The ultimate guide to moving with your family from Seattle to Chicago

There’s no denying that moving can be a rather stressful process. However, when you add children and the fact that it’s a cross-country move into the mix, it gets even more complicated. Moving with your family to Chicago is going to take quite a bit of preparation, which is why starting on time is essential. Other than the usual logistics, there’s also the emotional preparation for starting off in a new city. Even though both cities are cosmopolitan, Chicago is still much bigger, and it might take a while to get used to it. So, in order to go through relocation as smooth as possible, we’ve written a guide to help you break down the process.

Plan well ahead of time

In order for the moving day to be successful, you’ll have to implement a detailed plan. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that relocation is just the moving day – it’s actually the result of a previous thorough organization. After all, this is no college move – you’re moving with your family which makes it a much more complicated venture. For starters, it’s a bigger move as there are more people involved. This automatically means more stuff to pack and organize. On the plus side, it means you won’t be alone in this and can at least turn to your partner for help. Of course, your children can also find a way to be helpful during the process.

But, how do you start planning your Chicago relocation? Nowadays, it all starts with a Google search. Different planning strategies can be found online, just like there are moving resources on social media. However, the very first thing you’ll want to do is make an inventory list. This is a great starting point that will help you sort through all your belongings.

a notepad and a pen
Moving with your family means there’s a lot of things to pack – start planning on time

Hiring movers when moving with your family

Once you’ve got everything put down on paper, it’s time to figure out the executive part of the plan. Since this is a cross-country move, it’s best to entrust your belongings to professionals. Now, a search for affordable Chicago local movers isn’t as simple as it sounds. Yes, an online search will present you with countless options, but you need to beware of possible frauds. Scan their website and social media profiles and read reviews to get the overall picture of how the company operates.

To be on the safe side, arrange an interview with potential movers or, even better, ask them to do an in-home estimate. This can be a perfect opportunity to talk the whole process through and as for any unclear details. Also, check whether the company in question is licensed, as this is an indication they are not a rouge company. Looks can be deceiving, so stick to trustworthy movers like Hansen Bros. Moving & Storage.

Prepare kids for the move

It’s so easy to get caught up in the physical part of the moving process. The flip side is that we forget the emotional toll this change can cause. This is especially true when moving with your family, as kids might find it hard to leave their old friends behind. To make sure they transition smoothly, prepare them mentally for the move at least a few months ahead. When the time comes to pack and once you get everything you need for packing, involve your kids in the process. Not only will this help keep them distracted, but they’ll also feel like they are contributing to the move.

a sad child laying next to a toy
If your kid is withdrawn before or after the move, it’s a normal reaction, so try and be understanding

Also, with relocation, there is a disruption of everyday life. So, try and uphold important family routines that will make life during the transitory stage feel as normal as possible. The key is to keep some of the familiar rituals that you had in your old home. It’s also quite important to find the right balance between being understanding of their sadness or even anger with the positive talk about the new home. Overall, don’t be too hard on them, as once you leave Washington and head to Illinois, they’ll adapt once they’re ready.

Getting used to living in Chicago

Speaking of transitions, your kids aren’t the only ones experiencing the newness of a new city. That being said, you need to do thorough research on Chicago and its nooks and crannies prior to moving. Otherwise, you might not be as prepared for Chicago’s climate, which is quite harsher than in Seattle. Here, you’ll experience intense winters with lots of snow, so make sure to buy appropriate clothing. Also, both population and traffic are much denser in Chicago than in Seattle. These are all things you need to think of in advance in order to mentally prepare.

Additionally, you’ll want to learn about issues with property buying in Chicago and tax information. The more you learn about the differences between the two cities, the easier it will be to fit in. The surprise factor can’t be avoided, but it can at least be minimized, right?

playing in snow after moving with your family to Chicago
Seattle winters are much milder than those in Chicago, so prepare accordingly

Finding work and housing

Moving with your family also means finding a suitable apartment or house to live in. Assuming you’re planning the relocation at least a few months in advance, you should start looking at real estate listings as soon as possible. However, before you commence the apartment hunt, pick one of the neighborhoods first. Trying to fit both your kid’s school, work location, and amenities in the same place might be impossible, but set your priorities on time. Maybe you’re fine with a longer commute to work as long as you live close to a park? There’s no right location – only whatever works for you and your family.

When it comes to the job hunt, the best scenario would be the secure a job prior to the move. Still, If you’ve got a nest egg that can last you for a few months, then you can settle here and then begin the search. The place to start from would be to visit the Chicago Tribune’s Jobs section and then go from there. Good luck and enjoy your new life in Chitown!

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