of time with Grandma, while I pack and somehow I have managed to pack the majority of my place im about 2-3 days. Only our bedroom, bathroom and garage to go!
    One handy tip though that my Mum told me, is that when packing cupboards, clean them out as soon as you’ve emptied them. It works a treat and is a great time saver.
    You should be commended for moving with multiple young children. I know just one is currently driving me insane! But I am so excited to move. I love new houses!

  16. Great article, Corrie. These tips may come in handy

  17. I have two kids at the age of five and seven and we are going to move out of our apartment. I already feel the stress but here I found some incredibly good tips. Thanks a lot for this article!Regards!

  18. Thank you so much for this article! I have a five-year-old daughter and with her and my husband we are going to move to another town. I explained to her what is going to happen next month and I think that she is not sad but excited. He talks about her new room with hours and also wants to choose the colors. Wish me luck with that enthusiasm!

  19. Thanks for the great tips, I’m about to move in 2 months time from a rental to a house we bought. We have been in this house for nearly 9 years, I have a 6 month old, 2 yo & 5 yo!! Feeling anxious already but trying to start now & we have a project plan, I’m reading a lot on tips for packing & moving to help! It’s a big change for us but also for littlies to settle into new area. I will be accepting ALL offers of help from friends as no family here & a cleaner is a must plus get removalist to dissasemble beds & cots & put back together so we just have to make them up. Wish me luck!

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