Category Archives: Moving

Why I Make a Home…Every Time (#loveyourhome)

There’s a story/post I’ve been wanting to write for a while now and just never made the room in my post schedule to share it! It’s the story of why I do what I do to our house even though we move so much. About why I think it’s worth it to hang curtains on the windows and pictures on the wall, even when we’re only “here for a year.” I’m clearly passionate about making a home no matter where we are or for how long, but I’ve never really told you why! When my friends over at Porch.com asked me to participate in their #loveyourhome series, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to share it!

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Ten years ago this fall, I married my Marine husband and then one week later, boarded a plane for Okinawa, Japan. On-base housing was full when we arrived, so we moved into a teeny, tiny apartment out in town to wait for housing to become available. After only living on the island for about 6 weeks, my husband then deployed for a few months. I was a sad, overwhelmed, and lonely 24-year-old newlywed living in a sterile, empty apartment all by myself on a foreign island in the Pacific Ocean. On the phone one day with my Mom, she sensed my sadness and offered: “If I sent you a sewing machine, would you use it?” I said yes, and it arrived a few weeks later. For days, I sat at my kitchen table all alone and taught myself to sew. Using the included manual (no blog tutorials or YouTube videos then!), I figured out how to thread and use my machine. I hunted around the island for fabric and then dove in to making curtains and slipcovers, placemats and pillows and more. With pretty things on my walls and windows, the island life outside my door didn’t feel so overwhelming anymore because I had a happy place of my own to figure it all out and fee safe.

A few weeks later, I was excitedly talking with one of my newly-made friends about all the fun things I was making and doing to our little apartment. I was bursting with pride, and the ideas were literally bubbling out of me as I gushed over my newfound passion. Almost immediately, she said something to me that I have carried in my heart ever since:

“Why are you spending so much time, money and effort on a place you’ll only live in for such a short period of time? It seems like such a waste!”

While I remember her comment clear as day, I actually don’t remember my response. (She obviously didn’t deter me, because I’ve been decorating all of our homes ever since!) But now, all these years later, I know what I should have said and what I’d say now. I look back and realize that with my simple sewing projects at my kitchen table in Okinawa, not only did I turn that little apartment into our first home, I also learned a very big lesson: It’s important and valuable to make a home you love.

As military families, we find ourselves in all sorts of living situations. Some are once-in-a-lifetime-opportunities (hello, Japan!), some are not (ahem, Camp Lejeune, NC). Some places top our wish lists, while others are places we don’t ever want to go or go back to. But because we support our service members and took on this lifestyle too…we go. More often than not, we end up living far away from our families, the places we grew up, our friends, our roots, our favorite jobs, and our former lives. Sometimes the world outside the door is wonderful, but it can also be scary, frightening, and overwhelming. There are seasons of life when we’re up for the adventure, and others when we’re not. There are friends to make wherever we go, but loneliness is also a constant companion. Our spouses are often gone, and the hardships of life ebb and flow as they do for everyone.

Having a home…not just a shell of a house…but a real home…allows us a safe, real, personal, comfortable, happy space where we can weather it all. While some see our nomadic lifestyle as a deterrent to creating a home, I see it the other way around. When you’re far away from family, when you’re completely out of your element, when you don’t know your way around or can’t read the street signs, coming home to a space that is familiar, just the way you want it, and is your own personal brand of lovely makes dealing with all the hard and uncomfortable stuff so much easier. I pour my heart into creating a real home with each move because it is my sanctuary when this lifestyle is just too much.

If the emotions sound a bit raw, it’s because they are. I love being a Marine spouse, I love moving, and I love having a fresh house to decorate every few years. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard…and in the last few days, I’ve hit my somewhat predictable “I’m in a new place and am totally overwhelmed” slump. I had a miserable day this week driving through the rain, on streets I don’t know, fighting traffic, just to buy a simple notion to make a simple project. Nothing earth shattering happened, but it put me in the also predicable “why did we have to move here” funk pretty quickly. After hours of unproductive errands and too much time with a whiney 4-year-old, I walked in the door to our new home, and I literally said out loud as I glanced up the steps to our family room…”oh gosh, I love this home.
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And that’s why it’s important. Because when the life out there is rainy and traffic-y and whiney, the life in here is pretty and striped and happy. I have filled this shell-of-a-house with items that are totally me/us, that make me smile, that bring back great memories, and that just make me feel good. And when I feel good…I am good. I’m a good mom, a good spouse, a good friend, a good daughter/sister, a good Megan.

