Moving to Texas: Part 2 The Planning
If you missed part one of this series, go back and read it first! It will fill you in on the Emotional “how” and this post will walk you through the logistics of planning the big move.
If you know me in real life, you know I am a planner. I love lists. I love calendars. I’m always on time. I love schedules. I start packing for trips about 2 weeks before we leave, and I start making packing lists at least a month before that! No joke. So, of course, moving half way across the country was one big epic list making extravaganza. I had several different lists going and then it hit me! BAM! Notebook. So I got a three ring binder and some adorable dividers (seriously, I love school supplies!) and made a moving binder. I wanted to make a cover for it, but it fell to the back burner and now it is housing The Rippey Road Trip Art Gallery, which obviously is way better.
Once we set a date, I took all the remaining weekends and made a big calendar (basically I just printed out the weekend dates with a bunch of space in between for me to write) and I hung it up on the hallway wall. I also made a blank sheet for “Road Trip” and “Disneyland” (oh wait, did I mention our drive across country started with a week at Disneyland… crazy, much?) and I also hung those on the wall. I used those to jot down any quick things I thought of that I wanted to bring with us, so I didn’t forget in the rush of things. We basically gave ourselves 6 weeks before we left and in my opinion that was the perfect amount of time. Right near the end of the six weeks, I was like “I’m ready to go already!” but I wasn’t too rushed either.
Step One: Set a Budget and SAVE
The first thing we did was set a moving budget. We had 3 options for moving our stuff 1) drive a Uhaul ourselves (which meant Scott driving the Uhaul, and me driving the van with three kids – VETO!) 2) pay a moving company (um, we’re not the Rockerfellers here! VETO!) or 3) do a “POD” which was the most convenient choice. Honestly, I didn’t even price out the other options because I decided they weren’t options. So, if your budget is a big deal, I would suggest looking into those. Once we decided on a POD, we compared prices and went with Pack Rat. It was the least expensive, and had the policies to work with what we needed (there was another company who only gave you two days to load it and we wanted more time). We also got a discount because of the time of year (end of summer). Pack Rat was affordable, reliable and really convenient. They dropped a moving container off in our driveway a week before our move date and picked it up. Then they delivered in San Antonio at the new apartment and picked it up a few days later. It took longer to get here than we did to get here, so that was a bummer, but we had expected that. (What we didn’t expect was how hard it was to live without our stuff!!)
The other things we factored into our budget was the driving costs, hotel costs and food costs. Once we had our budget, we figured out how long it would take us to save that much. And then we picked our date.
Step Two: Set a Date
Several things went into picking our date. One was weather. We had made our decision to move in May, but I knew I didn’t want to move in the hot hot summer and I also knew I couldn’t do it all in just a few weeks. We also really wanted to go to Disneyland before we moved and I didn’t want to do that in the summer either (wouldn’t it figure we went during the hottest week any way?! At least it wasn’t crowded!!). The other thing was Ben’s first birthday and the holidays. We knew if we stayed for Ben’s birthday in November, then we’d think “may as well stay for Thanksgiving” and then if we were staying for Thanksgiving, we’d say “may as well stay for Christmas” and before we knew it we’d never leave! So, Labor Day it was and as soon as we had a date we were able to really put things into action.
Step Three: Details, Details, Details
With a date and a city, we then picked a place. We chose to sign a short lease on an apartment while we house hunt (and town hunt). I wish I could say we used Apartments.com one day and picked a great place… but it was not that easy. We had a lot of requirements and I’m sad to say that even with as much picking and choosing, we still have things we don’t like! But we know it’s temporary and we’re putting on our tough faces! Finding a home just based on the internet is not easy but it’s doable. There are a lot of great search engines and Google Maps (Earth) is a huge help!
