Moving Is a Mess

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Dear Home-Ec 101,

I just moved. There are boxes to the left of me, boxes to the right and here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

The house is pretty much a wreck and will be for some time until I can budget for the repairs.
I don’t know where to find the energy. I don’t know where to start.

The worst part? I started this website where people turn to me for advice and if they only knew. . .



Heather says:

Oh, Heather,  Heather, Heather¹ what will I do with you?

So what if they know. What are they going to do? Write about it on some other website where people in different circumstances can giggle about it? Who cares?

You’re farther than you think. You only have one last load of stuff to get from the previous house and most of that stuff isn’t even coming to this house. You are just in that annoying place where it feels like the more you do the bigger mess you’re making. It will get better.

Set a timer.

And for fifteen minutes do things that will let you actually put away other things. Clear off the shelves in the laundry room so you can put away the canned goods instead of tripping over them.

Decide on a dishwasher already so you can have it installed and actually be able to put dishes away. Or maybe suck it up and install it yourself this weekend.

Call your stepbrother and make him commit to picking up the dining room table so you can set yours up. If he won’t commit put it in the yard and on Craigslist. Then at least you won’t look like you’re living in a bar after last call.

Ask for help to put the bunkbeds together. They aren’t magically going to do it themselves and you -no matter what you tell yourself- are not strong enough to do it yourself. But, you do have to actually ask.

Good enough is good enough. The kids aren’t going to care that you had takeout for a week straight or that you made them eat off of paper plates until the dishwasher was installed. Some people will judge, but it wasn’t their decision.

The kids are going to remember that they helped you fix the drain under the sink. They are going to remember that you let them help paint their rooms. They are going to remember the bonfire you’ll have to clear out the yard debris.

They are going to learn that it’s okay to live in a house that needs a lot of work. Well, they will as long as they see you doing the work -and while they will whine about it now, they’ll be glad they helped. They will eventually feel pride in ownership. And if they don’t, play the mom guilt card, that’s why you had kids, isn’t it?

The kids are also going to learn that if you don’t like the way things are that you make an effort and change them.

You just can’t keep letting every obstacle send you back to the start. It’s annoying and I’m tired of you whining about it.


Get off your butt and make those phone calls and see if you can’t at least get two boxes sorted out before you have to get the kids from school.

And hey, Heather, cut yourself some slack. None of this will matter in six months.

Send your questions to

¹If you’re a child of the seventies or eighties, you wouldn’t even blink at the idea of a Heather addressing another Heather. In fact, growing up in this very neighborhood, my best friend was Heather. She lived just around the corner and we were inseparable for years.


(I decided to let y’all in on some internal dialogue rather than sitting here and thinking I should write, I should clean, I should work, I should, I should, I should. So I did. Things are getting better, even if from the outside it looks a whole lot messier.)

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9 thoughts on “Moving Is a Mess”

  1. I’m a “child of the 60’s” but I can certainly relate. I just moved myself – so far I’ve unpacked where you can see and the rest will happen a few boxes at a time. The hard part is figuring out where everything needs to go with only a small crawl space for storage. On the up side I’m quickly figuring out that if I’m not going to look at it, I’m not going to keep it. If it doesn’t freeze and I really have to keep it, it’s going in the garage……just a few boxes at a time!

    • The extra table and chairs are gone, which helps a lot. (Thanks, Nigel!)
      I’ve got a promise to help with the bunk beds on Sunday evening, which will let me get another shelf in there and out of my “office”
      The shelves are clear and the bags / boxes of canned goods are put away.
      I still have to figure out the dishwasher thing.

  2. I thought this was great. Some days I have to talk to myself to just get going and do the everyday housework. Moving can be so overwhelming, I’m sending my wishes for some peace and orderliness your way!

    • Thank you, I was scared I’ve been a bit too navel gazey lately (last 15 months) but I think that just happens when there’s a lot of change to deal with.
      I figured if I put it in writing I’d have to do something about it. There’s something about putting accountability in a public place that makes it more of a motivating factor. At least for me anyhow.

  3. Heather, you totally crack me up. And you’re right – this will be a very cool experience for you and your kids to look back on, and it will get better. 🙂 I’m not moving, but I do have a couple rooms that need some major renovations, and a baby on the way, so stuff will need to go to make room for all the baby things that will be arriving soon… Thanks for the motivation to just do a little at a time to make it manageable. 🙂

    • Congratulations to you! What kind of renovations are you doing? (One was pretty obvious 🙂 )

      This move is more of a Dave Ramsey / Clark Howard, let’s make good financial choices even if they stink in the short term kind of thing. (FWIW I’m not in trouble, I just realized that I could do a lot better than tread water if I made this move.)

      I already miss that neighborhood, but my goal is to be back there in less than two years.

  4. This.was.awesome! You go girl! I can guarantee if you ask for the help there are people who are willing to help you. (Says the girl who just spent the past two days helping friends load their house. And I can’t wait for two weeks when they get their new house either to help settle them in!!) Ask for the help girl, and let people show they care.

  5. I just moved house 2 days ago, and feel exactly the same way. Around 60 boxes strewn across all the rooms. Feel overwhelmed and needing storage to be set up so we can unpack some of the boxes. Really appreciate the tips.

    • You’ll get there, I promise. I did get things done that weekend and even managed to do a little decorating for Christmas, this year. (I’m generally not that together and usually focus just on food)


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