When you go through a divorce with children, there is a lot to think about. I mean, a LOT. For this reason, you are forgiven for not considering the finer logistics … such as what will they use to take their belongings from one house to another at handover time?
I am writing about this because the very first time my girls went to their dad’s, I grabbed the nearest container I could find, which happened to be a plastic washing basket. And, for nearly seven years, we have been ferrying their school uniforms, cuddly toys, and more recently make-up and the obligatory Doc Martin’s from house-to-house in the same washing basket.
At change-over time they remind me of little refugees carrying their baskets of their most treasured belongings out the door and into the car. And every time I think, ‘we really should get them something better to use’.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with using a washing basket, but if you’re struggling to think what to use or are not happy with your current system here are some ideas.
Further reading: Helping your children live happily between two homes.
IDEAS FOR MOVING KID’S STUFF DURING HANDOVER
I have to start with the sturdy plastic washing basket as it has served us for so long, and years of experience confirms they do work brilliantly.
They can be piled nice and high, and you can easily check to see if everything has been packed. A drawback is that they can be hard for little people to carry. They come in different colours so work well with one for each child.
Best of all they are cheap and of course, they can double as an actual washing basket when not in use.
We found this at: Big W
I got this idea from a close single Dad friend who has three children. They use one of the big Ikea bags. I originally accused him of stealing it, only to find they can be purchased for just $1, making it an extra-economical solution for moving your children’s belongings from one house to another.
They have plenty of space, are easy to carry (or drag) between kids and are very convenient to store away when not in use, simply fold or screw-up. Its large depths could make finding things a challenge, as well as checking to see what’s been packed, and what’s been forgotten.
We found this at: Ikea
CARRY-ON LUGGAGE CASES
To keep things easier and a bit more classy, small suitcases (the kind you take as carry-on luggage on a plane) are perfect. This is because they are a good size and they have wheels so even little children will be enthusiast about taking their luggage to the car. We prefer these over the standard hold-all bag as they’re easier to pack and unpack.
You may even have a couple lying around the house that your children can use. If not, you’d be surprised how cheap they are.
Bonus: You can use them for flying or travelling at other times too. Your kids will be pros at packing by that stage.
We found this at: Big W
If you have little kiddies, especially if they are struggling with the move between homes, these cute little ride-on cases are great. Perhaps not the most practical of luggage solutions but definitely something to make handover more fun and take the emphasis away from saying goodbye to one parent.
Packing their shiny new suitcase and riding it (or being pulled) to the car will be a new routine that delights and defuses the awkwardness of the handover.
There are heaps of varieties available online. Maybe get your son or daughter to choose one with you, they may even start to look forward to handover so they can use it.
We found this at: Temple & Webster
OK, this could sound a little crazy, but it would work brilliantly.
This is how: You have the same set of drawers at both Mum and Dad’s house, say a three-draw chest, for example one draw for uniform the others for bits that go between homes. Then, you simply transport the drawers and put them in the chest in the other house. No packing and unpacking and packing again. Just switch the drawers!
Does anyone actually do this? I would love to know.
We found this at: Fantastic Furniture
Being a big fan of online supermarket shopping, I can’t help but be in awe of the ‘oh-so-practical’ crates they use to kindly deliver my food to my kitchen. Once empty, there are a couple of quick clicks, then magically, what was once a sturdy container is now is a flat rectangle. Best. Thing. Ever.
They are ideal for moving your children’s belongings from house-to-house. Like the baskets, they could be a little hard for younger children to carry, but perfect if you are short on storage space and want to pack them away once empty.
We found this at: Bunnings
Further reading: Getting one-on-one time with each child as a single parent.
MOVING KID’S STUFF DURING HANDOVER: THE FINAL TRICK
CAR CLOTHES HANGERS
In addition to all of the above, a car clothes hanger is a very handy item to own.
Our agreement is that we return school uniforms washed and ready to wear. Now, I iron, he doesn’t … another story, but either way, uniforms and many other clothes are best left on the hangers. Even clean clothes can look like they’ve been run over by a truck ten times if they’ve been ‘folded’ by kids and put in a bag for half an hour.
A car clothes hanger also comes into its own when clothes are not quite dry by handover time. You can leave them hanging so they can continue to dry on the journey to the other house.
The perfect solution … just make sure you leave room for your kids in the car!
We found this at: Ubuy Australia
Further reading: Positive parenting programs for separated couples.