Making the Move Without Losing Your Mind

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dear Ellen:
I am about to move out of my parents house at the end of the week.  I secure my own apartment a few miles away.  I am so overwhelmed. The holidays kind of slowed down everything with me packing and moving but I’m really overwhelmed on how to tackle my list of stuff to do before I move.  My head is spinning! I remember you had a post a couple months ago about a list or chart you put together to find an apartment, and I assumed because you were so organized with it that maybe you had tips about stuff for when you are actually moving in to a place.  I just have stuff in boxes everywhere and I just now am realizing I have to make a huge grocery trip when I move in. How will I know what to get? I’m also nervous because when I move out, what if I don’t have everything I need and something happens one night, how will I be prepared? Any advice you can give me before the end of this week will help a whole whole lot. Thank you thank you thank you!

Hi Jackie,
It can seem like so much lies ahead of you but if you break it all down you won’t be as stressed.  First, put a list together of everything you need to do now and in the first month of moving in.  Things on this list should be:
Change address with post office
Change magazine subscription addresses
Change drivers license address
Get renters insurance
Make a grocery trip
Call and arrange to have your cable installed (if need be)
Change address and phone number with doctors offices and vets offices, etc.
Change address with credit cards

Those were just some of the things on my list.  Another thing you can do is pack up all your boxes with similar items.  All your stuff from the bathroom should go in one box, etc.  Label these on ALL sides with the room they go in, that way when you move in, the boxes just get carried right to the new rooms they will go in.  Also, be sure to take all the stuff you will use the first few nights like tooth brush, shampoo, etc. and put it all in an overnight bag, just as if you were going away to a hotel or something.  This way you don’t have to dig for this stuff, and in the case that you can’t unpack, you can still live out of your overnight bag. 

When it comes to the grocery trip, I would break it down into two trips.  The first will be to any store (doesn’t have to be the grocery store) to get odds and ends for your place.  This list will include:
Light bulbs (SUPER IMPORTANT!)
Bandaids and first aid supplies
Toilet paper
Paper towels
Cleaning supplies
Any kind of storage stuff you might need like bins for under the sink in the bathroom to store some of your stuff
Bath towels
Mats (bath mats, welcome mats, kitchen mats, etc.)
Kitchen stuff (cups, utensils, pots and pans)
 You will probably have to make another trip down the road once you are all settled in.  Make a list your first few weeks of things that make you say “Oh, I definitely forgot to get Q-tips”, etc.

Your list for groceries should include all the staple ingredients like flour, sugar, etc.  Don’t forget to buy condiments like ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, etc.
For your first actual grocery list, just think of a few things you eat as meals at home, then get those for at your apartment for the first week.

It can be very overwhelming, but if you break everything down into individual tasks, it’s not as bad.  If you need anything else, feel free to contact me! Good luck with your move and congratulations on your first apartment!


Recovering From The Loss of a Pet

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Since you’re an animal love, I wanted to ask you this. We had to put our 15 year old lab Sammi down. She had cancer and was beginning to suffer. My 9 year old is having the toughest time with her death. We bought him a black lab stuffed animal for him that he named Sammi of course and takes her everywhere. It has been two weeks and he still cries as if it was yesterday. Anytime he watches a movie or whatever that has animals in it he gets teared up. We have talked extensively and let him share his feelings always but he is really taking this hard. If you or your readers have any advice on how to help him cope or what to say to make him feel better I would really like to know.    

I know this is really sad for you but it’s normal.  I have always been the kind of person to mourn animals even longer than people.  I think it’s the innocence of the animals and the unique bond we have with them that no other person can relate too.  When I was 9, we also had to put our 15 year old mixed breed dog to sleep.  I was so distraught.  I drew pictures of him all the time, and stared at photographs of him.  I was truly heartbroken.  I have always been an animal lover and without an animal in my life I feel useless.  I love the idea of caring for something and forming a bond with it.  My parents got me a gerbil a couple months later and helped me refocus my pain. I also got a rabbit.  Within a year, we got a new dog, and it was then that I truly began to heal up.  The new energy of a puppy helps us move past the pain of losing a previous pet.  If it isn’t an issue to get a new dog, maybe you should start thinking about getting a new puppy.  I have three Chihuahuas, and although the puppy stage is tough sometimes, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  I think it’s a great thing that he is so affected by the loss of a pet, because it shows that he really loved Sammi and is not afraid to show his feelings in that regard.  If you need help picking out a new edition or any advice on training, etc. I am always here for that. It seems like your son’s problem is the same as mine was.  I feel empty if I don’t have a pet in my life.  And while a hamster or rabbit somewhat did the trick for a little while, there’s nothing like the relationship you can have with a family dog.  I hope you guys figure something out! Keep me updated!!!

Making the Right Decision on a Pet

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hi Ellen!  Love your blog!! Great work.  Now it’s my turn to ask a question.  For Christmas, my daughter is begging for a puppy.  She would love a miniature poodle. She’s 9 years old and I don’t feel she’s ready. We have a hectic schedule and work is consuming most of my time even when I’m home.  My husband works even more than I do, so I am concerned how this dog would even be cared for with our sparse availability.  My husband is set on the idea of getting her this puppy, but I strongly disagree.  How can I bring it up to him, without making him take it personally.  Thank you so very much, Ellen!


Dear Jada,
Thanks for reading my blog.   Your situation is a common one.  I hear people talk about this kind of stuff all the time.  I think you should sit your husband down and just tell him that now is not a good time for a puppy. It wouldn’t be fair to the dog or your daughter, if you can’t care for it and eventually have to give it up.  You could suggest that you get her a puppy as a gift in a few more years, when she’s older and can care for it more.  Plus, in a few years she will be at a great age to teach her responsibility of a pet, especially if you guys both work.  Just explain to him that the timing isn’t right but he has such a great idea and you can’t wait to do it in a few more years. I’m sure he won’t take it too personally, and he will probably agree with you right away!  Hope this helps you!