children

In part 1 of this series on moving tips, http://www.sandwichink.com/the-sandwich-generation-moves-part-1 , we discussed planning, utilities and packing. Today’s ideas cover the actual moving process.

Scheduling the moving van. First check with your real estate agent or your apartment manager to see if they have a van available for free or reduced fees. If not, I’ve found that U-haul, www.uhaul.com , and Budget, www.budgettruck.com/Home.aspx?partnerid=428&mpch=sem , are both excellent choices for do-it-yourself moves, whether local or long distance. If you are moving long distance and want to do it yourself, but don’t want to drive a big truck, there are some excellent companies out there that can bring a container to your house, leave it for you to fill, then return and move it to your destination. I used ABF and was quite pleased with it – www.abfs.com/default.asp?bhcp=1 . I learned the hard way to make my reservations for any of these options as early as possible. While you can often get one at the last minute, I have had to reschedule two moves because they turned out to be popular weekends for movers and I couldn’t get a truck.

Moving Assistance: While you can certainly hire movers to help you, for local moves I prefer to go with less expensive help, even though they are also less experienced. Friends are often available and willing to assist with packing and/or loading and unloading. Our Bible study group had a great time one night packing up a friend’s house when he had to move sooner than expected and his wife was out of town caring for her mother.

Another great resource is your church or child’s school. We asked the principal at my daughter’s school to recommend two responsible high school seniors to assist us. They came and worked hard all day, and we paid them a great rate for teens, along with lots of pizza, which was a lot cheaper than hiring professionals. Another time we were able to hire young adults who worked at the same location we did.

If any of you are in the military, you might ask friends there if they know of any young men or women who would like to earn some extra money helping you move. You get the help you need, and you get to help one of our brave young soldiers, a definite win-win!

Elderly Parents: Whether your parents are moving into a new home, an assisted living facility, or into your house, it will probably be a difficult day for them. When my parents moved in with me, my strong sons-in-law and daughters did most of the heavy lifting, while I directed. We got their room settled first as quickly as possible. That gave them a quiet place to work while we all finished moving other items in and out of the bathroom, kitchen, and garage. They were an important part of the process, but they also had a quiet place to retreat to when they became exhausted.

Babysitting: If there are young children or grandchildren involved in this move, I highly recommend involving them in the move for a short while, then hiring a babysitter to watch them at another location so they are safe and happy, and you are able to focus on the moving process. Some children like the excitement of everything and want to see it all, but others find it very disconcerting. This gives you a good option for each of them.

Pets: It can be a wise idea to find a petsitter as well. Many animals can sense when things are in an upheaval and find it very distressing. It’s important for families that their cat or dog make a positive move, as well.

Pre-Moving Day: The day or two before a move or the first thing in the morning, I like to go to the new place and give it a good wipe down and, if necessary, a full cleaning. Even if the previous occupants did clean, it’s amazing what you might find. Also, if you are going to have the carpets cleaned or the house sprayed for insects, you might want to take two days for this process, to ensure all is dry by the time you start walking in and out with moving boxes.

This is a good time to stock the new place with light bulbs, toilet paper, paper towels, glasses, plates, water bottles, snacks, toys/books if any children will be there, and pet supplies if there will be pets moving with you. Make sure you are also well stocked on sodas and bottled waters at both houses for your family and the people helping you move. An ice chest full of ice is a big help if the refrigerator will be moving.

Moving Day: Load the vehicle and take the items to the new house. It’ll save you time and headaches in the long run if you ask those helping you to place boxes in the rooms that are marked on the boxes, with the OPEN FIRST or starred boxes in a separate pile.

Lunch time: You’ll get more done and keep your helpers happy if you keep the soft drinks and water flowing. Accompany that by treating your helpers to a yummy and filling lunch. I personally think pizza is the easiest, especially if you have it delivered. That frees you up to get more work done. Order plenty. People will eat a lot initially. They may also snack on it throughout the day. Do watch to be sure it gets put away before bacteria can attack it and cause food poisoning.

Finishing at the old home: Once the boxes are out, it’s time to clean the house/apartment you are vacating. If you have the time, it’s nice to be able to do this a day or so after the move when you’re not so tired. If you have to do it the same day, it might be a wise idea to ask for help – either volunteers (friends or relatives), or paid.

Finishing at the new home: Realistically for most of us, that will take a few days. But at least the boxes are in the house, the lights are on, and you can make your way to the refrigerator. I like to make the beds early in the day. Then when we are totally exhausted, they’re all ready for us to fall into.

Today found me standing in line at the post office, on their self-proclaimed busiest day of the year. While waiting for 45 minutes, I had time to listen to a couple of the conversations around me, all the while multi-tasking by deleting text messages I no longer needed in my smart phone.

One conversation I heard dealt with a father who sounds like he is also a member of the Sandwich Generation. The speaker commented, “What with moving children in and out of college and home, and helping his mom move, he’s always moving someone.” I could certainly relate. In the past seven years, between my children, my friends, my parents and myself, I’ve helped with moving projects more than 15 times. That’s a lot of moving! Whether you move a lot, move a little, or help an elderly parent or child move, here’s a good checklist with tips we learned along the way that can be helpful. It’s too late to share them with the people in the post office, so here they are for you instead.

New Beginnings: Find the new house or apartment and set the moving date.

Utility Companies: Call the current utility companies to cancel service. (Once you’ve gotten settled, it’s a wise idea to call back and confirm that all the cancellations went through smoothly so you don’t wind up paying a double bill.

Call the new utility companies to start service. If you’re not sure who they are, ask your real estate agent or apartment manger. They should have a list. If that fails, go to the website for the city you live in. Utilities may include some or all of the following: Gas, Electric, Water/Sewer/Garbage (This may entail one or two companies), Cable, Internet, Phone (these may be 1, 2 or 3 companies).

