Most people move several times in their lifetime. However, military families move every two to three years – it’s an inevitable part of their lifestyle. Unfortunately, having tons of experience doesn’t necessarily translate to a simple and stress-free relocation. On the contrary, it can be a pretty challenging and overwhelming process. There are many things to do and consider before, during, and after the moving day. With that in mind, we’ve gathered these excellent moving tips for military families to help your relocation goes as smoothly as possible!
#1 Plan your move in advance
Of course, your goal is to make your relocation as efficient as possible. So, the first thing you need to do is to plan and organize everything. It already sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it? But there’s no reason to stress out right away! On the contrary, go step by step through the tasks you need to do for your upcoming relocation. Make a list, and then consider the time and resources you’ll need. If you start planning early, you’ll have enough time to add items to your list (or remove them) and adjust the list as necessary.
- Are you moving permanently? If you’re moving temporarily, your task is simple: move your belongings and make your new home ready. On the other hand, if you’re moving permanently, you need to think about more things. For example, you might want to consider buying your new home. In that case, learning more about the benefits of VA home loans can help you save both money and time!
- Prepare all the relevant paperwork: One of the essential tasks when preparing for a military move is to have all relevant documents ready and within easy reach. The best option is to have them all in a binder with sleeve protectors and keep the binder with you during the move. That way, you’ll know where to find your orders, passports, birth certificates, social security cards, mortgage documents, medical documents, etc., when you need them.
- Choose the type of move: The next item on your list should be choosing how you want to move. As a military member, you might opt for a TSP move (Transportation Service Provider). In this case, a government-provided company will help you pack, transport, and unload your belongings in your new home. However, you probably won’t be able to choose the time. Depending on the situation, you might have to wait or move on short notice.
On the other hand, you might prefer the PPM move (Personally-Procured Move). The military will reimburse your expenses, and you’ll have more freedom to organize your relocation. However, you’ll need the right movers for the job. For example, if you’re moving long-distance to Minnesota, you want reliable movers from this state who will help you get here with ease. Finding the right moving company a couple of months in advance is the key to a seamless relocation.
#2 Involve the whole family
Relocation is often stressful for all family members, but it especially takes its toll on the younger ones. That is why it’s essential to involve the whole family in the process. Talk openly about the move with your kids. Also, it’s a good idea to give them tasks such as packing their toys or clothes so that they can actively participate. Turn it into a game when you can, and always keep a positive attitude.
#3 Declutter before packing – one of the most valuable moving tips for military families
However hard we may try to avoid it, things keep piling up in our homes. It’s a natural and normal process. But ask yourself – do you want to carry all that stuff to your new home? The answer is probably a decisive no. So, throw away everything you don’t use or need anymore. Or, even better, you can donate some items or sell them.
#4 Pack with care
Now, for some items, packing might be as simple as tossing them into a box. However, many items require more care. Firstly, ensure you have enough packing materials – from boxes to bubble wrap and tape. Then, dismantle hardware and delicate items such as lamps and ensure you pack all parts correctly. Ziplocks are ideal for small items and cords, and similar items. Lastly, ensure you label each box – that way, unpacking in your new home will be much more manageable.
#5 Take the inventory of everything
People often neglect this part – there’s so much else to do and think about. But better safe than sorry! Take pictures of all your belongings. That will enable you to check that all your items arrived safe and sound in your new home. Plus, in case of damage, it will be much easier to make a claim with proof in your hand.
#6 First day bag
We are almost there! While preparing for your move in general, don’t forget to prepare for the moving day itself! Apart from a binder with important documents, it’s always good to have a bag or box with items you’ll need during the journey and your first day at your new address. So, here are a few essential items you will need:
- comfortable clothes (and maybe a change or two, especially if you’re traveling with kids)
- snacks and drinks
- toys for kids
- phones and chargers
- a few towels and necessary toiletries (soap, shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, etc.)
- anything else you think you’ll immediately need
#7 Get your new home ready
Last but not least, try to get your new home ready before the movers come with your belongings. A clean house will make unpacking and settling in much more manageable. You can opt to come earlier and do the cleaning yourself, or you can hire cleaners to do it for you before you move in.
Additionally, if you’re moving permanently, it’s a good idea to make an inspection and do the repairs beforehand. Plus, if you’re planning upgrades, it’s best to finish them before you move in.
Enjoy your new home!
Following these moving tips for military families should help you have a smooth and satisfying relocation! However, no matter how carefully you plan everything, moving is always a big and at least a bit stressful life event. Try to look on the bright side and focus on the positive things about your experience and your new home.