What did I get myself into? A guide to relocating
Moving out of state can be daunting, especially when moving with kids. I relocated from Waltham, MA with my husband, Ryan, my two young daughters and our two boxers. We fell in love with Charleston about 5 years ago when we came down for a weekend trip. Everything about Charleston – the food, the people, the hospitality, the incredibly gorgeous Southern homes. Needless to say it made a lasting impression and we were hooked. We decided we wanted to make Charleston our home. We drove from Massachusetts to SC with a SUV packed full of clothes with my girls and our 2 dogs. The only thing we had lined up moving to Charleston was a rental home for 8 months in Mt Pleasant, with no back up plan. Looking back at it now we weren't as crazy as what all our friends at home thought we were. It was less stressful (ok, let's be real, stressful is a relative term) because we followed the steps below:
1. Should it stay or should it go
This was one of my favorite parts to moving…purging! Now is the time to go through your furniture, kids old toys, clothes that you are holding on to. You know the clothes you haven’t worn but you promised yourself you would fit back into! I would suggest anything that you no longer fit into that you haven't worn in the last 12-18 months get rid of ..I know I know this was the hardest part for me because I promised myself daily that I would exercise more and that I would squeeze myself into it. Let's be honest life happens and we have the best intentions, my closet was filled with my " best intentions" but now is the perfect time for them to be donated or sold. When you are making a big move, you have to more selective about what to take because the more you have the more expensive the move will be.
2. Organize organize organize
I can’t tell you how organizing our boxes and labeling everything was a life saver! It honestly made unpacking that much easier. Especially since we were renting and didn’t want to unpack everything only to repack it months later! We even labeled boxes “don’t open.” Whether you decide to hire full service movers, do everything yourself or something in between that, the more organized you are the easier your life will be on the other side.
3. Rent first, buy later:
I will admit when we decided we were going to move to Charleston, I wanted to buy and skip renting. Having stalking Zillow for months looking at houses I thought I knew Mount Pleasant and where I wanted to live. After many and I mean many conversations I was finally persuaded to rent first then get settled and start to look at houses. This was the best and smartest decision! Where I thought I wanted to live was not the case once we moved down here. It is hard to try and find the perfect place to own from afar. Especially not knowing how traffic is, how far is the grocery store is, where you might bring your kids for schools/daycares and or closet parks We are so used to being on autopilot when we know our surroundings. Trying to navigate new “go to” places will take a minute! How do you find the Drs, dentist office or where to go for a good haircut. What helped me was joining the local mom groups on Facebook. They are great about suggesting just about anything (even identifying a snake we found in our garage that was poisonous) and have truly been a life saver. Renting also buys you time to decide on what is most important to you about a house (make your must have list) and what really matters to your family. Drive around the neighborhoods especially during the rush hour time and see what it is like. Ask people you see in the neighborhood what they like about living there and if your lucky like I was you will find someone who will take you under their wing and show you the ropes.
Here is some information from the SC DMV New to South Carolina