Moving Your Kids Back Home: Practical Tips for Dealing with the Baggage
Your kids never stop being your kids. As they embark on various adventures — to college, a new job, or abroad — you worry about them and celebrate with them. But despite how quickly they’re growing up, they still need Mom and Dad.
If you’re like many parents, you’ve heard these questions: “How am I supposed to find my own place?” “I have so much to pack! Where do I start?” And, the question that sends a chill down many parents’ spines: “Can I move back in with you for awhile?”
With a perfect storm of the recent sluggish economic recovery and a new generation of young adults who feel little stigma about moving back in with Mom and Dad, more 18- to 34-year olds are moving home than ever before.
It may help to know that you’re not alone in facing this burden. In fact, a growing number of young people, sometimes called boomerang kids, are moving home for an extended stay. So, how do you help them without enabling them? Here are some practical tips for dealing with the logistics of moving your kids back home.
First Things First: Make a Shopping List
The fun part may have been moving them into that new dorm room. Now comes the “real” challenge: Moving them back home as they either begin a new phase of their life or get back on their feet.
Some kids are organized from the get-go, but others are not. If you’ve got a kid who’s rendered helpless at the thought of packing up the last four years of his or her life, you’ll need to make a plan. Before you make multiple trips to the store, make a shopping list:
- Boxes, boxes, boxes. Begin collecting them early!
- Packing tape and a pair of scissors. It helps to have more than one set available.
- Permanent markers. Your kids won’t necessarily have these on hand.
- Heavy trash bags. These can be used to hold trash or dirty clothes.
- Cleaning supplies. — There will be more dust than you think.
- Allergy medicine or pain relievers for the inevitable headaches or other pains you may experience during the move.
- Bottled water, and — most important of all —
- Coffee and doughnuts (or some form of caffeine and sustenance). Roommates are more likely to help if there’s free food involved.
The Logistics: Let’s Get Moving!
Although it might be tempting to throw everything in the car and sort it out later, there’s a better way.
(1) Throw out the trash.
Your child has undoubtedly accumulated knick-knacks, useless junk, and piles and piles of paper that should under no circumstances come home with you. Resist the temptation to throw it all in a cardboard box. Say no to clutter and just throw it away.
(2) Create a few organized piles.
Consider doing this before you begin filling up that moving van: Decide what things your child will need from day-to-day, what things your child can store in boxes until he or she is ready to move again, and what things your child really doesn’t need anymore. Don’t let sentimental feelings get in the way of keeping your move speedy and organized.
(3) Store, Ship or Donate.
Having a few boxes ready for shipping will help when you realize your child has accumulated more than you can easily pack. Consider renting a truck for the big stuff. You can also rent a storage unit if you’d like to keep your garage clutter-free. And the Goodwill or Salvation Army would be happy to resell items your child doesn’t use.
(4 ) Enlist Some Extra Help.
If this all sounds time-consuming or labor-intensive, there are alternatives. For instance, it may be safer and easier to hire a moving company to manage your exodus home. You will also want to have a contingency plan in place to ensure your vehicle is safely transported back home, as well.
Final Thoughts on Moving Your Kids Back Home
As you prepare for this big change, remember that it’s not all sweat and tears. Many parents discover that, as they get to know their children as young adults, they become better friends. By giving your kids support and a workable plan — while resisting the urge to solve their problems for them — you help them build those strong foundations that will serve them in the years ahead.