Moving Tips

14 Moving Tips
from my 15th Move

Moving Tips, Liturgy of Life
Loading up. We hit the road early, knowing it was gonna be hot by the time we arrived in the Valley.


Just for kicks, I thought I’d re-post this, 10 months later my house is filled with boxes once again . . .

I’ll never forget the horror on my new college roommate’s face as we made our first introductions standing atop of the overflowing piles of clothing mixed with boxes of Kraft mac and cheese,  disposable razors and shower caps pouring from my suit case.  She had moved in the night before, her post-it notes were lined up and tucked into little baskets on her desk, her clothes neatly pinned to wire hangers.  It was a rough start to what turned out to be a rocky relationship.

Now some 17 years and 14 moves later I can’t say that I’d make a better roommate but I have learned a few things about moving.

Here are a few dos and don’ts that I have learned, hope they will make your next move a little easier.

1. Don’t move if you don’t have to. Moving is hard, there is no getting around it.

Moving Tips, Liturgy of Life
At some point your dinning room table will look like this.

2. Don’t not move just because it is hard. Moving is not fun, but like birthing a child after the pain is over it is quickly forgotten, so if you have an opportunity to move into a better space go for it even if it means moving more than you intended.

3. Do make sure you have plenty of supplies. Take the amount of supplies you will think you need and double it.  Have your boxes, tape and packing materials well stocked as you begin. Often  I found myself stressed not about actually packing but about how to fit everything into the handful of boxes I had.  You don’t want to be like me rummaging around behind grocery stores at 6 am the day before you move to gather more boxes.

4. Do plan ahead. About a week before our move I began packing a small suitcase of clothes and other necessities (pullups, wipes and an extra roll of toilet paper) that we could live out of for a week or so while we got settled. By moving day when everything else was packed I knew we had all that needed right there.

Moving Tips, Liturgy of Life
This is a little carry on suitcase, it has supplies to last Zenie and I both a week or so.

5. Don’t adopt a turtle two nights before a move.  Meet Heidi our rescued turtle. This latest move happened to fall a week before my 35th birthday. I’d been asking for a turtle as a family pet for years. Michael saw this one in the middle of the highway and ever so sweetly picked it up, rescuing it and bringing home as fun surprise for me (rescuing animals is one of my love languages). It was a great treat.  But after some research we realized that this Red Eared Slider would need a kiddie pool all to herself and caring for her was a bit more than we were prepared for. So she spent two days  in our bathtub and came along with us on move. We returned her to the spot where he had found her (only across the road).  This adventure will live on fondly in the Jarrett memory book but probably is not something you want to get involved with on moving day.

Moving Tips, Liturgy of Life
Heidi, our temporary turtle.

6. Don’t move the week of your birthday. But if you have to stop and celebrate anyway.

Moving Tips, Liturgy of Life
Birthday candle in an ice cream sandwich, doesn’t get much better than this.

7. Do stay organized. Organization does not come naturally for me so rather than spend hours searching for the tape, eventually giving up and going to the store to buy a new one before I find it again on the bathroom counter,  I made a little basket of my packing supplies markers, twine, tape and scissors so I could keep track of things as I packed.

Moving Tips, Liturgy of Life
Pens, tape, string, scissors, all the stuff I am always running around looking for when packing.

8. Do label your boxes. Like I said I don’t love to organize but at the very least it helps to label boxes by which room they go in, this way you can end up with all the kitchen boxes in the kitchen and start unpacking. If you have more time it is handy to note what is in each box. If there is any chance some of your things may stay packed or go into storage it is worth the time to number the boxes (on all four sides) and then write down on a separate sheet what is in which. We spent a year with the majority of our stuff in storage and when I needed to find something I was glad I had gone through the effort to do this.

9. Don’t ignore the mess. Clean up as you go.   I don’t mind a mess and I’d much rather stick to the main job of packing or unpacking instead of stopping to clean up.  But following my husband’s advice (he is the tidy one in the house) I found that while packing if I took a few minutes every now and then to straighten out my boxes, and pick up scraps of packing material or during unpacking, to breakdown boxes  and keep them neatly stacked it made the space more relaxing and made me feel like I was making more progress.

10. Do set essentials aside. As you pack designate a few boxes of things that you will need access to. Your keys, a copy of your lease, your hat and sun glasses, maybe bug spray  or your shower curtain and a towel. This helps you keep these items organized as you pack up your house and will help you keep track of them so you can unpack them right away when you arrive.

11. Don’t set unrealistic goals. Whatever my goal is, like “I want to be unpacked in one week.” I always double it, realizing things always take longer than I expect.

Moving Tips, Liturgy of Life
Your new home will probably look like this for a couple days. Don’t worry, you will get there.

12. Don’t pack things you don’t need.  While packing I try to pull out things we don’t use, then again when unpacking I’m always able to find even more things that don’t seem necessary anymore. Before dropping them off at the Goodwill see if any of them can be sold, passed along to friends or given to specific charities (old dog kennel to the Humane Society, old baby chair to the pregnancy support center). It feels good to know that the things you no longer need will still be put to good use by someone else.

