Did anybody miss me? It has been a crazy busy week as we have finally had the yard sale that we have been procrastinating for the last 4 months and I have broken my toe twice – really. As I have been working and hobbling I have been looking forward to writing some things that have been whirling around in my head as this is a time of year that many people are moving.
I am continually astounded at how “stuff” accumulates. Did you know that the word “Stuff” is mentioned in the Bible 13 times across both the Old and New Testament? When I was growing up my Daddy would say with a twinkle in his eye, “A rolling stone gathers no moss”. He said it as if it were a disgusting thing to grow moss. I never heard of moss as being a good thing until many years into my adulthood.
Daddy was a contract CAD draftsman/piping designer & model builder and was sought after by companies to help them meet their contract deadlines.
When the contract was finished there would usually be another job waiting hundreds of miles away. He was known in the industry as a “job-shopper” and he wore the title with pride, literally. He and his fellow job-shoppers even came up with their own logo for t-shirts and belt buckles. The poor souls that worked directly for the companies they nicknamed “mushrooms” because it was said that they were kept in the dark and were fed dung (clean version). The mushrooms often resented the job-shoppers because their salary was often 1/2 that of these heroes that came in to help meet deadlines that they themselves had not been able to meet.
Because Daddy often worked with the same job-shoppers as their paths would cross from one job to the next, they became like family. Most of their families lived in one place while they would travel home once in a while so that their wives and children would not have to be continually uprooted. My Mama, however, was not going to go for Daddy being off somewhere without us girls (myself and 2 older sisters) and her. She believed that it was more important for our family to stay together and Daddy was more important to her than any house. Every one of Daddy’s co-jobshoppers’ families ended up divorced.
Many times I would get called from the classroom of my school de jour to meet my Mama picking me and my school records up. Without saying goodbye to my teachers or friends we would pack up on Friday, leave with a U-Haul on Saturday, drive hundreds of miles to our new city on Sunday and go to a new school on Monday. Many times our new home would be a motel or a kitchenette if the contract job was not going to be long enough to get an apartment lease. We moved on average every 4 months. By the time I left home at sixteen I had moved over 40 times. Even until this day, there is a certain homey feeling that I get when I walk into a motel room. Mama could cook a full course meal with just an electric skillet and a crock pot. I would come to our motel room after school to home baked cookies made in the tiny toaster oven. Also, she would have miniature mementos sitting around that she took everywhere like the china doll on the mantle in the “Little House” series. She made sure that we were never bored because she would have games and cards to play and there was almost always a swimming pool. She taught me how to cross stitch and I would draw for hours with Daddy’s drafting tools.
My favorite thing to do of course was creative writing. I also cannot leave out my imaginary friend “Elfie”. I would make him a new cardboard home everywhere we lived and furnish it with empty food boxes for beds and tables and magazine clippings for decoration. He had it really good!
Our “stuff” was continually weeded through from move to move. Mama always said that she didn’t spring clean. She just moved. There are several differences between our little family when I was growing up and my family as an adult. In the last 35 years, I have moved 14 times, 10 of those in the last 23 years. When my parents moved they simply packed a Uhaul with boxes, picked up our school records and my Daddy picked up his briefcase with his drafting tools. As a homeschooling mother with 7 children and a husband with an equipment business moves have been more like major exoduses. Many of our moves also included a menagerie of animals as well.
From an experienced rolling stone, I would like to give a few words of advice if your family is ever moving:
If you have children and you don’t HAVE to move then DON’T. It is expensive. It is hard on children and adults emotionally and physically.
But if you DO HAVE to move then make the most of it and read on.
Sell anything that can be replaced.
- Consider the cost of the space an item takes up to move it and consider selling everything possible.
- Plan on buying new (or good used on moving sales or ad sites) where you are moving to.
- Let this move be a new start and be adventurous by redecorating at your new home.
When you get where you are going sell some more. Have a moving-in garage sale.
We have learned that a great way to meet your new neighbors is to have a moving in garage sale. There were times that we had moving sales when we were leaving and met neighbors that we wished we had known while we were living there. New neighbors are curious and if you are sociable it gives them a nonintrusive way to reach out to you.
Invest in Rubbermaid type boxes instead of cardboard if possible.
There have been times when we have found plastic container boxes for not much more than the price of cardboard boxes. They last forever, are easy to handle, stack neatly, and fit inside of each other when empty. On the other hand, there is an argument for using cardboard boxes instead of plastic that you can read about here: Should I use plastic totes or moving boxes for my move?
Label every box with the room it goes to and a list of main contents.
This will help your helpers when you get to your new home and boxes are flying off of the moving truck. Unloading always goes faster than loading and things can get misplaced easily when they are stacked up everywhere.
Put everything in boxes or containers when possible.
It may be tempting to put small appliances, toys, throw pillows or etc in a moving truck lose but when you get to your new home the clutter of everything everywhere will add to the chaos. Everything being in boxes will also help to keep stuff from getting thrown around and broken while going down the road.
When my husband and I started our family business in Watertown TN and were approached by the area U-Haul manager about renting trucks for them I was so excited. I told everyone that when I was growing up, U-Haul was our family’s second vehicle. We never made much money as a U-Haul dealer but it was a blessing to help people that were going through life changes and moving. Here are several reasons I would recommend them (there are lots more reasons).
- The company has a super cool story of how they started and grew to become an American icon of family migration.
- U-Haul trucks are low making them easier to load.
- They seek out small family businesses as dealers so using them supports the little guys. Here is our old website with some more tips (Gerritsons U-Haul)
- They usually do price matching.
- They have excellent customer service.
Use the move as an educational experience for children.
Here are some of the little things my parent taught me in my life of traveling.
- How to read a map.
- North is always at the top of the map (except in Lousianna in some cases).
- Even # roads generally run North and South and Odd # roads usually run East and West.
- I learned how long a mile is.
- I learned math from deducting mileage to figure out “are we there yet?”.
The world is a HUGE place!
- Stop at Historical sites. Everywhere we lived Mama and Daddy would take us out to explore the new area. Many times we saw things that our neighbors who had lived there their entire lives had not seen.
- How to read a map.
Don’t lose touch with old friends.
Keep connected by mail, phone or on social media. If there had been Facebook when I was a kid I probably would have friends in the quadruple digits by now. Even now I have friends all over the world. Moving does not mean that we have to leave these special people behind forever. It is kinda like when my husband says that he has the biggest seashell collection in the world. He just keeps them on all of the beaches. That is how our friends can be. We have all been left behind too, but those venturing away are always still in our hearts.
Use this opportunity to grow closer as a family.
Throughout the years to come, each of your family members will take separate paths. But if we develop bonds when the children are young, if they do not have reason to become hard or bitter, then those bonds will remain when they are old and gray. Do not let the stress of moving get you grumpy at each other thereby planting seeds of strife. Stop and smell the roses, laugh a lot, and plant seeds of joy!
Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.