I have moved 29 times since I turned 18. It’s shocking but true. I was traveling and moving long before I married a soldier. I have developed a surprising expertise in moving. I would like to share 5 of my favorite tools.
My number one moving tool is “The Car Folder”. This essential item can be any folder you like. Mine is an accordion style folder with a clasp. This folder houses items that I need easy access to while we are in transition. Items might include: a list of phone numbers for utilities, schools and doctors in the ‘old’ town, my address book, extra checks, and a list of contact numbers for the ‘new’ town. It’s not a bad idea to include the last few utility bills. You may have to show an old utility bill to set up a new account. Electric companies often ask for a letter of reference from your old company before they set up your account. This is something you can obtain ahead of time and take with you.
Before you move, assess your data plan and your phone minutes. When I moved to Virginia Beach I set my new land line service and TV service using my cell. I almost had a meltdown on the phone! It took 90 minutes and cost me a fortune. Before you move, increase your minutes for a specified period and save yourself some cash.
Do a survey before the packers arrive. The movers cannot take things like solvents, paint and bleach. If you don’t pull things, they can get packed and things get ruined. One of my husband’s favorite jackets was packed with a full container of bleach. Enough said. You will save yourself a lot of grief if you check for these items. If you have high ticket items, like electronics, request the special inventory sheet. I thought nobody would care about my collection of Calphalon cookware. I was incorrect. Somewhere between North Carolina and Virginia, my carefully collected Calphalon took a hike. I should have listed it separately. When we arrived at our new place, I did not have any frying pans. I did file a claim and got replacement pieces, but it took time.
Know what your movers are responsible for. The contract often stipulates that they must unpack, if you request it, and take away the boxes. I have them unpack as much as possible and remove the boxes. The boxes make the house stink. If they do not take all the boxes, secure a day and time for the removal of the remaining ones. The movers will try to tell you it’s not their problem. Make it their problem, but be sweet about it. They’ll be less likely to argue with you.
It can be hard to eat healthy when you are in temporary quarters. We often have cereal or toast in the room for breakfast and then either have a big lunch or dinner, not both. It is significantly cheaper to buy soda and water at the grocery. We keep drinks in our hotel room, or temporary quarters, to save money. The transition period is fun because we try out restaurants in our new town and learn our way around.
Once we figure out where our son will go to school, I get him registered. If we arrive mid year and there is no orientation, I arrange to take him in for an orientation before his first day. This simple step alleviates a lot of anxiety. His school in Virginia Beach had 5 or 6 classes for every grade. It was huge. He was fine. I cried.
There are two more tools you need in your moving kit : Humor and flexibility. Things are not going to go as planned. If you accept this, you will be able to set the tone for your children. They will mimic your attitude, so beware. Having said that, there have been times I have just sat down and cried. Once when our furniture was being loaded, a horrible thunderstorm started. Then, the above ground pool started overflowing; it was more than I could take. I cried. Things happen. After you cry it out, get up and do what needs to be done. That is what military spouses do. Happy moving.