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Goodbye, lovers. See you in the new house!

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Yesterday, reader Rachel said, “I’m having trouble packing for a one-week vacation with a toddler in the house…how on earth do you pack a whole house with a toddler around?!?”

Well, it’s been an experience, that’s for sure. But we’re making it through with equal parts creativity and crazy — and a dash of humor. Here’s my tips on packing to move with a toddler that go beyond “pack when he sleeps”, because, yeah. Right.

Give them someplace “off limits” to play.

In our house, this is the Tupperware cabinet. To be honest, this is never really off limits, because it’s safe, easy to clean up, and will keep Owen occupied when I need to do something like start dinner. He tears through it like the Tasmanian Devil, but no harm comes from it. By letting him “unpack” that cabinet for me today, I was able to pack up a lot of the kitchen.

Let them have their own box.

Owen is totally enthralled by the amount of boxes in the house right now. “Box! Box! Box!” has become his word of the moment. He loves them so much, that any time I would put something in a box, he would take it out. Not very helpful. The solution? Give him his very own, of course. It’s taken residence in our living room and has become a fort of sorts. He sits in it, crawls in and out of it, and puts toys and books in it.

Let them watch a little TV.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t have a problem with Owen watching a little Sesame Street. I’ll put it on in the afternoon so he can wind down a little before napping. Usually, if he watches more than 10 consecutive minutes that’s a lot, because he’s much more interested in his blocks and books. But, if a song comes on, he’s into it, and I’m guaranteed enough time to eat something, fold some laundry or, you know, use the bathroom alone. If you add his box into the mix, well, I might even get fifteen minutes. Whoa. And if you would never dare let your child watch some TV, well, more power to you. You must have one of those genius toddlers who practice a foreign language while mastering how to play the harp.

Accept help.

I would love to fancy myself Super Mom, but let’s be honest, I only have two hands. There’s no shame in accepting a little help so when a friend offers to move some boxes for you or your mother-in-law offers to take the kid for a few hours, let them. That’s what grandparents are for, after all. My MIL took Owen for about five hours the other day and I managed to pack almost our entire upstairs without having to worry about what Owen was up to. And when he came home from grandma’s he was exhausted. Another plus! I also got to sneak in a little zen time for me.

Take a break.

I think this is the most important step of all. Packing a whole house can get overwhelming, so giving yourself a breather is important. It’s also important to make sure your toddler is getting enough attention and isn’t being neglected because of the big task in front of you. Try to keep their routine as close to normal as possible, and make sure you’re doing something fun together each day. Yesterday, I packed all morning, then put Owen in a stroller for a walk to the park. We played on the swings, took a walk by the river, and met another boy his age. He was happy, I was happy, it was all good.

In the end, it’s going to be a bit chaotic, but you’ll get through it. I hope.

I’m a pretty seasoned traveler. Flying is something I almost enjoy. I say almost because yeah, the seats get a little uncomfy and ew, airports are gross, but overall, I like to fly. It stems back to being little and imagining that if I stepped out of the plane at just this minute, I’d be able to walk across those big fluffy clouds. And I always order a Sprite when I fly. It used to be a special treat when I was small — a fizzy soda in the air — so I keep that tradition alive.

But now, here’s my problem. Along with being a seasoned traveler comes being a seasoned packer. I can get everything in my suitcase just so and never forget anything. And when I’m flying, I try not to over-pack. I’m usually pretty good about this, except for the time I went to Vegas with some girlfriends and we packed an entire suitcase full of shoes and bags. Really.

We fly out Friday morning for my brother-in-law’s wedding, and since it’s such a short trip, we will be saving time and carrying on our bag. However, this leads to a problem.

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See, the wedding is in Kansas and in Kansas it’s going to be humid and my hair? Does not like humidity. Which means I’ll need an array of hair products in my possession. I started panicking about this (yeah, I know, big problem. But I did!) yesterday, when my smart husband suggested I buy a bunch of those small plastic bottles and just fill them up with whatever I need. Oh. Right. Why didn’t I think of that?

So OK, we got that down. Now all I have to do is go out and get a stupid quart-sized Ziplock bag because really? It has to be a quart? Not a gallon? Because I have sandwich size and I have gallon sized and they’re not going to fit in the sandwich bag. Which means TSA wins and I have to go buy a box of quart-sized bags. Unless someone wants to donate two of them my way.

After some digging, I found out that you can bring a razor to shave (apparently, they’re called a “safety razor”), but can’t find out for sure if I can bring a tweezer. Does anyone know the answer to this? Is a tweezer considered a weapon?

I find them really handy for when the stranger next to you starts snoring and falling onto your shoulder. One quick pull of a nose hair and they’ll leave you alone the rest of the trip.