Even though we’ve been here just over a month, it’s honestly a home I already love thanks to a few projects and efforts put in. (I can’t even tell you how much those blue stripes perk me up day after day!) Not every room is done…gosh, not nearly…but I’ve worked hard to quickly setup/create a few pretty spaces. Spots I can rest my eyes on…spaces that cheer me up and help me stop worrying about the mess/clutter/un-done projects that remain just out of view. These are those spots I already love and that already feel like our home.

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I realize I take “making a home” to the extremes a bit and take on projects and ideas most wouldn’t simply because I enjoy decorating and crafting and sewing and organizing. But even if you don’t want a Pinterest-project-filled home, I encourage you to do things to your space that will help you love it more. Whether it’s decluttering a closet, buying a new piece of furniture, painting a wall a fun accent color, finally hanging curtains on the living room windows…whatever. For me and my family, creating a home we love helps us make memories, weather the storms of life, and truly feel at home no matter where the Marine Corps sends us!

I encourage you to check out the other #loveyourhome stories featured over on Porch.com and share photos and ideas of why and how you love your home using the #loveyourhome hashtag! While there, be sure to check out all the amazing resources, posts, and ideas the site has to offer. Not only does Porch.com offer all sorts of ideas and advice for all things home, but it is also a great resource network for home improvement professionals in your area!

I’d love to hear what you’ve done to help you #loveyourhome. Would you decorate if you moved every couple of years? What are the things/people you need around you to #loveyourhome?

On Monday, I have quite the eye-popping project reveal, so be sure to check back then! Happy weekend, friends!

Megan

We’re Here For a Year – Let’s Do This!

It’s a good day for a heart-to-heart, don’t you think?

It’s only natural, as we move into a brand new space, that my head fills with all sorts of ideas and plans. As you might expect, I would do all sorts of things to this latest home of ours’ if I had unlimited time (and unlimited financial resources, ha!) But the reality of our situation is also setting in. We are only here for a year. There is a time limit on what I can do here…and because of that…there are practicality limits as well. As much as I want to…I can’t makeover this entire house. I can’t re-do our decor from scratch. I can’t furnish every inch of this space. I can’t customize our things to this house too much…because a year from now, we’re going to be tearing it all apart and heading to another new home. Even though we’ve only been here two weeks, I already feel like the clock is ticking down. I hate feeling rushed.

When I dwell on this too much, it gets me down. This lifestyle is wonderful, but re-making a home (when you’re someone who loves it as much as I do) over and over again can also be really draining and mentally and emotionally defeating. Not being able to do everything you want to do in a home is just plain frustrating to a gal like me. While I’m tempted to mope about it (and trust me, I’ve done my fair share of moping about this particular move!), I also recognize that I have a really unique opportunity here. Because I need each space we live in to feel like a home; because of this blog; and because of you guys out there reading…I’m choosing to shrug off the “what does it matter” thoughts that creep in every now and then and instead embrace our story. I’m acknowledging that we are only here for a year, and am challenging myself to make this house a home all within our time, budget and practicality constraints!

When I first sat down to put this post together, I originally planned to do inspiration boards for all the spaces in this house. But they weren’t coming together. The reality is, I’m not planning massive overhauls. Yes, there will be new things and new fabrics and new colors introduced and (some) new room schemes. But instead of a full-house makeover like our last home, this move is all about puzzling our “old” things together in ways that feel fresh and further refine our aesthetic and our lifestyle. I can’t take on the big home renovation projects other bloggers can. But I am ready to put my creativity and ingenuity to the test and come up with new, unique, renter-friendly, and budget-wise projects and real life solutions that we can all use to make our houses a little homier and our lives a little prettier!Here’s a few things I’m plotting on this side of the screen:

  • We’re not painting (or at least trying really hard not to ;)…so I’m embracing our white walls and bringing in colors in other ways!
  • We’re not replacing everything we have (like our last move)…so I’m coming up with new ways to give our old things fresh looks.
  • We need to watch our budget…so we’re making choices about what we need in this house and what we really don’t.
  • We’re accepting that we’re here for a year…and that not everything will get done!

Here’s a look at things on my mind lately!

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And last but certainly not least. I’ve been working for months with a graphic designer on a new brand/blog overhaul and we’re getting close to the end. I’m gearing up to to get the new site up and running (hopefully) in the coming weeks. If I disappear on you for a bit, that’s most likely what I’m working on! Here’s a sneak peek of where we’re headed!

