1. Wait to start planning… nope. Once you have orders in hand, legit, tangible, orders, THEN you can start planning. There’s no use in creating stress when it can be delayed.
2. Start a diet… slim down your house. Moving from duty station to duty station, you tend to accumulate a lot of
crap stuff. Move room by room to either give everything a home or put it in the sell/donate/throw away pile.
3. Binder Time. Bust out the binder, it’s time for paperwork. Get a sturdy binder with sleeve protectors, labels, and dividers, and fill ‘er up with all of your important documents. It also helps to create a folder in your email and file any correspondence that pertains to your PCS there.
4. Wait in line. Get yourself on the list ASAP. What list you ask? There’s two important ones: Military Housing List and Childcare List. Research what housing you qualify for, and get on the waitlist if possible. As for childcare, even if you “think” you “may” be pregnant, put the little embryo on there. Childcare lists take FOR-ev-er.
5. Purge. That box in the corner that never got unpacked from the previous move? Get rid of it. If you haven’t used it in 3 years, chances are you won’t need it. The exception is if you’re moving from warm weather to cold weather, and you’ll need coats and jackets. Let’s not end up on an episode of “Hoarders”.
6. Photo/Video OF EVERY ANGLE. You know that taking photos for inventory is a must, but remember to take photos/video of every angle. The movers thought they could get away with punching a hole in THE BACK of my couch. FAIL. I noticed and thankfully took pictures of the back of the couch at our previous duty station.
7. Fresh Start. Wash all of your linens that have been piled up in the back of your linen closet (you know what I’m talking about). If it looks and smells dingy, throw it out. This include curtains, tablecloths, napkins, etc.
8. Big and Little Ziploc bags. These bags are great for packing and keeping similar things together like utensils, silverware, toys, or that giant box of pens (of only which half of them work). Also use them to keep tools and hardware attached to their furniture.
9. Keep all high-value items together. Make sure you’re there when the recorder is writing down everything. If you have the boxes for electronics, leave it out for them to pack (otherwise they might shift any damage blame on you). And oh yeah, please remember where they packed the remote controls.
10.Sample Size. Liquids and chemicals don’t get packed. Don’t bother throwing a fit when you see all that wasted money. Instead, in the month or two before you leave, don’t buy large quantities of liquid of chemical items (see you later, Costco!). Try buying sample sizes to avoid waste.
11. Get a really big purse or extra travel bag. Don’t fill it up all the way. There will last minute items or things that weren’t packed or you picked up during the transition of moving. Throw these items into the big bag.
12. Beg for a playdate. You are much more likely to have friends offer to keep your kids when you are moving out than when you are moving in. Not only should you say yes to any offers of help with your kids, but you should actively ask for help on moving days. People are willing.
13. Eww.Toss toilet brushes, plungers, old sponges, old mops and brooms. I don’t feel like this needs explaining.
14. Be nice. Especially to the packers. Don’t just be cordial, but be friendly. Learn their names, ask if they need anything. They’re the ones handling your stuff, remember? Some moving companies refuse tips. Bottled water and snacks are always a nice touch.
15. Put aside a few dollars. It’s time for takeout. And sandwiches, lots of sandwiches. The environmentalists will kill me, but perhaps a few days before you pack out only use paper plates and utensils. That way your stuff is guaranteed to be clean and dry.
16. Don’t pack “EVERYTHING” For ones with kiddos, leave a few toys out to entertain the little ones when the moves arrive. They’ll also need some entertainment when you travel. If you can, call a babysitter to watch the rugrats while the movers are there. If you have pets, reserve some food and treats for your fur-baby.
17. First Day Box. Pack a First Day Box. As in the box you need on your first day at your new place. Include toilet paper, paper towels, shower curtain. More toys for the kids.
18. Label boxes yourself. I know the packers might label boxes. From experience, they either write it really small, really messy, or not at all. When you’re unpacking, it’ll be easier to find things to unpack if you know where they’re going.
19. Outsource cleaning? Consider hiring a local cleaner because then 1) you don’t have to do it 2) cleaners understand how meticulous it has to be for a moveout 3) you don’t have to do it. 4) you don’t have to spend money on cleaning supplies or see them go to waste. 5) you don’t have to do it. If you would rather clean on your own, divide up the chores, start the week before the packout, so it’s not so overwhelming at the end.
21. Empty. As is empty the trash, the dishwasher, the refrigerator, the washer and dryer for anything that may be left behind.
22. Now’s the time to be picky. When you get to your new place, take photos before you move in. Document anything and everything that could even maybe possibly be wrong. Turn it into the housing office. Your new landlord will consider you the biggest effing diva, but at least they know you’re not kidding around.
23. Only open one box at a time. Once you open a box, empty it completely then break down the box. THEN you can move on to the next box. Otherwise you will have a bunch of half-open boxes, and nowhere to put things.
24. Pick up the packing paper as you go. It makes for less stress when you can actually walk around the floor. Assign one or two boxes to be the packing paper box. Before you throw it out, post to your local housing or spouses facebook page to see if anyone will need it.