If this is your first time moving as a parent, then you need to buckle up – you are in for quite a ride! Relocation is a complex endeavor in any given situation, but household relocation with a baby, toddler or even a school-aged child is a process like no other. During all the hustle and bustle that’s inevitably going to come attached to this process, you will have to take care of one very important thing – packing children’s toys when moving.
This probably sounds like a simple enough process, but it almost never is. For starters, you will want to pack your kid’s toys in the right moment as, should you pack them too early on, you will be faced with bored kids and they are usually up to no good. But you should also not leave their packing for the very last minute as we all know you will have many worries and the last thing you will need at this point is to wonder whether you have packed all the favorite toys of your little ones.
Have the right approach
Were anyone to ask you whether you should involve your kids in the moving process, chances are your answer would probably be negative. While you should definitely hire a babysitter on the actual day of the move and keep your kids safe and sound, experts say you shouldn’t completely exclude them from the event. Provided that they are old enough, of course. In reality, children can perform a lot of the smaller moving tasks that are in relation to their items as soon as they hit the age of four.
Take a moment to explain the situation to your kids in great detail. Let them know that the toys that will be placed in boxes aren’t going to be lost forever, and encourage them to think about their new room and where they would like to place them. If you present packing, wrapping, and boxing like a fun thing, you can rest assured your kids will be more than enthusiastic to help you pack. But that’s not where their help ends.
Ask your kid to choose a set of toys
Take a look around your room and closet. Chances are you have a lot of items you no longer use but still keep around simply because you are emotionally attached to them. However, relocation is the perfect time to get rid of all of these items as it will make your move quicker, easier, and a whole lot cheaper. And the same approach can be transferred to your kids and their toys.
If they are old enough, ask them to choose a set of toys they frequently use. And if you are a parent of a young toddler, make sure you observe him/her a few weeks before the move. Watch which toys they play with and which ones they haven’t even looked at in a whole month. Feel free to pack up those toys that they have outgrown in a separate box and then decide what to do with it.
If you are planning on having another child, storage units are a great option as you will be able to keep these toys in a safe place until you are ready to use them again. Secondly, you can always decide to be charitable and donate these items to those who are less fortunate. Ultimately, you could just throw them away, although there will probably always be those who will be able to make good use of these toys.
Gather the right packing supplies
Oh, how tempting it is to throw everything into one large box and load it onto the moving truck. But deep down, you know this isn’t the right approach to packing children’s toys when moving. The best way for your kid’s toys to stay safe during transport is if they are packed tightly together, which will only be possible if you pack them in smaller boxes. Likewise, many toys have parts that are more fragile than others, and they demand special attention. So not only will you have to buy moving boxes galore, but you will also have to arm yourself with protective packaging, tape, and a marker.
Pieces of advice for packing children’s toys when moving
Now that you have decluttered your child’s bedroom by donating old toys and gathered the right supplies, it’s time to get down to work. As mentioned, it’s very important that you protect your items while moving. Unfortunately, there’s plenty of room for damage to occur and the last thing you want is to console your kids for days once that their favorite toy is no longer in one piece.
Cushion the boxes
That’s why you should start the packing process by lining your boxes with packing paper or some other protective packaging material. Even old newspapers can be used for this purpose as the focus isn’t on spending money – it’s on making sure your boxes are cushioned. Likewise, you need to ensure everything fits in tightly after all the items have been placed inside a box. If you see there is any free room between the toys, throw in packing peanuts in the amount that’s necessary to fill in the gaps.
Give special care
Is your child a collector of porcelain dolls or vintage toys? Since you are the one who bought the entire collection, you know how much they cost. And you know that any damage to them will be irreparable. That’s why when packing children’s toys for a move, you need to give these items the special care they deserve.
Before placing an item inside a box, make sure it is wrapped in packing paper or any other form of protective packaging. And feel free to forget about the ‘less is more’ approach when it comes to this prospect. Instead, wrap every toy in at least two layers of protective materials and have a peace of mind during the transport.
Soft toys go in bags
There isn’t a reason to pack plush toys and stuffed animals inside moving boxes. Due to the fact that they practically can’t get damaged as well as the fact that they are lightweight, they will do just fine inside large tote bags or even garbage bags. However, do take notice of the fact that they can be packed like this for transport only. If you plan on storing them or keeping them in the basement/garage, they will need additional care that will protect them from the elements. Remember that the same goes for both expensive and cheap baby clothes, cribs, and wooden pieces of furniture from your child’s room.
Label the boxes
Alas, the final step is the easiest one. All you have to do is write on the outside of a box and let everyone know which items are inside. This will also help you with unpacking, so it goes without saying that you should set aside a few minutes for this job. Don’t forget to label the collector’s toys as FRAGILE. Everyone should be particularly careful when handling that box.
Even though the process of packing children’s toys when moving seems like something you can do quickly, don’t let yourself make the same mistake many others have made. Start packing on time and by no means should you leave this task for the morning of your move. A word of advice: unpack your child’s toys as soon as you arrive at your new home. You will certainly want to keep them occupied while you deal with other more pressing matters.
Eva Lang is a mother of two who currently resides in Long Island. As a journalist, she specializes in writing parenting articles and has years of experience working in the moving industry. She majored in English Language and Literature and still spends her free time reading renaissance novels.