THIHM Blog Branding

Thanks to this blog and some goals I’ve set for the year, I’m actually super excited about the year ahead. I think you guys are excited too because I can feel the momentum building around here lately! All the comments and pageviews and likes and pins from my last few posts have had me walking on cloud nine all this week – so thank you to all of you for your encouragement and support!

We’re Here for a Year….Let’s Do This!!!
I hope you all have a fantastic weekend. I’ll see you back here on Monday with our first project in this house!

Megan

Thriving & Surviving Military Life: Our #1 Trick for Getting Settled Fast!

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been dedicating one post per month to sharing snippets, encouragement, tips/tricks and nuances of living a military lifestyle. (You can read my last installments in this series here!) My hope with these posts is not only to share glimpses into our unique lifestyle with all my readers, but also to serve as a resource for my fellow military spouses who read this blog (which is starting to become more and more!!!) who can specifically benefit from my family’s trials, errors and successes. I have coined today’s post a “military thriving and surviving post” because the tips and tricks I’m sharing here specifically apply to a military/professional move. But don’t click away just yet because these ideas can apply to anyone who is trying to get settled after a transition, no matter the distance or how it’s done. Plus, I’m sharing the very first glimpses of our new space with stuff in it! (If you missed our new house tour, catch up here!)

Thriving & Surviving Military Life | Getting Settled Fast

Would you believe me if I told you just 5 days after the moving truck arrived at our new home, we were completely unpacked and put away, had no boxes or trash in the house, had done two major shopping trips, and were starting to hang things on the wall? It sounds impossible, but honest to goodness it’s true, and I have pictures to prove it! For those of you who know me personally, you might not be too shocked. When it comes to sorting, organizing, and tackling big messes, I am quite the force to be reckon with. But before you think I have magical move-in powers, let me let you in on our family trick!

See those guys in that picture getting ready to unload our truck? They are the ones who not only brought everything from the truck into our house but also unpacked all our boxes, unwrapped every last dish and frame, broke down all the boxes, and carried away all the trash.

Thriving & Surviving Military Life | Getting Settled Fast

If you are a military family, do you know you rate a FULL unpack?!?! Some people know this and some don’t. In our experience, most families “wave” the full unpack and choose to unpack boxes one at at time on their own timeline. We’ve done it that way a few times. But on our last few moves, we opted to have the packers unpack everything, and I don’t think we’ll ever go back to doing it ourselves. To each family their own; but today, I want to show you just why we let the packers do the un-packing.

To be clear, when I say “full unpack,” this simply means that the movers will unpack the boxes and take the trash away. They can’t and won’t put anything away for you, which means the house fills up fast. When one surface is full, they put stuff onto the floor. When the floor is full, they make piles…and then more piles. By the time the packers leave, the boxes are surely gone, but you are left with one heck of a disaster!

After our full unpack, our house looked like this in every.single.room. No rhyme. No reason. Piles and piles of stuff. Some of it is in the right room, some of it isn’t.

Thriving & Surviving Military Life | Getting Settled Fast

A full unpack is not for the faint of heart. You have to be okay with the packers touching all of your stuff and with lots and lots and lots of stuff everywhere. At first it will feel overwhelming and awful, and you’ll wonder why you went this route. But in just a matter of days, your house will be put away. Not decorated and not anywhere near “done.” But you will be unpacked and functioning within days. All that time and energy that would be spent tearing boxes apart, unwrapping items, and corralling trash is instead all put toward putting the house back together.

Our movers arrived Friday morning and left Friday evening (with all the boxes and trash in tow) around 5:00pm. I grabbed my camera on the following Thursday to show you just how far we came in the span of one week. These aren’t final shots of our spaces. Nothing here is staged or decorated or really blog-worthy. Things aren’t yet in their final homes; moving in and getting settled must happen before the projects and decorating start. I can’t believe I’m posting these pictures online, but I really want to keep it real for you guys!

One week in… here’s the family room…

Thriving & Surviving Military Life | Getting Settled Fast

The dining room…

Thriving & Surviving Military Life | Getting Settled Fast

The kitchen…

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The master bedroom (including a new mattress!)

