Whether you are moving to a new home or remodeling your existing home the experience is likely to be filled with both excitement and frustration. Even though you look forward to the final results, moving or remodeling upsets you daily routine and may cause conflict with your busy lifestyle. Keeping things in perspective and household belongings in their proper place can alleviate much of the chaos associated with temporarily uprooting your family and living in suspended animation.

Unused items

While getting ready to move or remodel your home you will encounter items you’ve forgotten you had tucked into closets or still in storage facilities from your last move. Resist the urge to add them to your arsenal of items that must go with you. Unless they are a family heirloom, getting rid of them now will alleviate stress and make moving easier. Sell them in a yard sale or donate them to charity, but resist the urge to take things with you that you haven’t used in years.


Boxes are your friend. Whether you are moving across the country or simply emptying out the living area of your home to prepare for remodeling, keeping your family’s belongings organized is vital to your sanity. This means using boxes to move and store items. Although old boxes can be used, they have tendency to tear or rip. Purchasing new boxes in several sizes keeps you organized and makes stacking and handling them easier.


It may seem like a waste of energy and time to go to the bother of printing labels for you boxes, but when the time to find your items, you will be glad you did. Create labels on your computer for each room in the home, and labels for each child’s bedroom. But, don’t stop there. Print four labels for each box to be pasted in the upper left hand corner on each side. This makes it possible to read the label on the box at a glance without sorting and lifting boxes to find the mysterious label to identify the contents.

Emergency Box

Each person in your household should design an emergency box filled with the items he uses every day. This box serves as your home away from home and contains personal items you simply can’t live without. Think deodorant, styling products and that favorite cuddly toy that your little ones can’t sleep without. Include pillows, bed sheets, favorite bedtime books, nightlights and a clean set of pjs to make that first night in a new home a success. Emergency boxes can get you through tough times without having to scour through boxes to find just the right item.


Designate a storage area for boxes that aren’t needed right away.  Labeling your basement or garage with printed signs indicating the rooms the items ultimately belong in helps to keep things organized and points you in the right direction should you need to locate an item.

Loading the Truck

Hold back on those emergency boxes you prepared earlier and tuck them into the end of the truck when you load it up for a move. These items should come out first, allowing tired kids and parents to get what they need without unpacking the entire truck to find it. You will appreciate your foresight when you can tuck junior into bed with his favorite pillow and stuffed toy and he will feel more secure with his familiar bedtime items in his new room.

TV’s, video games and children’s toys also belong at the back of the truck. Although they may not seem important to you, they will keep kids occupied while you are busy unpacking and arranging the home.

Calming Kitchen Chaos

Most of us have more kitchen gadgets and cooking items than we know what to do with. Under normal circumstances, tucking them into the back of drawers or under cabinets may keep them in order, but when moving or remodeling time rolls around, you need a more proactive plan to manage your kitchen utensils. This is the time to pare down kitchen items and store everything you don’t use on a daily basis. You’ll be surprised how well you can survive with a saucepan or two, a stovetop griddle and your favorite frying pan.

Simplify Meal Time

For short-term management, think paper plates, plastic cutlery and the backyard grill for your cooking needs. This eliminates the need for washing dishes and keeps your kitchen free of clutter. A picnic in the backyard will keep kids occupied for hours, especially if you include a healthy round of s’mores to the adventure. Not only will this help with the chaos of moving and not being able to find what you need, your kids are likely to see it as an adventure building positive feelings for the new home.

Nannette Richford is a freelance writer from rural Maine where she lives with her family. When not writing about gardening, she can be found working in her garden where she has grown flowers, herbs and vegetables for over 25 years. Richford has extensive writing experience in gardening and landscape and has been published in influential online industry publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate), Garden Guides and Yahoo! Shine. She also publishes her own website Maine Garden Ideas. Follow Nannette on Twitter.

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