military moving tips

I want to thank you for the kind words and comments from last week’s post. I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me that you take the time to read what I have to say and leave sweet comments and messages.

I forgot to mention something in that post that I think is really important. Use your own judgement when it comes to making decisions about where you are going to live, send your kids to school, and everything else. It seems like when you find out where you are going, people love to tell you what to do.

Don’t live in that neighborhood.
That school is not as good as this one. (I never trust the school rating websites either, but that is for another post.)
That commute is terrible.
You know, there is a better place to do xyz…

They are coming from a good place, but they are not you. This is your experience. You know more about what you are looking for when it comes to finding a place that you want to live in and what kind of lifestyle you have than anyone else. We have always done our own thing and made our own choices and have never regretted it. As convenient as it is to crowdsource, this might be one of those times when you trust your own instincts more. PSA over.

Last week, I talked to you about how I feel about moving. I love it.

But if I am being perfectly honest with you, the actual move can be a pain in the ass.

We are 3 weeks out from moving to Cape Cod (our 9th move?) and deep in the throes of the process. I thought that I would share some tips that I have picked up over the years of military moves.

1. Purge, purge, and purge some more. I play a weird little game with myself every time we move. I try to make sure that we have less stuff than we did the previous move. I am particulary proud of our last move – 8,500lbs.

For me more stuff means more to take care of, more to unpack, and more to move again. I am fairly relentless, if I don’t use it or love it, it goes. If we have boxes with multiple moving stickers on them that have never been opened, chances are good we don’t need it. (FYI – A lot of Goodwills will come to your home and pick up.)

2. Go through your drawers and put the little things in Ziploc bags. The movers just can drop the bags into the box, and when you are unpacking, you can just dump it back in. Everything is together. This is especially helpful for junk drawers, utensils, underwear drawers.

3. Speaking of utensils, make sure that you check every closet, drawer, and cabinet to make sure that everything was packed. We had our utensil drawer missed once and we unpacked every single box hoping to find the forks. We never did. Our realtor was kind enough to go back to the house and send us the drawer that we forgot about. We also missed a shed once. That time we left a bbq and a lawnmower for the new owners. Once you sign off, it is not the responsibility of the movers, so make sure to double check.

4. About a month out, make appointments to have the utilities turned over or turned on. It is nice to have Internet on move in day, and not a few weeks later. It can be hard to get cable appointments during moving season. Also, call your current providers and let them know your move out day to turn off what you already have in your current home.

5. If you have school age children, make sure that you know what you need to register them at their new school (and sports if they are playing in the fall). It is easier to get physicals and their vaccinations before you leave than when you get to your new town. Most school districts have everything you need online or will send you the paperwork. This has always made the transition so much easier for me.

While I am filling out the paperwork, I also find a pediatrician and dentist and call to make sure that they are taking new patients. I keep a small file folder with all of our important papers in it and carry it with me.

6. Treat your movers well. This one should go without saying, but after some conversations lately, I am a little turned off by the way some people treat the people moving their belongings. I have had really good luck with movers. I keep the fridge stocked with drinks, have breakfast and lunch for them each day, and trust them to do their job. The nicer I am to my movers, the faster and easier the move is. They probably aren’t going to pack your things exactly as you would, but they are professionals. They pack and move people every day. They know what they are doing.

7. The night before the movers come to pack, I move us out of the house and into a hotel. I pack everyone for the road trip like we are going on vacation and pack up the car. It is too hard to do it while there is a moving crew in the house and I tend to get overwhelmed. Now, I do everything before they get there and it is more fun for everyone. And everything that doesn’t need to get packed is already with you. Only one person needs to be in the house with the movers, so one of us will take the kids to the hotel pool or do something during the day.

8. Don’t forget about your pets. I will be sending my dog to doggie day care. I don’t want her under everyone’s feet in and in the way. Also, make sure that the hotels or guest houses that you are staying at take animals. Moving can be traumatic for animals, so try to keep them as stress free as possible.

9. Same with the kids. I really play up the “adventure” aspect of moving instead of the leaving part. I unpack their rooms first and get them settled into the house before I tackle the other rooms. I make sure that the movers put their bikes on the truck last, so that they are the first things off of the truck when we get to our new house. The kids can ride bikes and play while the movers are moving us in.

10. Tape the remotes and cords to the backs of the televisions and electronics. And it is a really good idea to hand carry the “parts” box (the screws, bolts, and all of the little pieces to put everything back together). It is funny how many people have told me that is the one box that has gotten lost.

11. Pack a box of things that you know that you will need the first night. I make sure that there are clean sheets for all of the beds (I put the folded sheets into a trash bag), shower curtain, some towels, and a bottle of wine. Just kidding about the wine. (Not really. Have lots of wine.)

12. When it comes to unpacking, just get it done. We usually are “pictures on the walls” by day 3. Drawing it out makes me feel less settled, and once everything is unpacked and moved in, you can start to explore and enjoy your new town.

13. When we get to the new house, I try to get there a day before the movers come. I clean as much as I can. Inside of drawers, fridge, shelves, etc. After everything is moved in, unpacked, and put together, I treat myself to a professional cleaning. It is so nice to have a clean house after all of the craziness of a big move.

14. Be flexible. Stuff happens. Movers are late. Houses aren’t ready. Things break. Moving is going to cost more than you think it does. It isn’t the end of the world. Don’t sweat the little things. It isn’t worth it in the long run.

15. Have fun. Every moving season I think that my husband and I are going to get divorced. (We never do.) Being able to laugh and have fun with the move is so much better than being stressed out and unhappy. Everyone looks to me to see how I am dealing. My kids, my husband, the movers. If I am snapping at everyone and miserable, everyone else is going to be too. Take it in stride.

What moving tips do you have? Please feel free to share in the comments. I’d love to hear them!

And if you know anyone moving soon, please share this post with them!