Thriving & Surviving Military Life | Getting Settled Fast

Henry’s room…

Thriving & Surviving Military Life | Getting Settled Fast

Greg’s office…

Thriving & Surviving Military Life | Getting Settled Fast

Megan’s office…

Thriving & Surviving Military Life | Getting Settled Fast

The playroom…

Thriving & Surviving Military Life | Getting Settled Fast

I forgot to take pictures of the garage, but it’s in a similar state. Things aren’t quite final out there, but mostly sorted and put away. And just so you don’t think I shoved things in closets just to get them off the floor…our closets are probably in the best shape of all!

Thriving & Surviving Military Life | Getting Settled Fast

 

Admittedly, I can be a bit of machine when faced with a big mess. After the packers left, I didn’t really stop moving for almost 48 hours, with just breaks for meals and sleep! I have a knack for quickly identifying where things should go and how, and set right to work making it happen. While the messes really cause me anxiety, I am truly in my element putting everything back into order!

 Our week went something like this:

  • Friday night – Playroom / Half of Kitchen / Master Bedroom Closet
  • Saturday – Rest of Kitchen / Megan’s Office / Henry’s Bedroom
  • Sunday – Family Room / Master Bedroom (loosing steam, but house is very functional at just 48 hours in!)
  • Monday – Errands – no unpacking!
  • Tuesday – Greg’s Office / Garage
  • Wednesday – Errands / Laundry Room
  • Thursday – Hall closets / start hanging things on wall!

A full unpack is our secret to getting settled FAST! We find that we are able to set right to work getting things put away faster, and are able to find the things we need easier because everything is out of their boxes in the open. I realize this way is not for everyone…here’s a few more pros/cons to consider!

Pros to a Full Unpack

  • The trash is gone right away.
  • Time that would be spent breaking down boxes is instead spent putting items away.
  • You can find what you need right away.
  • You are forced to deal with everything right away because the clutter is so bad.
  • You don’t have still-packed boxes sitting in closets/storage months later!
  • You can assess damage right away, which makes filling out claims and paper work with moving company much more efficient.
  • By seeing everything at once, you can quickly assess what will fit/not fit in a particular space; if you need more/less furniture, or what kind of storage you may need to get right away.
  • Life gets back to normal very quickly!

Cons to a Full Unpack

  • It makes a HUGE mess (I really can’t emphasize this enough!)
  • Because of the mess, you sacrifice mobility around the home.
  • Items can get broken – the few times we’ve had damage is because movers were careless as they were unpacking. You may also break/damage things as you move around the very cluttered house.
  • Movers get crabby – they don’t like doing a full unpack because it lengthens their day.
  • It forces you to work quickly and possibly not think through how best to store/put away certain items.
  • All you will do for the first few days is put stuff away. If you have a trip planned or guests coming or activities scheduled, it may be better to leave items in boxes until you have the time to deal with them.
  • If you have little kids, having stuff everywhere may be more hassle than it’s worth. Keep your family dynamics in mind!
Lastly, now having done a full unpack four times, here are a few things to make it go as smoothly as possible!
  • Mentally prepare for the mess. It’s going to be bad. Focus on tackling one pile at a time.
  • Set out extra tables for packers to place breakable items on (such as dishes) so they don’t get put on the floor.
  • Set expectations. Tell the moving crew first thing that you want a full unpack. This alerts them to the length and kind of day to expect.
  • Keep your packers happy. We’ve had packers rough-handle our things because they are grumpy about the full unpack. Snacks, cold drinks, and a friendly attitude go a long way in a making a more pleasant day for everyone!
  • Keep an eye on the trash. Movers move quickly and things can be left behind in all the paper and ultimately swept out the trash. As best you can, makes sure all the paper is empty before leaving the house!
  • Do your part. Help clear trash, put things away and work as a team with the packers to get the unpacking done as quickly as possible.
Whether you have professional packers or not, getting those boxes empty is key to getting settled quickly. Oftentimes we have to re-visit certain closets or rooms to refine or even re-do how the home is organized, but we find getting through the initial round of unpacking quickly helps us return to normal and start on the fun stuff much faster and easier! After the packers left that Friday night, I wondered why we went the full unpack route once again…but when the house was in mostly functioning order by Sunday night…I was so thankful we went for it. With the initial unpacking done, you better bet the projects have started!

 

What do you guys think? I’m curious how many of you opt for a full unpack when you move? Or do you rather unpack one box at a time on your own schedule? Are there any other pros/cons I may have forgotten? 

 

This post marks the end of my moving-related content. It’s time to get back to the decorating! On Friday, I’m going to chat a bit about my plans for this home while we’re here and my own expectations for the year ahead!

