Moving. It can be an exciting and hopeful time, but it’s also one full of stress and a heck of a lot of work. Even if you’re just moving across the neighborhood you still have to wrap, pack, load, unload, organize, clean, deal with address changes and so on. If you’re moving to a new city it’s even harder. Besides leaving an established support system, you have to deal with the joys of navigating a new city — finding a grocery store, doctor, dentist, gym, preschool, hairdresser, etc.
So if you know someone going through a move right now, whether your best friend got transferred across the country or a new family moved in next door, here are a few gifts ideas or things you can do to make their move a little easier.
Moving “Emergency” Box – This was one of the most thoughtful gifts I received the last time we moved. Before we left my good friend handed me a large storage container filled with those odds and ends you need when you first move in but may not be able to find in the chaos. Little things such as toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, a razor blade to open boxes, a towel (ever moved and wanted to take a shower before you could find and unpack the box of towels?), bottled water, snacks, etc.
And because she knows me she was kind enough to include a bottle of wine, plastic wine glasses and a crucial gadget — the wine opener! She decorated and wrote sweet messages on the box with a Sharpie. It was not only thoughtful and sweet, but incredibly useful. We used almost all of the items in that box the first week we moved. Especially the wine.
Along these same lines is a “pre” moving box, filled with things they might need to prepare for moving such as packing tape, sharpies, bubble wrap, etc. Oh, and probably wine.
Gift Cards – Gift cards are great, and I promise they won’t come off as impersonal. Moving is full of all types of unforeseen expenses, and a gift card will be much appreciated. Places like Home Depot, Lowe’s, HEB and Target are great — everyone can use one of those during a move. Or if you know their decorating tastes you could lean that way (ex. Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Anthropologie….). Other ideas are gift cards for local restaurants or attractions. That not only helps them out financially, but encourages the newcomers to get out and explore their new city.
Framed Photo or Picture Book – If you have a favorite picture of you with your friend that’s moving why not put it in a frame? Instagram is great but there’s something about an actual print. She can display it in her new home, and if she ever feels lonely in her new city it’ll remind her that she’s never alone. Or if you have several favorite pictures together, why not create a photobook of memories with Snapfish, Shutterfly or any of those services. They can be customized and a treasured gift for your friend to take with her as she sets out on her new adventure.
A “Master List” – This one is completely free but also one of the most meaningful things we received when we moved to our new neighborhood. A few days after we arrived our next-door neighbor gave me a detailed handwritten list of all her local favorites. She included recommendations for doctors, dentists, hair stylists, restaurants, vets, preschools, lawn care and even her favorite massage therapist. It was personalized with little notes in the margins.
Of course anyone can Google to find most of those things, but having a personal referral from someone means so much more. She told us which restaurants had playscapes and were good for kids — other important info! It was a sweet gesture because I know it took her quite a bit of time to research and write it all out. That well-worn list remains in our kitchen drawer and I still refer to it from time to time.
Activities for the Kids – Moving can be stressful on the little ones as well (“new home, mom and dad are busy, we don’t have any friends and all our toys are packed! Aggh!!”). So why not get them a little something, too. A coloring book and crayons, a puzzle, Legos, a game — anything to keep them occupied while mom and dad sift through boxes and try to get things organized.
Specific Offers of Help – “Let me know if I can do something” is nice, but a lot of people won’t take you up on it. Instead, offer specific things you can do such as helping pack the dishes (the worst part in my opinion!) or taking a load of donations to Goodwill. Or babysit their kids for a few hours so they can have time to get things done. Maybe mow their lawn while they’re out of town or make them dinner so they have one less thing to deal with.
Other ideas include:
- A family membership to nearby museum or other local attraction
- Stack of take-out menus from your favorite local restaurants
- Personalized stationery or customized address stamp with their new address
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