Moving and the military go hand in hand. You would think that it would get less stressful the more you do it, but not so. Moving is chaotic. It disrupts your family’s routines and requires a lot of effort. And every time you make a move with the military, you are at a different point in your life. Maybe during the last move, it was just you and your spouse. Now you have a toddler and the baffling amount of accessories kids seem to come with. Moving is never easy, no matter how often you do it. But getting organized for your move can save you a lot of stress.
- Lighten your load. Get rid of clothing, furniture, books and toys you no longer need. Pass them along to someone who needs them, hold a yard sale or donate them.
- Get personal paperwork in order. Put essential documents together in one box or file and keep it in a safe place. You want everything you need to enroll your kids in school, see a doctor, sign a lease, etc.
- Think about what you will need at your new assignment. If you are going to Florida, you may decide to put the snow blower and sleds in storage or in your parents’ garage.
- It is never too early to start packing. Most families end up doing some amount of packing, even if they plan on having professional movers handle their move. Do not procrastinate. Start with non-essential items like holiday decorations, china, books and off-season clothing.
- Draft a moving checklist, so you have a plan and timeline.
- Take digital photos or video of your belongings before they are packed. This will be a handy reference tool, should you need to make a claim for lost or damaged items.
- Take on one room at a time. This keeps you on task and also assures that things that belong in the same room stay together.
- Label everything. Make a sharpie your new best friend. Label boxes with contents and the room in which they belong.
- Use color coding or some other system for boxes. If you have a different color sticker or label for each room, it makes it easier to identify where things belong when they are being unloaded.
- Prioritize your boxes for unpacking. It is overwhelming to think about unpacking. But keep in mind that you don’t need everything at once. Come up with a system (many people use “A, B & C”), so that you know what needs to be unpacked first and what can wait.
- Plan ahead to get one common area livable and the kids’ bedrooms set up first. Knowing this ahead of time will help you pack and label things accordingly.
- Have a box for essentials like a basic tool kit, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, medication and diapers. Label it “Open Immediately.” This will save you time when you unpack, because you won’t have to dig through boxes or run to the store.
- Have boxes open, labeled and ready so you can quickly put bedding and linens in them on moving day. Clearly label them with “Open Immediately," so you can at least have a chance of getting some sleep at some point.
- Put together a box of activities for your family for when you first arrive (I don’t have to tell you to label it clearly). Some games, books, toys, etc that will keep them happy and occupied will give you time to focus on setting up beds and the kitchen when you first arrive.
- Breathe and order take-out. Remember that moving is exhausting. Give yourself a break while you pack and unpack.
1-800-PACK-RAT is a moving and portable storage company that has proudly helped families with their military moving and storage needs between deployments, when they PCS and when they retire and separate from the military.
Call one of PACK-RAT’s Military Moving Specialists at 1-800-MLT-PACK or visit http://partners.1800packrat.com/militarymoves for more information.