See you then!
Megan

Moving Essentials | Must-Have Items for Keeping Life “Normal” Between Homes!

Moving Essentials

This most recent move marks the 6th time in the last 10 years that Greg and I have packed up our home (with the help of professional movers, of course) and re-located. Over the years, we’ve had some pretty bumpy and miserable transitions due to rookie mistakes and poor planning. Like the time we slept on the bare carpeted floor for DAYs with our clothes rolled up as pillows because we didn’t think to bring the air mattress/pillows and refused to go out and buy new ones because ours’ were on the inbound moving truck. Or when we moved with Henry at 8 weeks old, and I packed ALL of his 6- and 9-month clothes in the car because “babies grow so fast, and we might need them before the trucks arrives;” and then we could never find anything we needed because the car was too full of baby stuff! #truestory

Well, the 6th time must be a charm because this move was our most bump-free one yet! We finally took the time to give some good thought to what all we’d need in the last house before checking out, on the road between homes, and in the new house before the moving trucks arrived…and then packed our cars accordingly. Yes, our cars were full; and yes, we had bags and bags of stuff to bring in and out of each place we stayed over the course of three weeks. But we were able to eat in more frequently, save money by not re-buying things we already own, and live relatively comfortably for an extended period of time without a majority of our belongings!

I realize not all of you wonderful readers out there are moving this summer or anytime soon. But I also know I have more and more military spouses out there reading, as well as other folks who have moves coming up, and thought this time-tested info was worth sharing. Use it this summer, send the link to a friend who is moving, bookmark it for later or just pass on through for today. I promise new-house content is coming SOON!

One last thing: these lists don’t contain the obvious things like clothes, hygiene products, and snacks – I’m pretty sure you all know you need those things when you travel! Instead, these are the things you may not have thought of but will be oh-so-thankful you have them when all your stuff is packed onto a truck! Also, each family and every move is so so so different. Keep in mind your unique situation, where you’re moving to, how you’re getting there, and what your family needs to be comfortable in mind at all times!

Okay…I’ve broken it down into four categories: Eating / Living / Kids / Valuables. Let’s get to it!

Moving Essentials | Eating

One of the toughest parts of living between homes/traveling is eating out for every meal. Not only do the costs add up fast, but it only takes a few days for the effects of excess calories/fat/sugar from restaurant food to take its physical toll. We have found that bringing just enough kitchen essentials to prepare simple meals and enjoy our creature comforts of morning cereal and coffee makes a huge difference. Here’s our must-haves for meal time and why:

  1. Paper plates, napkins, bowls, cups, and utensils. Moving time is not a fun time to be doing lots of dishes. You can certainly cut back on waste by packing plastic-ware and washing as you go, but the simplicity of paper really can’t be beat.
  2. Folding 6′ table. Sitting on the floor for meals gets old really quick. These 6′ tables that fold in half are WONDERFUL for eating meals on, and they still fit in any sized car!
  3. Camp chairs. Not just for meals, but also for watching movies/reading books on electronic devices or even just hanging out…chairs are better than the floor at any age; and like the table, camp chairs fold up for compact transport!
  4. 1 cutting board + 1 all-purpose knife. Have you tried cutting vegetables with a plastic knife? Not fun. Leaving back a single cutting board and a good knife allows you to prepare meals with ease!
  5. One pot + one pan + one cookie sheet. Between these three kitchen items, I am able to make a many of our favorite family meals.
  6. Ziplock bags. Cooking while moving is not completely enjoyable. To reduce the awkward and exhausting meal prep times, I often cook in bulk and then bag up leftovers for following days.
  7. Coffee pot + mugs. Greg and I are pretty serious about our coffee, and running out first thing to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks gets time consuming and expensive. As ridiculous as it seems, keeping our Keurig and two real coffee mugs back is completely worth the hassle in order to have favorite morning beverage just as we like it!
  8. Dish soap + sponge + paper towels. Even if you go with paper plates and utensils, the pot, pan, cookie sheet and mugs still need to be washed. Keep back basic washing supplies to keep everything clean.

