Mention the topic of moving among a group of military spouses and you’ll wind up with more helpful tips and horror stories than you’d hear from moms swapping birth stories! We recently asked Military Spouse magazine’s Facebook fans to share their best moving advice. Though my own family has moved 18 or so times now, including six overseas moves, I still came away with fresh ideas (and a few more “bad move” stories!). I hope that, whether you’ve PCS’d once or a dozen times, you’ll find some practical help here for your next move.
BEFORE THE MOVE: TIME TO PLAN
1) To DITY or not to DITY, that is the question…
While this isn’t practical for some moves (i.e. overseas), it can be a valid choice, with the military reimbursing you the amount the move would have cost them. (DITY = Do-it- yourself.) The draw is that you can make money this way and it puts you in complete control of every aspect of the move. The downside: this puts you in complete control of every aspect of the move! You’ll be responsible for everything: packing, loading, transporting your household goods, and unloading. And think through how that last part will go when you roll into a brand new location, not knowing a soul.
SPOUSE TIP: Melissa Graves of Virginia advises: “When doing a DITY move, contact a local moving company at your new station for some cheap muscle for unloading your truck.”
2) Organize it!
The weeks preceding the move are the time to deep clean, hold a garage sale, and donate extra items. (It’s a running joke in my family that the only reason my drapes are ever cleaned is due to moving every year!)
a) Create a “PCS binder” with important moving papers, financial documents, school information, employment certifications, schedules, and notes all in one spot.
b) Place junk drawer items, puzzle pieces, and other small items into zip-top bags. This works for silverware and utensils too, which will stay clean and un-handled till you open them on the other end.
c) Cover open baskets of toys or craft items with moving wrap from the home improvement store or place in plastic bins.
d) Group items how you’d like them packed-i.e., artwork and wall hangings, bathroom towels, rugs, waste baskets together.
e) Contact local utility companies for rates and deposits so you’re not caught off-guard when you arrive.
f) Take photos and consider appraisal of high-value items.
3) Check it out!
Build excitement by looking at websites and social media from the new assignment together- school, extracurricular, and spouses’ groups.
4) Take care of yourself.
While it’s important to stay flexible, familiar routines are also important. Get enough sleep; keep exercise routines going. And maintain connections, even though the goodbyes are looming (though I prefer to say “see you later!,” because truly you just never know)
(continue reading for moving day tips)