Start packing. Find free boxes from your local grocery or liquor stores, Freecycle, http://www.freecycle.org/ or Craig’s list www.craigslist.com . If using Craig’s list, select state, city, then enter moving boxes or packing boxes into the search box on the left with the “for sale” option showing. The last page shows available items and it also has a drop down box “all for sale/wanted” which you can then change to “free stuff.” For my area, that took a list of 66 items available down to an easier-to-read seven items available.

Label as you pack: I like to use Sharpie Markers and list the room the box belongs in, along with highlights of what are in the box. Another good idea my daughter liked was to use color-coordinated stickers. All the blue stickers were for the living room, the green stickers went into the kitchen, and so on. Whichever plan you use, be sure to clearly mark what boxes need to be opened first in each room. That way you shouldn’t wind up late at night with only boxes of books opened, unable to find sheets, blankets, and pillows. I like to use big stars and/or OPEN FIRST in big letters on those boxes.

Be sure to carefully pack all financial papers, checks, etc. together and mark them in such a way that you know what they are, but strangers wouldn’t. With identity theft such a danger, this is vital.

Weed and Clean: As you pack, take the time now to weed out items you no longer need. It’s a lot easier to dispose of them before you move, rather than after! Be sure to shred any papers with important personal information. If there isn’t time for a yard sale, you might try Craig’s List for items you want to sell. I’ve never used it but others in our family have and really liked it. For giveaways, many thrift stores will pick up. My personal favorite is Salvation Army. Other options include neighbors, your church, Freecycle, and you can even use Craig’s List for giveaways.

See www.sandwichink.com/the-sandwich-generation-moves-part-2

for Part 2 of this article.

Over the hills and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go… During the holidays many adult children go home for Christmas. Parents and grandparents also may leave home to visit their adult children. I’ve enjoyed both these types of visits. In November, I wrote some tips for “taking home with you” as you travel, perhaps on business or even pleasure – http://www.sandwichink.com/take-a-bit-of-home-on-your-travels . Here are more travel tips for those times when you are traveling to visit family or friends you see often, or vice versa.

When I first went to visit my daughters’ homes, I bought a big plastic tote (like ones made by Rubbermaid or Sterilite). I filled it with items I normally use, such as shampoo, conditioner, a bath sponge, hand soap, and other toiletry items. There are small bottles of my vitamins, pain relievers for headaches, etc. I have coloring books, crayons, and a couple of favorite children’s Bible song CDs in there for a special time with my grandchildren. I also packed a copy of my favorite study Bible. Now when I go to visit them, they pop that tote out from storage and I have all my favorite items without having to run to the store. We all use different soaps due to allergies, dry skin, etc., so it makes it really easy to visit them without adding to their busy schedules or mine. Trust me, when I’m visiting, I’m constantly moving, because there’s so much to enjoy and so little time to do it 🙂 . This also results in lighter luggage and fewer headaches in the security line at the airport. We even bought one extra booster seat for my visits with the grandkids. That way I can take one grandchild at a time with me on errands for some one-on-one visiting, and their parents don’t get stuck without a car seat when we forget it’s in the back seat.

When regular guests, including grandchildren, visit me, I have the same type of tote waiting for them as well. I have filled this tote with a special sponge, a wash cloth, slippers, a bathrobe, favorite lotions, manicure goodies for the gals, and aftershave for the guys that we purchased together at various times. The day they arrive, I put the tote out on their bed, along with a fresh towel, new box of tissue, and a bottle of water for each.

Some other ideas for welcoming guests can include:

Stocking up on breakfast items they enjoy, like cereal, fruit, milk, and yogurt

Putting a few books and magazines you know they’ll enjoy into their room

Providing an alarm clock and making sure there are enough available outlets for their needs, including cell phones, laptop computers, etc.

They say you can never go home again. That’s not true, for which I’m quite grateful. But it is certainly different. These ideas help to make it seem less different and more “at home and homey."

Too much to do, too little time! Ask most families who are right in the middle of the Sandwich Generation why they don’t exercise and that would probably be the number one answer. But studies have proven that regular exercise makes you feel better, stress less, and renew your energy. It can even slow down some of the symptoms caused by diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. I definitely saw that with one of my loved ones. When he got Parkinson’s Disease he didn’t stop walking. In fact, he walked more. And he stayed active and alert for 15 years after that diagnosis. Contrast that to a friend’s dad who, once he got his diagnosis, stopped exercising, stopped going out, and was practically bedridden for years.

The need for exercise is not just for us grown-ups. Studies also show that our grandchildren aren’t getting enough exercise either. Everyone can benefit from more exercise. But how do you squish it in with all the other items you are busy juggling? Try mall walking!

Many malls open their main doors earlier than the stores actually open to allow people of all ages to walk around the inside, safe from too much heat, frigid cold, snow, or rain. There are restrooms and drinking fountains easily available. Security personnel are on duty so you have a safe and pleasant environment. We used to be regulars on the mall circuit – granddad, granddaughter, and me in the middle. Granted, our speed wouldn’t have sent any records. The mommy walkers with their jogging strollers often passed us three times in a day! But we all got exercise and we got out to see new scenery. We even made new friends and ran into old friends.

Our mall occasionally offered special events for the walkers such as health screenings. They even came up with a cute T-shirt for the walkers. Different malls have their own policies and rules. You can call your mall, or ask at the mall’s information center the next time you are there.

One added advantage for the early morning mall walkers – you are there right when the doors open! So you can get your exercise and then hit those sales running! Talk about great ways to save money – free exercise and early bird sales! Now doesn’t that get your energy up?