Moving Essentials | Living

I already told you our story about sleeping on the floor with nothing but our clothes as pillows. We’ve also been guilty of having to shower sans curtain because we forgot to keep one back/bring one with us and didn’t realize it until shower time! Here’s a few more of our Living Must-Haves…

  1. Air mattress. I used to think sleeping on the floor was no big deal. I must be getting old, because the last time I did it it was pretty much torture. An air mattress, while not the most comfortable thing in the world, is a big upgrade from the floor. Just don’t forget the pump!
  2. Bedding + pillows. Sleeping is a whole lot better with sheets and pillows. Just saying. Not only are they good to have with you for the air mattress, but you’ll know exactly where they are once your mattress does arrive in your new place!
  3. Shower curtain and/or liner. Even if you pack the curtain, leave back the liner to keep both mess and privacy in tact. Be sure to take it with you (or buy a new one en route) so you can shower comfortably in the new place as well.
  4. Towels. Air drying is fun and all, but really…there should always be room in the car for towels!
  5. Laundry detergent. If you’re going to be without your stuff and on the road for a while, doing laundry is inevitable. Movers usually won’t move liquids. Instead of giving it away, keep detergent with you so you don’t have to buy while in transit.
  6. Hand soap. The old home and the next home both need hand soap. I’ve been guilty of giving all our soap away when purging our liquids only to run right back out and buy new bottles because well…you need hand soap. Bring it with you. It will get used. Just bag it up in those Ziplocks while traveling to keep messes at bay.
  7. Clorox wipes. Even in an empty house, it’s nice to wipe down surfaces after meals or bath time. Keep a single container back and bring them with you to the new place to give it a quick wipe down before boxes are brought in.
  8. Step stool. More often than not, we have to paint and clean before moving out. Usually the step stool gets packed up, and we’re left asking neighbors to bail us out. Not a big deal, but this time we kept ours’ back, and it was used a ton. It’s now on our Moving Essentials List!
  9. Trash bags (not pictured). Even though the trashcans will likely get packed up, you will still generate a lot of trash, especially during clean out. Keep back a box of big trash bags that can easily come with you.

There are other items I didn’t list as “essentials” but might be useful to keep back depending your situation. Paint rollers/trays, a vacuum, cleaning supplies (don’t give them away until you’ve cleaned!), and a lamp (if you don’t have overhead lighting) can all be useful!

Moving Essentials | Kids

Moving is a stressful time for the whole family, but especially for the kiddos. Our little guy is handling this whole transition like a champ, but we’ve also tried to keep our routines and systems in tact to help him out. Keep in mind, our son is 4, so we are out of the baby stage that requires a lot more stuff! These were our must-haves for our son this time around!

  1. Sleeping bag/crib. Depending on the age of your child, you’ll need to consider something for them to sleep on. Pack’n’plays and sleeping bags are the easiest and most compact options for kiddos…although I’ve seen some pretty cute kid-friendly air mattresses as well!
  2. Music player/noise machine. An empty room (in the old house, but especially the new one) can be really frightening. Having Henry’s usual music helped him fall asleep without any troubles.
  3. Sippy cups. While Greg and I relied mostly on paper products, I did keep back Henry’s plastic sippy cups both for ease and his comfort. They keep spills at bay (in the home and in the car) and can be put right into the fridge for repetitive use.
  4. Books. Bedtime stories are part of Henry’s nighttime routine, and we really didn’t want to disrupt it during this transition. Even though he was in a sleeping bag in an empty room, he still had his normal series of events. Don’t bring the whole bookcase…5-8 books you can rotate between is perfect!
  5. Toys. Henry had to do a lot of playing on his own while we painted back our house and coordinated packing/unpacking with the movers. We strategically picked easily-packable toys that keep him entertained for long periods of time. We brought coloring supplies, a box of trains (no track) and a box of blocks, and he was good for three weeks!

Moving Essentials | Valuables

Finally, it is highly recommended that you keep any and all valuables with you in your suitcase rather than in the moving boxes. For safe travels, here’s how we handled our most valuable things:

  1. Jewelry. I am not a huge jewelry wearer, but I do have quite a few expensive pieces. As such, I use a two-part system to transport my jewelry. I use this jewelry portfolio for my costume-type jewelry that I wear more often and keep in a more accessible part of my suitcase. I then have a travel-sized solid jewelry box that can hold the rest of my collection. This box stays deeper in my suitcase and doesn’t come out while in transit. When in hotels, we lock this box into the safe if there is one.
  2. Important personal documents. Passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, medical records, car/house titles/documents all should be hand-carried from one location to the next. I shared here how I organize these items and keep them safe while on the road.
  3. Camera and lenses. Nice cameras, as well as lenses should be personally transported as well. Use a bag especially designed for camera equipment to ensure everything travels safely.
  4. Computers/devices. Admittedly, we are a huge Apple/gadget family. Not only for my work here on the blog, but also in our personal lives, we use our devices a lot. We have a pretty hefty collection of expensive and precious electronics, and we choose to bring all of these items in our cars, including the big computer. We use the original box to pack/transport the computer and have cases and covers for our phones, tablets and laptops. All the small electronics are packed into one single “Electronics bag” so we can easily find it, access it, and bring it in to hotels with us as necessary.
  5. Cords/charging devices. Whether it’s for your phone, camera, laptop, portable tv…whatever…be sure you don’t let the packers box up your cords. Set them aside and keep them in a designated bag so you can find them and keep charged up at all times!

