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6 Essential Moving Tips For The Military Family

By Stephanie James

We all know being in a military family doesn’t come without some complications. And the key to surviving is flexibility. Whether your spouse is deployed for months, you have to cancel family vacations/plans last minute, or you and your family are constantly uprooting your lives to live at the newest duty station, it’s all part of the lifestyle. Well you’re not alone, and we are all searching for tips to make our time under contract a little easier. Below are a few helpful tips to prepare you and your family for your next move!

  1. Have A Game Plan

So you’re PCSing...maybe you’re excited for the new opportunity, but like most families, your first reaction is probably stress-related. It’s better not to delay the inevitable and make your play book immediately. I recommend getting together a “moving binder, compiling your to-do lists, paperwork, important travel certificates, and any/all knowledge about what to prepare to move to your next duty station, which you can find here. You are now your families’ Drill Sergeant — assign different tasks to get the job done!

 ...And ask questions! If you’re going overseas and a have pet, need more information about local schools, or have any questions at all (which you will), join a Military Spouse Facebook group or support page for the area that you are PCSing to! These families are going through similar, if not the exact same, experiences as you and are usually very helpful about giving advice or recommendations! Don’t forget, one of the best things about being a part of the military community, is that you’re never alone! 

  1. Declutter

If you’re a seasoned moving veteran, you know this, but if this is your first military move...declutter! Maybe this is the time to throw out everything in the junk drawer, replace an old mattress, or get rid of your Halloween costume from 5 years ago. A general rule of thumb to follow is, if you haven’t used it in 2 years, you don’t need it. If you don’t know where to start, have every member of the house fill up one bag of things to donate or throw away. Additionally, keep any priceless momentos you have in a specific box or bin that can be easily transported with you wherever you go. The average military family moves every 2.5 years, so leave those things in there — you don’t have to unpack and organize everything each time you move!

  1. Take Inventory & Label Everything

One of the most important things about moving is knowing what coming with you! Accidents happen and items may be lost in the move, so make sure all of your belonging are accounted for. Another tip is to take pictures of a few of your more delicate items, like your TV, tables, mirrors, etc. That way, if anything is damaged during the move you can have insurance cover it! Also label everything so that you know where things are, and the movers know where to place your items in your new home — this will make your life easier when you’re finding things later! 

  1. Don’t Forget Self-Care

In times of high-stress, your immune system is at risk and your body is more susceptible to fatigue or illness, especially if you are traveling and exposed to new germs! Make sure you add “self-care” to your To-Do list! Whether it’s finding ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep, taking extra vitamins each day, or scheduling packing breaks, hold yourself accountable to you and your families’ health. You’re going to need extra fuel for your move! 

  1. Set Aside Carry Ons

Make sure each family member has their own carry on to take with them on the plane or throw in the back of the car (that isn’t packed up with the movers). It should have the necessities like your toothbrush, license/passport, first day of school clothes, your spouse’s uniform, etc.

 Know that important items may get buried away in boxes or lost during the move — so have items that have an immediate need close to you to avoid panic later! 

  1. Live In The Moment

While starting new may be nerve-wrecking, unexpected, or even stressful, remain positive and take advantage of the adventure! New experiences are one of the many wonders of life and you, and your family, will ultimately be better and closer for it. Have a bucket list, take pictures, make a family scrapbook, join a local club, or start a blog, so that you’ll always remember these exciting moments in your life!