Tips for Unpacking With a Baby

As I end my week of “reflection” posts in regards to 2017, I wanted to cover something I felt like we spent a lot of time on last year. When I think of 2017, I think of Maxi and moving boxes. How quaint. One thing I love and one thing I abhor. 😉

It’s never fun to move twice, but clearly I can’t complain. We were so excited about this home and it was our choice to move. Who can complain about their home selling quickly?! While we weren’t moving far and one time we didn’t fully unpack, it still takes a lot of planning to move twice with a little one. Because I work from home, I needed to get settled quickly so we could dive back into our routine. My grandfather was a homebuilder and so my mom moved 30 times before she married my dad. THIRTY. Needless to say, she’s got a lot of tips especially since she was 1 of 4 girls. She saw her mom implement a lot of great tactics, and I applied a few that worked wonders with our moves. While I’m no expert, here is what worked for us!

  1. It Takes A Village

If you’re a control freak [ahem, me] it can be hard to admit you want or need help. Before baby, when I moved I could get up early and start the process then not go to bed until I was pleased with my finished result. Because Maxi needs constant watching and care, I had to ask for help. Get your babysitter to come over, try to budget for someone to help you with specific tasks and enlist family or friends to help as well. I budgeted to have movers, a babysitter one day and a handyman to hang light fixtures. By hiring a few things here and there I was able to devote more time to Maxi and felt less guilty when I did have our babysitter watch her and needed to focus on unpacking.

  1. Unpack Detailed Areas Before Move

If you can, schedule your move date a few days after you close. Detailed areas like your closet and bathroom cabinets take hours to unpack simply because most of us have to assess and toss items while doing so. I knew I didn’t want to just toss whatever skincare items in my cabinets without organizing them, so I did those before we moved. I went up a day before we moved and unpacked our bathrooms and closets. It wasn’t perfect, but this allowed us to “live” when we did move in. Maxi had all her clothes there and Paul and I could take a shower and get ready. Some people unpack their kitchen first and I totally would recommend that with a big family. Since we just have one little one, it was easy to live off take out for a day or two. If your baby is mobile, I also recommend taking a day to baby proof and plug outlets. Paul did that while I set up our closets and that made everything a really smooth transition. Because I unpacked the necessities, I was able to focus 100% on her nursery the day we actually moved.

  1. Safe Zone For Baby

I was very anxious about moving with Maxi simply because I wouldn’t know where things were. I was scared someone would leave scissors on the floor and she could grab them. You’ve got to have a safe zone for baby! When I was pregnant, I was very anti “stuff.” I justified it by saying, “Well in New York people don’t have a ton of room and they raise babies just fine.” Which is true. It is 100% true and Americans are incredibly blessed and we don’t “need” all the stuff we have. However, what I didn’t take into account was the fact that New Yorkers have different options than we do. From lots of baby classes to plenty of parks, they have different amenities than we do in Fort Worth, Texas. We have one park in our neighborhood and I can’t walk to get Maxi a smoothie. You get the idea. Once Maxi was more mobile, I quickly learned the “stuff” I was so against was the “stuff” I so desperately wanted. I knew we needed a pack ‘n’ play, and asked my friend Diana which one she went with as they travel a lot for her job. Her baby is 11 months and I think he has been on 26 flights or something like that! They went with the Nuna Sena Aire so we did as well. Please note, in these photos Maxi does have toys because she is older. If your baby is young you definitely don’t want to leave anything in this with them unattended. This one is really light which made it easy for me to move it room to room while we unpacked. Maxi also slept in it a few nights because our movers lost her crib hardware, but that’s an entirely different story. My favorite thing about this pack n play is that it has a bassinet option as well [you can see in the photos]. I wasn’t the biggest fan of our bassinet and shared why in previous posts. If you don’t want a lot of extra gear when baby comes home, this is a wonderful option because they can use it when they are newborns and then when they are Maxi’s age and beyond. It is such a life saver now when I take something out of the oven, take the trash out or just have to keep her safe for a few minutes when I can’t hold her.

  1. Mini Baskets

Go grab a few baskets from the store and fill them with “new items. Maxi loves spatulas and Tupperware and all the lids. Put about five or six items in each basket but only take out one at a time. Keep the other baskets in the closet and switch out every 20 minutes. I would put one basket in her Nuna or next to me on the ground. This kept her from being interested in whatever I was unpacking because she doesn’t normally get to play with wooden spoons. She loved it! This entertained her for a solid two hours in between naps. You can also mix in a few toys they don’t typically play with.

  1. Let Them Unpack

I would divide my unpacking times around her nap schedule so I always thought of things in “two hour increments” as that’s how long Maxi was awake at the time in between naps. For one, two-hour unpacking session I found things Maxi could help me unpack. She loved helping me unpack part of my closet with all the bags. She would open and close wallets and handbags for hours. I let her play with a few bags on the floor and then I was able to get the rest of my closet folded and stored away. While they sleep, you unpack the breakable items and when they are awake try to unpack things like packaged DVDs because they can’t break those!

  1. Babysitter on Install Days/Doggy Daycare

When you move, I feel like there’s always one major “install” day where everyone from your security system to your cable company comes and goes. I always dread that day! Your focus can’t be on your child because you’re signing for furniture and talking to people that are coming in and out of your home all day. Hire your babysitter that day and we also did doggy daycare for Peaches. If a ton of new people come in and out of our home Peaches gets really stressed out, so we knew she’d be much happier playing with her friends. I also loved having my babysitter because in between people coming I could play with Maxi, but I also knew she was safe when I was having to talk to five different people at once.