Greg always calls us “The Clammpets” when we move. Every.single.time. And for good and obvious reason: our cars are always packed to the gills with all sorts of crap things…some quite necessary, others not so much (although we’ve never had a rocking chair tied to the roof…yet!) The fact of the matter is when you move long distances and are faced with the possibility of living in temporary lodging or your new place without your stuff for long periods of time, there are just some creature comforts that make life a bit better and a bit more normal for all! With each move, we learn what things need to be added or can be kept off the list for next time.

I’d love to know: Do you move a lot? Do you have a “No Pack” list of things you keep with you during a move? I’d love hear what you load up in the car/suitcases!

Next week, I’m planning on revealing our Kansas house and showing you everything going on here! For now…back to unpacking!

See you Monday!

Megan

Smart Packing Solutions with EzPacking!

 On Monday, I (finally!) shared with you all what we’ve been up to for the last few weeks, including some of our family antics and where our next “new” home is (if you missed it, catch up here!). I casually mentioned a few times that we were living in between homes…without our stuff…for the last three weeks. Did you catch that? Three weeks! Three weeks of hotel, “on the road,” moving from place-to-place living. Later this week, I’m going to share with you all the necessities we keep off the moving trucks in order to keep life comfortable when we’re between homes. But today, I want to chat a bit about how I packed our suitcases to survive three weeks (which included a beach vaca and a cross-country road trip!) and to introduce you to my new favorite organizing solution: EzPacking Traveling Organizers!

EzPacking Travel Organizers

A few months back, I spilled the beans on my number one secret to keeping our home and life clutter-free, streamlined, and organized: bins, baskets and totes for everything and anything! From shoes to spices, glitter to granola bars, I put almost everything in its own dedicated container. I find this single solution helps me put things away easier, find things faster, and keep my surfaces, drawers, cabinets, and floors easy on the eyes. So when EzPacking contacted me, asking if I’d like to try their new packing-made-easy Travel Organizers, my interest was certainly piqued. After perusing their site and watching their videos (all fully aware that we had this big cross-country move coming up), it was a match made in heaven, and I literally couldn’t say “Yes!!” fast enough. I picked The Complete Bundle in the royal blue color (I obviously can’t pick anything that doesn’t match my home!); and when the items arrived (quickly and in a simple little package!)…oh be still my organizing-loving heart…

EzPacking Travel Organizers

All the totes were bright, clean, and perfectly labeled. I’m such a sucker for good branding and quality products, and opening this package was a feast for the eyes. The embroidered elastic labels on the shoe and laundry bags had me completely smitten!

EzPacking Travel Organizers

The Complete Bundle includes:

  • 1 Extra Small Cube
  • 2 Small Cubes
  • 2 Medium Cubes
  • 2 Large Cubes
  • 1 Foldable Duffle Bag
  • 1 Set of packing boards (one of each size, not pictured below)
  • 2 Shoe Bags
  • 1 Laundry Bag

EzPacking Travel Organizers

These bags are tough, made in just the right sizes, and the zippers are super sturdy. I put them through their paces over the course of the three weeks, and they held up beautifully. I am so excited to show you these babies in action! Note: these are not staged photos, this is real life packing, people!

As other military families can attest, when you move, there is no way to know how long you will be without your stuff. Trucks get delayed, shipments get lost, and at peak moving time, it can just take a long time to move stuff from point A to point B. As such, you have to be prepared to live for a while without all your stuff. For our family, we were looking at 3-6 weeks from when our trucks pulled out to when they would arrive at our new home. Besides preparing for a variety of weather and temperature conditions, we were also going to the beach and a few dress-up events. In short, I had to get all this…

EzPacking Travel Organizers

…to fit into this…

EzPacking Travel Organizers

When I first started playing around with the different packing cubes, they seemed quite small. But as I started folding and sorting, I was truly amazed at what all could fit inside! Here…I have two different bathing suit sets in one Small Cube: 2 swim briefs, 2 swim shorts, 2 swim tops, and 2 sun shirts.