We also had to decide what to do with our stuff…. moving is expensive. So we decided that we would pay for one moving container and that was it! Whatever didn’t fit in it, wasn’t coming. And let me tell you… it’s not a lot. We decided that since all of our furniture was either hand me downs or used or cheap… we’d just sell it all and buy new stuff when we bought a house. This meant a lot of Craigslisting and a lot of living without stuff once we got to Texas. We also decided to sell our second car (my husband works from home and it’s not big enough for our family, so it wouldn’t need to be replaced right away any way). The rule was “If we don’t love it or use it, it’s not coming!”. Start deciding what you can live without and start getting rid of it early.
We also started researching health insurance, homeschooling co-ops, churches, how to register our car, etc. so we would be prepared when we got there. We checked travel routes. We looked at the weather charts. Basically, we got all the answers to the questions people would ask… which leads me to my next point…
Step Four: Tell People
Telling people is the hardest part. We laugh because the question we heard most was “What’s in San Antonio?” and the real answer was “Nothing!” Think ahead about your reasons, and figure out how to communicate them. We found that when you say “we wanted to move out of San Diego” to people who live in San Diego, it kind of hurt their feelings. And then we were back peddling like “Uh… I mean, San Diego is great… its’ just uh … expensive… uh and uh, too sunny…” The other thing to realize is that some people’s idea of a good reason to move are not the same as others. That’s okay. Remember, you are not defending yourself, you are just notifying them. I found that the people who knew us the best didn’t ask a lot of WHY questions, because they knew why. They knew our hearts and they knew that this is something we’ve been praying about for years. I wish I could tell you the best way to answer, but honestly I believe it depends on who you are talking to. Scott chose to notify his parents and siblings via email, which may sound calloused, but it was the best way he could get out everything he needed to say without being too emotional about it. It also gave them time to digest the news before responding with hurt or shock, which was inevitable because of what a HUGE change this is for them. We gave most people about 6 weeks notice, which was when we nailed the final details down (basically, had all the answers to their questions!)
Step Five: Start Packing
Packing with three small kids is not an easy task. However, I got started early, just doing one drawer or cupboard at a time. I would put garage sale items in one pile (I kept a roll of colored masking tape and a Sharpie next to me to price them as I went), trash in one pile and stuff to pack in one pile. Anything that I needed to use for the time being went back in the drawer. I literally would do maybe one or two of these a day, during naps or whenever the kids were occupied. Before I knew it, I was mostly done! My garage sale was priced and ready and my drawers were empty. I made a list of thing I wanted to leave out – to pack in the car or to use up until the end. The stuff that was used up until the end was packed into boxes that would come out first… like my coffee maker. Oh how I missed by coffee maker…
Moving “saran wrap” (I honestly don’t know what it’s called) is the best. We have our toys in a cube shelving unit and we just wrapped that baby up, wrapped up the shoe bench (shoes still in it!), wrapped up the dressers (the kids use the plastic Rubbermaid type drawers) and everything just stayed in. It was really helpful. Now that I am unpacking in the apartment, I would have better organized my stuff on what things I want out for the “in between time” and the stuff that could wait until we get into the house because now I’m digging through boxes and putting half unpacked boxes back in the garage. It’s not the best system.
Step Six: Pray a lot and depend on the Word
There is no easy way to move your family to another state. There is no easy way to make life changing decisions. The best advice I can give is to pray a lot and find scriptures that encourage you to stay the course. Read the Word, pray with your spouse and keep reminding each other of your goals and the promises you’ve received from the Lord. Scott and I see to be on a teeter-totter (he calls them see-saws so whatever….) this whole time, when I am down, he is up and when I am up, he is down. But the good thing about that is that we are there to get each other to where we need to be.
Coming up… part 3 The Emotional One! It’s been HARD. Harder than we thought. So hard it took me 3 months to write this post because I just couldn’t deal. But it’s getting better and we are excited to share more of our journey with you (ya’ll!) soon. Until then, if you are seriously considering a move to another state and you have questions, feel free to post them on Facebook or PM/email me. We want to share this journey so we can support others!