Shannon Van HeestIn honor of our “PCS Month”, Shannon Van Heest shares a fun blog with us.

I do not claim to be an expert at managing a household, cleaning, organizing, or the like.  If only you could take a little peek into my kitchen right now, you’d know what I mean.  But, I did learn some things from the experience of having our house on the market with little ones as well as from observing my pro-at-moving MIL, my dear Grams – who can whip out five loads of laundry before I finish breakfast, my mother – a meticulous organizer and sorter-of-things, and my own Grandmama, a modern-day renaissance woman.

SIMPLIFY:  Before we put our house on the market, we rented out a small storage unit and put everything that was non-essential to our home, while still being something we wanted to keep, in there.  Into the storage unit went: family pictures, extra books, out-of-season clothes, pictures that weren’t being used for staging, cookbooks (I kept my favorite recipes in a small folder), etc.

We also packed up all of the toys.  I pulled out a few of Meggie’s favorites and limited the number to that which could fit in a laundry basket.  To make the cut, they had to be something that she played with often, but with pieces that were easy to pick up quickly.  This way, I contained the toys to a laundry basket that was easily moved from room to room – or stashed away quickly in our van.

PROTECT THE SACRED TIMES:  Our realtor, being the father of four young children himself, was careful to protect sacred times in our household.  We asked him to avoid scheduling showings during naptime.  Not only did protecting naptime from 1:00-4:00 help us emotionally as parents, it gave an important sense of continuity to our daughters, who, though little, picked up on the changes going on in our home.  We got a break from prepping the house – and so did they.

EVEN THE SMALLEST CHILDREN CAN HELP:  During the time our house was on the market, we learned the significance of even the youngest ones in our family having a purpose.  We spoke with our girls about the process of moving, selling our home, and how we needed their help.  We conceptualized our family as a team and praised our oldest when she performed her specific task.  Meggie straightened the books in her room or placed her blankets in the crib, and through it all she learned the valuable life lesson of being important to the successful running of our family.

THE GENERAL LAUNDRY BASKET TRICK: The laundry basket trick is one I learned from Kyle’s mom.  We kept an empty laundry basket handy and would fill the basket with all the loose odds and ends on the counter tops and throughout the house.  Then, we’d just dump the whole basket in our van to take with us while the showing was on.

DEVELOP A SYSTEM: For us, maintaining a house on the market with two tiny children was a two-person job.  It really did require the efforts of both of us to keep it show ready.  Because of our children’s ages, Kyle and I divided the household chores according to what was easiest for each one of us to do.  For example, Kyle chose all the laundry and bathrooms, while I chose cleaning the kitchen, making beds, and the girls’ rooms.  When the realtor called, we’d spring into action accomplishing our preset, clearly determined jobs.  Then, as I loaded the girls into their car seats, tucked our dog away either in the back of the van or a neighbor’s yard, and pulled out of the driveway, Kyle would vacuum us out of the house and flip on the lights.  We had a system that worked for our family; one that we eventually utilized even without words.


Shannon is a Navy wife of six years, mama to two daughters three-and-under with a third baby girl on the way, blogger, and has her Master’s degree in Community Counseling. She’s a lover of simple things like farmer’s markets, barefeet, and bluegrass music. When she’s not tickling sweet toes or chasing toddlers, you can find her reading a good book and sipping sweet tea. For more, follow her


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