Moving Next Door:  Mom’s Five Lessons Learned


Have you seen the real estate market lately? It’s an awful time to buy, but a great time to sell! We had zero intentions of selling our home. It was our first and forever home together. That is, until our snowbird neighbors decided they were ready to fly the nest for good. Which brings me to sharing our journey moving next door. 

First, let’s talk about why. It usually comes up at least once in conversation, why would you go through the hassle of buying your neighbor’s house?!? Let me explain. A long time ago, our properties were once joined. Our neighbors maintained the old logging roads and created new walking trails through our vast wooded properties. Yes, I say ours because the old logging road looped across the property line a couple of times. Anyways, we owned the ledge and they owned the access to the top of the ledge. Not to mention they had young kids a long time ago, so they had the homemade wooden swing set, old sandbox, metal dump trucks, and a usable yard space my young kids dreamed about- my goat kids of course. It was a no-brainer.

Young woman with children and goatsMoving next door was in our 3-5 year plan, but was fast-forwarded real quick when our neighbors decided to sell.

So, how do you prepare to sell a house, buy a house, and move with four dogs, three cats, four goats, six chickens, three guinea hens, two kids, and a husband without losing your sanity?

Focus on what you can control.

Moving next door, and moving, in general, is overwhelming at best. The amount of stress and anxiety was darn near crippling at some times. Thankfully, my husband did the bulk of the phone calls and handled the lender, subdivision of property, neighborly relations, and such. I was able to focus on decluttering, packing, animal and child care, and keeping everyone well fed. I occasionally got emotionally wrapped up in what later on felt like minor details, like the purchase price of the new home, or failed water quality tests. It was difficult to maintain a positive mindset through all of the challenges of moving. Then, when moving day got closer, everything just felt like the straw that would break my back. I would have to shift my focus to things I COULD control. I can’t control the lender missing a deadline, however- I can control calling every UHaul to track down an additional moving truck. Moving next door was an adventure, and it is one I will likely never do again.

Lower your expectations.

This is absolutely crucial for any parent trying to move. All that screen time you’ve been monitoring, the healthy food and snacks you’ve been focused on, and the positive behavior reinforcements all need to go out the window. Sure, they’re great to have and if that’s your routine, definitely stick with it. In our house, however, all those expectations were dropped. Kids got free rein of whatever tv was left standing, free and endless use of their tablets if they could find them, and ran wild outdoors every chance they could. 

If my husband wasn’t at work, he was trying to finish up the projects in the house to be able to sell it. If he wasn’t finishing up those projects, he was building our new goat house. If he wasn’t building the new goat house, he was helping load and unload the UHaul trucks. That left the bulk of decluttering, packing, organizing, and just about everything else logistically to me. The kids ran a little wilder than they probably should have, but I noticed something along the way. Little dude started to talk a lot more. He started to engage with other kids more too. Both kids found an even higher level of confidence than I knew they had. It was incredible to see. We lowered our parental expectations and saw our kids thrive. Maybe moving next door was just what we all needed, at just the right time.

young kids outdoors playing in a sandbox
Moving Next Door Wild Kids

Pack snacks.

You know when you go to the playground or head out anywhere with the kids, you pack snacks? Well, moving next door is kind of like that, but on steroids. Pretty much, whatever you have in that snack cupboard of yours, throw it all into a big moving box and keep it with you at all times. Those snacks are like chaos comfort, if not for your kids then for you. Naturally, our houses did not close on the same day, despite our best efforts. We popped open our camper and lived in it for a weekend between the two houses, literally. There’s an open field between the two driveways, which is what we called a temporary home after we closed on the home sale, and awaited the home purchase. We didn’t have a stove, a refrigerator, or anything fancy for meals. We survived on take-out and snacks. Snacks are probably the most important part of moving next door.

Moving Next Door Dining Out


If you know anything about me, you’ll know how much emphasis I place on communication for just about everything. I think it’s an incredibly important part of working through stress, anxiety, small things, big things, all things. It’s impossible for anyone to know how you feel. It’s impossible for anyone to know what you’re thinking. 

The best way to convey what you’re doing and why you’re doing something is to communicate your feelings, communicate your thoughts, and communicate your expectations. 

Many of our arguments through the moving process were due to a difference in opinion. In my house, my husband and I typically want the same end goals, but we have wildly different thoughts on how to get there. One way isn’t necessarily right or wrong, so we tend to need to find compromises along the way. The only way to get to those compromises is through communication

I mentioned earlier the amount of stress and anxiety I was feeling was overwhelming, and I communicated those feelings just about every day to my husband. He didn’t necessarily like to hear it, but I needed it to be said. I’m not looking for solutions, or for someone to solve my irritations. I’m just looking for someone to listen to me, so I can get those negative thoughts out of my brain and focus on the good positive thoughts and things I can control. Again, moving next door is a wild adventure that requires the subtle art of communication.

Have fun.

Everything I said before, ignore it. Having fun is the most important part of moving next door. This particularly comes in handy during the actual day of moving things into a Uhaul and moving things out of the Uhaul, oh, and the weekend camping excursion in between. Our kids thought we were camping the entire weekend. They helped load boxes, they helped unload boxes, they roasted marshmallows, and they ran wild outdoors. It was an amazing family weekend, and it was also the most time the kids and I spent with my husband since the home sale project process started.

Moving next door, our camper in the land between houses.

I can’t say I’d necessarily want to go back and do it all over again, because I’m never moving again, but changing your mindset from “this is miserable”, to “let’s have fun” can do wonders for not just you, but the kids as well.

I do not guarantee actual results with any of these suggestions, but these are the top things I noticed and often laughed at throughout our stressful process. Moving is messy. Moving is hard. 

view from a porch in summer.
Moving Next Door to a beautiful view.

What are your tips, tricks, suggestions, hacks, thoughts, or opinions on buying, selling, or moving with young kids?

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Kelli Hier Pike
A born and raised Vermonter, Kelli got her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Vermont, then joined the Vermont Air National Guard, where she met her husband. After that, she got her Master’s Degree in Digital Forensic Science from Champlain College. She and her husband and bought a house in the woods with 30+ acres of land to raise their two kids (4 and 2), three dogs, two cats, six chickens, and three guinea hens. Kelli stays home with her kids and pets while running her own wood crafting business, Tabor Ridge Designs, during nap-times. Kelli occasionally writes for her own mom blog, Calm Collected Mom, because we can all dream. She doesn't always think of herself as a writer, but she often has conversations with people over similar life frustrations and wants everyone to know that they're not alone. Life is full of irritations and annoyances, but Kelli thinks that we’ll get through it with a great story to tell afterward!


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