EzPacking Travel Organizers

EzPacking Travel Organizers

Five sets of workout clothes, complete with socks, headphones, watch, and belt all tidily fit into a single Large Cube!

EzPacking Travel Organizers

The organizing geek in me couldn’t wait to use the included shirt folding boards! Nerdy-ness aside, they really did reduce bulk, ensuring I could get as many shirts into the Medium Cube as possible! In this Medium Cube, I have two long-sleeve button-up blouses, 3 light-weight blouses, and 4 t-shirts with room to spare!

EzPacking Travel Organizers

Accessories/undergarments, tops, and bottoms/dresses were categorized and packed into single Small, Medium, and Large Cubes, accordingly. In these five cubes was a majority of my wardrobe for the 3 weeks:

2 bathing suit sets / three lightweight scarves / 2 belts / 7
underpants / 2 bras / 9 tops / 4 shorts / 3 pants / 4 lightweight dresses

EzPacking Travel Organizers

The EzPacking folks also offered their Storage Cube for me to try, which is quite a bit bigger than the Travel Organizers. Although this cube is designed to store winter clothes or bulkier items in your closet, I found it was perfect for packing our heavier items like sweatshirts, jackets and jeans, as well as “extras” for Henry…all things that we “might” need but probably wouldn’t!

EzPacking Travel Organizers

In the remaining Large Cube and Extra Small Cube, I packed Henry’s “one week” wardrobe so that we wouldn’t need to access the large Storage Cube at the bottom of my suitcase!

EzPacking Travel Organizers

In one Storage Cube and one Complete Bundle, I was able to pack Henry’s wardrobe and my wardrobe, including beach, dress-up and cold weather items, for our three-week trip! Sure enough, all of our “just in case clothes” stayed packed away in my suitcase, while we both used all the other cubes easily and efficiently.

 

EzPacking Travel Organizers

As you might guess, my absolute favorite aspect of this packing system is that finding just what you need is a complete cinch. Need your bathing suits? They’re in that small cube all together. Need your workout clothes? They are all packaged together too. Likewise, pulling out just a top and pair of shorts doesn’t require unearthing the entire suitcase!

Another favorite aspect of these cubes is that they make unpacking while traveling quick and easy too. Instead of unpacking all the totes, I placed each cube, as is, right into the dresser drawers! Pulling out and replacing items was super simple, and when it was time to pack up and move on, I just zipped up the cubes and put them back into my suitcase!

EzPacking Travel Organizers

 

Lastly, the EzPacking folks didn’t overlook anything! Generous-sized shoe bags, a laundry bag, and an extra (foldable!) duffle bag are also included (and were all also used on our trip!), literally providing everything you need to stay organized no matter how much you’re packing or how long you’re traveling!

 

EzPacking Travel Organizers

Are you convinced you need these travel organizers yet?

My friends at EzPacking are now offering a 10% discount to all THIHM readers between now and June 17th!!!! Just use the code MEGAN at checkout!

If you’re ready to give EzPacking a try, I can’t recommend The Complete Bundle enough, especially since it comes with the awesome shoe and laundry bags. If you want to test the waters first, try the Starter Set to get a feel for the size and function of the cubes. I promise you’ll be heading back for more!

To all my international friends, EzPacking does ship overseas. Just be sure to email them for a specific shipping quote before ordering!

EzPacking Travel Organizers

From the start, I loved the concept of the zippered totes because I am really just a sucker for having my items, no matter what or where they are, compartmentalized. However, I completely underestimated how truly easy these little totes would make packing a large suitcase for an extended period of time…and even more so…how these simple little bags would keep me and my family organized and sane on our three week adventure. There was no rummaging through suitcases, no big messes, nothing forgotten, nothing left behind at each stop. I was honestly blown away how something so simple made such a huge difference in something that can truly be a such a hassle.

EzPacking Travel Organizers

These EzPacking Storage Cubes are now on my traveling/moving “Must Have” list – see what else we consider moving essentials back here on Friday!

See you then!

Megan

I did not receive compensation for this blog post; however EzPacking did provide the travel organizers for me to use and review. Please remember that I only work with brands and products I fully support and that make sense for my home, my family, and this blog. All opinions are 100% my own!