268 boxes of stuff. Approximately 75 pieces of furniture. Here I sit on Sunday morning, 4 days after we drove up to the door at 2am, and only see 4 unpacked boxes. How on earth did this happen? Do I have any advice for other folks moving and just overwhelmed with the enormity of the task?
First, get up early. It was far easier to unpack from 4:30am until the children woke, for after I heard that first wail from Julia Ellen, the amount of paper and boxes I was able to toss into the garage dropped dramatically.
Second, enlist help. Will broke down boxes and stuffed paper into the big ones, sealing them with tape, for hour after hour on Thursday without complaint and handsomely earning an unexpected $20 from his daddy. The girls helped watch the baby, swapping out turns when they got tired of pulling her out of the doorway to the backyard.
Third, distract. When picking up groceries at Kroger on Wednesday morning at 6:30am, I spied a hard plastic pool and impulsively bought it. That pool has saved me countless hours I could have spent breaking up arguments and shooing cranky children out of the way. For the past several days they have happily splashed with the baby, grown a plastic snake their grandfather brought over, sprayed each other with the hose, and safely stayed out of my hair.
Fourth, pawn them off on a unsuspecting neighbor. Maggie has a new 5 year old friend next door with a large swing set. The new rule is that they are not to go next door without Hannah being home and playing outside. I have a feeling that, after this week, her mother is very grateful that she only has one child.
Fifth, a reward. I told myself we couldn't leave for Maine until everything was unpacked and with everyone chipping in, we are ready to pack our suitcases this afternoon and hit the road on Monday for our tiny apartment on the farm which only took 3 hours to make it fully functional when we moved in the first time. But we have the whole outdoors to enjoy, the house we are building to admire, and not a single box to unpack.
*note: I didn't unpack the toys, video tapes, puzzles, or games for obvious reasons, mostly that I would be spending my days putting away rather than unpacking.