13. Do plan meals ahead. I’ve got nothing against eating out especially during a move. But planning meals as you prepare to leave can be a great way to use up odds and ends in the freezer that will get thrown out. Also on this trip I brought a quarter bushel of Hill Country Peaches (I’m going to miss these peaches) right before we left. I also made a double batch of blueberry muffins and some chocolate chip cookies with dough that I had in the freezer. Once baked I left some out and then wrapped and re-froze the rest. I pulled a few muffins out everyday. They made great snacks and stored well and it gave us a quick breakfast on the days before and after our move. A couple other good moving snacks would be Blueberry Muffin Lara bars or goldfish crackers.

14. Don’t skip on the essentials. When you arrive at your new home, unpack perishables and beds first. Then take a break make a grocery run and load up on ice cream sandwiches, beers and cold water. Take a moment and be grateful that you made it.

Moving Tips, Liturgy of Life






Waiting for Baklava at Easter

Remembering Easter

We are moving this weekend instead of celebrating Easter with the local Orthodox Church. But I’m grateful, at least, that the timing of Orthodox Easter makes this post seem timely rather than way too late. Here are a few pictures and projects from our own Easter celebrations last month.  I’m slowly working backwards to get caught up on my posts. One of these days I’ll share the pictures from my daughter’s 4th birthday and Little House on the Prairie party which is now over 2 months ago.  It won’t be happening any time soon though as I have a lot to pack.

This has been a great spot for us and I will probably never have such a spacious kitchen again in my life. But when we moved we knew it was  temporary until we had a better idea of where we would be spending most of our time. As it turns out most of what we do is in a town about 30 minutes away and we are weary of the commute. So we are on the move.



Easter. Shaving cream dye.
This year I discovered an egg dying trick. You can fill a pan with shaving cream or cool whip and drop the food coloring on, swirl it and then roll the egg. It made beautiful designs and is much easier for little hands to manage. You can find a tutorial here.



Easter. Cascarones
Our finished eggs. Yours will be much brighter if you start with white eggs rather than brown. We hollowed them and made cascarones which you can read about here.



Easter. Jelly Beans.
During lent dropped a black eyed pea in the bowl every time we said shared a thought of gratitude. On Easter the peas were transformed into jelly beans.  Read more about our Easter preparation here.



Natural dyed Easter eggs.
We also used natural homemade dyes with flower imprints, this was far easier than I thought it would be. You can read about how to do it here.


It’s good to think on Easter as I pack. It doesn’t matter that I’m 2 months behind in everything or that I have the pressing job of reorganizing all of my belongings into a stack of cardboard boxes.  Easter is for remembering baptism and rebirth and the hope of the resurrection. What better time to start again in a new space, in a new town, slowly building into relationships and eventually finding our way around without getting lost.

Wish me luck friends and Christos Anesti.


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A Big Announcement,
A New Home for
The Jarrett Family

Liturgy of Life, Moving to The Texas Mexico Border, Anglican MissionariesI am so grateful to have all of you in my life.   Many of you know that the last six months has been a time of transition for our family.  In December we  found ourselves facing an unexpected job change with no clear direction on what steps to take next.

Up until this point God had made things easy on me, at least in this sense, He hadn’t required me to face many unknowns when it came to how to move forward. In fact a handful of times He has swept  in and turned my plans upside down to keep me in line with His will (not that I haven’t made some majorly terrible decisions, of course I have, but I mean as far as big steps, where to move, where to work, who to marry, etc).

But this time it was different. This time God seemed ever so silent. There was no lightning bolt, no revelation, no unexpected twists or surprise guest appearances. We prayed and we prayed some more. We made a decision and still prayed that God would change it if we were off track. We were met with silence. We  began walking down the path we had chosen and suddenly it was clear, there had  never been  another path.

We are excited to announce that after many years away we will be returning to work along the Texas/Mexico border.

The border is where Michael and I first met and where we worked together for years.  We actually never planned to stop but a variety of circumstances took us away and until now it hasn’t been the right time to go back. But now the time has come and we couldn’t me more ready to go.

Now you might ask aren’t you scared of having to start over, of the violence, of the mosquitoes, of the scorching heat on the tree-less landscape?  And the answer is an emphatic Yes.

But at the same time the issues and the people of the border compel us.

We want to hear their stories and share them with you. We want to make this place come alive for you and give faces to the statistics.  We want to engage. We want to ask hard questions.  We want to love a place and a people that is broken.

I am so excited to bring all of you there with us.  I’ll still be blogging here and I’d love for you to check out our family website at

Thank you so much for your support and prayers on this journey.  We still have a lot of unknowns including, raising money for a salary, and finding a place to live (you know, just the small stuff). So please continue to pray for us and please share our site with others who might be interested.

And finally, I’ll end with an invitation. One of the things we hope to do is to help you, or your family or even church make a connection with the border. We would love for you to see it for yourself and to sit with us and chew on the hard realities that the border presents.  If this tugs at your heart let me know, we would love to have you come for a visit.

Well there you have it. You know where to find us. And if my frequency of posting here slows down a bit in the coming months you will know why.

Here we go.