  1. Pre-Plan meals

Our realtor is my mom’s best friend, so I’m always a little biased but she is amazing. The night you move she always brings enough food to last you a few days. From pasta dishes for dinner to muffins for breakfast, I didn’t have to worry about food for Paul and I. For Maxi, I made these banana muffins for her before we moved and she snacked on those. These energy bites are also a great option that you can make before you move so you aren’t starving.

  1. Keep Sleep Schedule Same

Every baby is so different. We had a HORRIBLE 4-month sleep regression, but then she didn’t have an 8-month sleep regression. I was told when we moved her sleep schedule would be 100% different and it would be like the 4-month sleep regression. I was honestly terrified. Our 4-month sleep regression lasted a long time. Moving, trying to get back to work and waking up six times at night wasn’t on the agenda. I will say, we got lucky and Maxi’s sleep schedule didn’t change when moving. However, the whole crib fiasco just stressed me out. The movers lost her hardware and her crib is Pottery Barn. The hardware Pottery Barn uses isn’t standard that you can grab at a local hardware store. We called them and they told us they couldn’t send replacement hardware. The only hardware we could find to match the crib was online and took about a week to arrive. I was so nervous she wouldn’t sleep well, but we just put the Nuna in the spot her crib would be, kept her sleep schedule the exact same and her routine the same. She slept great! I know a lot of that is luck, but when you change your baby’s sleep situation three times in a week that can be a little nerve wracking. She didn’t notice a difference when we transitioned from Nuna to crib, so I was glad we could move the Nuna around in the spots we needed to. Funny enough, Pottery Barn sent us the new hardware two weeks ago? A little late but I guess they do send it! Haha.

  1. Take a Late Nap

If you can, take a quick 30-minute nap when they do at the end of the day. Baby will be about to go to bed soon and it’s so nice to have extra energy at night. By taking that quick nap, I was able to stay up way later and unpack without worrying about Maxi. My friends make fun of me but I’ll totally take a quick nap on the floor in front of her crib while she sleeps. Not normal? haha!

  1. Prioritize Rooms You Unpack

I was reading blogs that military moms wrote and with their continual and sacrificial moves they are experts! They said they always unpack the nursery first when they move [as opposed to the kitchen] because then the babies barely have time to notice their room changed. The order we unpacked was: [before move] bathrooms and closets, [after move] her room, kitchen, family room, playroom, master, guest rooms. I’m not sure if unpacking her nursery first thing was what helped her sleep or not, but it can’t hurt to do it. It also allowed us to take unpacking breaks and go in her room as a family and play in our own little center of “peace.”

I’m not an expert by any means and I feel much more comfortable swapping tips on skincare than I do moving, but I hope this helps you! If you have a move planned with a baby in 2018, don’t stress too much. Stick to a few tips and you can totally do it! Now decorating with a baby?! That’s a totally different story. You don’t want to know how many coffee tables I have ordered and returned. One is baby friendly but doesn’t fit. Then another one is baby friendly and doesn’t match. Then I got one but it is so gorgeous I want it in the formal dining room, heaven forbid my kids color on it in the future or something. Then I ordered an ottoman and my husband said it clashed with the chairs. I finally purchased a round one, ordered a “bumper” for it online and called it a day. And if that doesn’t work well then I’ll probably ban myself from ever ordering furniture ever again…

I hope this helps you! Are you moving in 2018?!

Sweater: Link | Nuna: Link [c/o] | Baskets: Pottery Barn | Flats: Similar | Photography by: Madison Katlin

| Editor’s Note: You may have noticed the Q&A video didn’t go live yesterday as promised and I truly apologize for anyone looking for it. Yesterday we had a scary family emergency and a loved one’s car was totaled by an 18 wheeler. The laptop containing the video was in the car. Clearly, the video does not matter and it of course won’t be uploaded now. However, I just wanted to share as I had received some questions asking why the video didn’t go live. Thank you so much for your kindness as always! xo|

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7 Comments

  1. Can’t imagine how you handle it all! Wonderwoman for sure! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Published 05 Jan 18Reply
  2. Desi wrote:

    I hope everything is ok !

    Published 05 Jan 18Reply
  3. Winter wrote:

    Prayers for your family and the member in the accident. I hope all is well!

    Published 05 Jan 18Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Thank you so much, Winter! I always appreciate your kind comments!

      Published 07 Jan 18Reply
  4. Amber Y wrote:

    Katey, that is so scary! I already have this insane fear of 18 wheelers after a bad deadly accident here in GA a few years back. I’m praying for everyone involved.

    Published 05 Jan 18Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Thank you so much Amber! It was a terrifying phone call to get! 🙁

      Published 07 Jan 18Reply
  5. Sara wrote:

    I’m so, so glad you posted this today! We decided to sell our home last spring, we wanted to build a house in a different town… We moved in with my mom since she has plenty of bedrooms for my husband and I and our 5 and 2 year old. Well two weeks after moving in with her we found out we were pregnant!! So now our baby is due in 10 days and our house will be ready to move in, in a month…. it’s going to be a crazy time!!

    Published 05 Jan 18Reply