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To continue with our theme of ministry transitions (see Ep 26: How to Know When It’s Time to Go and Ep 27: How to Help Kids Survive Ministry Transitions & Moving), I thought it was appropriate to give some practical tips on moving I’ve learned–unfortunately, from my vast experience, haha! If you’re married to the ministry, this is a topic you’ll probably face at some point, if you haven’t already. If you’d like to hear the entire conversation, click below to listen now!

Episode Description: As a veteran of 24 moves, Janet shares tips she’s learned about packing, moving, and settling in. She’s moved multiple times as a child and with children, as well as back into houses that didn’t sell. Check out Married to the Ministry for ways you can prepare your home and family for a new address without losing your sanity in the process. 
Links and Product Info:  MidLife Matters Podcast: Ep 96 – Moving in Midlife 

My moving credentials:

  • Over my lifetime, I’ve moved 24 times, including 7 times between 2017 – 2022
  • moved 5 times as a child
  • moved 5 times with our children
  • moved 2 times back into houses that didn’t sell
  • moved 2 times after rushing to finish renovations
  • moved our children in and out of apartments 10 times
  • helped downsize and move our parents and close friends
  • “moving guest expert” on another podcast (MidLife Matters Ep. 96: Moving in Midlife)



  • The preceding two months, keep a list of everyone you do business with so you can disconnect all the services. Collect contact info for doctors/specialists
  • Fill out change-of-address forms



    Forearm Forklift straps: Home Depot

    • Friends to help—you won’t be able to do this all alone! Cleaning, goodwill runs, gathering left-behind items 
    • 3-ring binder w/dividers or clipboard trapper/keeper for organizing lists and contacts
    • Sturdy tape guns and keep several extra rolls of tape—buy one for each kid and let them be in charge of taping boxes together
    • Apron with pockets for list, tape gun, markers, scissors or cutting tool
    • Dolly, some orange arm straps, sliders, four-wheel dolly 
    • Boxes & paper: FB Marketplace, Amazon boxes, call nearby stores and ask how and when they dispose of boxes. Break them down and store flat until you need them. Even if you hire movers to pack, you’ll still need to box things up
    • preferably before movers give an estimate (based on weight)
    • not everything will work in the next house 
    • some of it may get damaged or mysteriously lost
    • cheaper to replace than move
    • disappointed when I opened a box and thought, why did I keep this?

    • If you’re moving for another ministry job, costs should be covered by your new employer.
    • Get several estimates for moving, including them providing packing labor and materials. We personally have had the best service from smaller family-owned companies than larger national movers. For full-service jobs, could cost $10-25K depending on distance and amount of stuff. 
    • Understand their damage insurance policies!
    • Get a cost breakdown for materials, packing labor, moving labor, storage, mileage, etc so you know what you’re paying for.

    • If you need a storage unit, start looking early because they are hard to find! 
    • Realize that if movers put your stuff in storage, you won’t be able to get specific items out because it will be packed in like Tetris.
    • If the movers will be storing your stuff, ask specifically how your things will be transferred into and out of their storage—this is where a lot of ours got damaged, in the re-wrapping where I wasn’t watching.

    • Let kids pack a special suitcase or box with their most sentimental items they can always access
    • Keep all important documents safe and handy (birth certificates, medical records, school documents)
    • Understand that moving company packers don’t ask questions—they pack: gas fireplace key, trash in garbage can, etc
    • Remember you’ll need towels, toiletries, and clothes until you’re out of the house, so set aside what you’ll need for the transition

    • Pack and transport yourself anything you consider to be “priceless”. 
    • Fill boxes to the very top with crumpled paper to avoid crushing the box during stacking.
    • Nest items when possible to reduce empty space in boxes.
    • Pack dishes vertically/standing on plate edge, NOT stacked on top of one another.
    • Avoid putting cords and bolts in a “parts box”—Instead, tape all screws, remotes, cords, and small parts to the bottom of the piece they fit (TVs, furniture).
    • As you box things up, try to empty rooms as you go, so you can begin cleaning.




  • Protect your back (use proper lifting technique) and your feet (wear good shoes).
  • Make sure you have ice, snacks, drinks, paper goods readily available on both ends of the move.
  • Anticipate the movers will NOT get everything on the truck, so have a plan B ready.
  • Assign someone has to stand at the front door and direct the movers.
  • Set aside “undecided” boxes in the garage until you have time to get to them, instead of cluttering up inside space.




  • As you open boxes, flatten them and put them in the garage. Immediately post them on FB marketplace for people to come get. 
  • Put items where they go in the new space and designate a holding area for “no home yet” items.
  • Hand draw a map of where the major things are so you don’t feel lost all the time.
  • Get a library card and register to vote!


If you’re planning a move sometime soon…

I hope these tips help you prepare to relocate your family without panic. One of the biggest perks of moving is that it forces you to deal with all your stuff one piece at a time, which can be a great way to teach your kids the principle Jesus taught in Luke 12:15, that “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” 

Thanks for hanging out with me today! I hope summer brings many blessings to your family and to your ministry. Until next time, keep loving Jesus, loving your husband, and loving your people.

*If you would like to help Married to the Ministry to grow and flourish, we’d like to invite you to get involved. Click here to learn more.