What do you need to know and do? And, what can you do way before your military move even happens? Well, I'm days away from our movers arriving at our house....and, well, inside I am completely freaking out. I have this major list of things to do and when to do them. I am trying so hard to keep on task. It is hard though. I asked my friend Melissa a series of simple questions about military moving. She is one of the most organized people I know...its like the container store in her house...binders, lists...oh my word she is ORGANIZED. So, who better to ask!
Melissa is a military brat-spouse. She was born, raised and married into the military. She started her military moving career at the ripe old age of 17 when her father retired from the military and they parted ways for her senior year. She always knew she would be prepared from that point on. She has done many moves - mostly DITY (Do IT Yourself - for the non-military speaking folk) but she has also done partial DITY where the movers (hired by the military) pack and move larger items.
Do you think moves are made easier when organized?
Yes! What isn’t easier when organized?! With the military and all its paperwork and red tape, being organized is key. It makes less stress on you, your spouse and your family right down to Fido. So the best thing is for you to take initiative and take control. Your spouse has tons of out processing and in-processing to do, that coupled with meetings and meet and greets equals chaos and only leads to fighting. And nobody wants that.
How do you know when to start and where to start?
You must start your move organizing the minute you hear FIGMO(the minute you hear you have orders even if you don’t have the RIP yet). Your brain from now until that last box is unpacked should be in “Move Mode”. “Move Mode” this is when your brain starts to only think about moving. You will start lists upon lists of ideas and numbers and paperwork and to do lists.
This is where I recommend a move binder. Make lists of things that need to be done in the months prior, like, selling things you don’t need, finding out a place to live, which route you will take, will you visit people on the way, when should I stop the mail. What will work best with the kids (if applicable) will we need good-bye parties, etc. Then you will need your next list for the days before packers arrive.
Where is your designated room to place your items you are taking with you, what is everyone bringing what will I do while my house is in boxes, switching bills, setting up utilities at the next place shutting off utilities at current place. If selling a house, well that is whole other moving box.
While the packers are at your house:
- Where do the kids or amily pets go?
- Should I feed the packers? (YES!)
- What’s for dinner?
- How do I keep things normal in this uprooted situation?
What are the best things to keep with you at all times?
Personally I like to do a partial DITY move. I bring all my valuables with me. It made me feel more comfortable and I had less worry. You can do this by renting a mini U-Haul or packing up your cars. We bought a topper for our truck and had a minivan. Our kid rode in the truck so we had more room in the minivan.
With your DITY move you need to also think about what comes into the hotel or lodging? That is where it gets tricky. Some of you may have the better mentality that it is just stuff and it can be replaced. OH how I wish that was me. My life would be tons better. I recommend like a Rubbermaid or suitcase with the absolute things you need.
Some of the most important things to bring are:
- A copy of your orders
- All important documents (birth certificates, medical records (if hand carrying), wills, etc., anything you would keep in a safe. Or hide somewhere if you left your house, or in other terms of thinking (which I had to do last summer and this summer) what would you take if you had to evacuate. Let me tell you that puts a lot into perspective.
- Important move numbers.
What about organizing stuff the packers take?
Well, pretty much once you start inventory you start to organize. The more organized you are the better chances for the packers. On one move we did, we had everything laid on the floor of the room it came from in hopes it would be packed properly. I still found things in the oddest boxes. The packers can be your best friend. They know lots of information, like who to call and how to deal with the moving truck people. They can help you understand the process and TMO, etc. They are the ones who keep track of your items going on the truck. There are two types of moving tape. The packers will use one and so will the moving people. Make sure no tags fall off while boxes are being removed for house to be put onto truck. And at the end of the move per pinterest these inventory tags make a really cute memory ornament.
Another important tip, whatever you are taking with you (luggage, guns, toys, food, etc.) anything you are taking and place it in a closet or empty room. Tell the movers DO NOT ENTER and put a sign up on the door. That way you know what you’re taking. And you may not be totally packed with this stuff so just putting it in a room helps you for later and has the mover’s pack you may see something and you can just throw it in the room. Depending on the packer even if you have things packed yourself in Rubbermaid’s they may still unpack and rewrap.
What is an inventory log?
An inventory log is something you should have military or not. It’s good for insurance purposes too. There are many ways to do an inventory log. You can either do videos, photos, or a good old fashion book. The theory is that this should be updated. When you do an inventory log always include the serial number, model number and a good photo. The photo should show if the item have any distinct markings or anything that makes it unique plus just a front, back and side view of the item. Back in the day they asked you to engrave your name on the item. A little extreme but in some cases like tools very needed. You can start by buying a book, or a large memory card. I have both. You record your entire life. These are good for insurance purposes, emergencies. Natural disasters, break-ins. This should be kept somewhere safe. Like a safe or lock box.
Do you recommend a move binder?
Yes! This helps keep things at your fingertips. I have mentioned this above many times. I think it is sooo helpful, and it helps keep your mind at ease to know you are prepared. And with moves you can never be over prepared. With all this said, an important number to keep in your move binder is TMO and the truck driver’s number if possible. You always need to know where your stuff is and where it’s going and when it will be delivered.
I can’t stress this enough... just keep an eye on things and know you are ready for this move - you have pictures and inventory. Enjoy the move!
Great pinterest links: Move Binder and Road Trip Organization
Thanks Melissa for all the great tips! Hopefully it will help some other people as they prepare for this move!
You will all be proud -- we have our inventory going and our move seems to be going okay so far! Fingers crossed for great packers, movers and an easy transition to our new life in O-HI-O!