Life as a military family means frequent moves. Each of my four children was born in a different state. I’m not complaining. We’ve gotten to live in lots of interesting places and meet amazing people. We’ve also learned a lot from our frequent relocations that might be helpful to anyone who doesn’t have the “benefit” of moving every two to four years. Today I’m sharing some easy moving tips that will save you time, frustration, and money during your next move.
The most important part of getting ready for a move is to purge as much as you can beforehand. If you’re hiring a moving company, you’ll be charged based on the weight of your shipment so the less you move, the less you’ll pay. If you’re moving yourself, you don’t want to waste your time moving things you don’t need. Sell, donate, or give away anything you can stand to give up. Also, if you are using a moving company, be aware that most of them won’t move certain items like liquids, candles, or food containers that aren’t sealed. Try to use up these items before moving day so you won’t be forced to move it yourself or waste money throwing them away.
Remove Batteries and Light Bulbs
Most moving companies won’t move batteries or light bulbs and for good reason. Batteries can explode, especially in high temperatures and light bulbs can break leaving glass shards everywhere. Remove these items before packing and pack separately to transport safely.
Empty All Garbages and Create a Central Garbage Bin
I have forgotten to do this more than once and more than once the movers have literally packed our garbage. Usually it’s one of the small wastebaskets from a bathroom or bedroom. Before packing day, make sure you’ve emptied all trash cans/wastebaskets and keep one large garbage bag in a central location. Also keep a supply of replacement bags since you will be throwing a lot of things away right up until you lock the door behind you on the way out.
Use Plastic Zip-Close Bags
Keep your items clean during transport and make it easy to unpack by placing items in zippered plastic bags. I use the one and two gallon-sized bags to hold everything from my underwear to my silverware (in separate bags of course). When you’re packing and unpacking drawers, this makes it easy to keep similar items together in the moving boxes.
Place power cords, cables, and remote controls in plastic bags and label the bags with a permanent marker so you know which cords and cables go with which electronics when you unpack.
Use Painter’s Tape to Keep Screws and Bolts with Furniture
Furniture is easier to move if it’s taken apart. Take the screws and bolts, place them in a small plastic bag and tape it to the furniture with painter’s tape. This will help ensure that the pieces stay together and will make it faster and easier to assemble the furniture at your new home.
Label Every Box in Detail
In your dream world, you will unpack all of your household goods in a single day. Then, you’ll arrive at your new home and realize you want to take your time to find the absolute perfect place for every single item. Three days later, you’ll be tearing open boxes to find a can opener and dumping things everywhere just to be rid of the boxes. Make things easier on yourself by being as detailed as possible when labeling your boxes. Instead of “kitchen” write “pots and pans” and “pantry items.” This will not only help you find items you need without unpacking everything at once, it will also help you stage boxes closest to their final destination in your new home so you don’t waste time and energy moving fully packed boxes around.
As you can see in the picture above, I label each box in multiple places so that no matter how you are holding the box or how you sit it in transit, it’s easy to determine where it belongs.
Stock Up on Paper Goods
At some point before the moving truck is loaded, you’ll have to pack up your kitchen. Meanwhile, you’ll still be hungry and so will your family, and it will be hard to eat if all of the dishes, silverware, and drinkware are packed up if you don’t have paper plates and plastic utensils and cups on hand. You’ll need this supply on both ends of the move to make do while your kitchen goods are in boxes. Don’t forget toilet paper and paper towels. Bodily functions and everyday messes are going to be as reliable as your appetite so make sure you have supplies to handle both.
Designate a Load Last/Unpack First Box
Think of the items you will want to have on hand in the final moments of your old home and the first moments of your new home (e.g. a telephone, cleaning supplies, bedding) and designate a box or area for these items that will be the last one loaded on the moving truck (and the first one unloaded at your new home). We usually designate a hall closet for these items since I like to keep the vacuum cleaner and broom available.
Consider Furniture Rental
During moving season, you can sometimes wait weeks for your shipment to arrive if you didn’t move yourself. Moving is stressful enough without adding bad moods from sleeping and sitting on hard floors with nothing but cleaning baseboards and windowsills for entertainment. Why make your family suffer anymore than they have to when it’s so easy and affordable to rent furniture to make your new home comfortable until your own things arrive? CORT Furniture Rental is a great option since they have so many locations in the U.S. and elsewhere. You pick out the furniture you want to rent and decide how long you want to rent it (the longer you rent it, the lower the monthly fee), then you finalize details and can have your furniture delivered in as little as 48 hours. They will also come pick it up when you are ready to end your lease.
Special information for military families – CORT has a special furniture rental program just for military members. The military out clause releases you from your furniture rental contract if you are deployed, receive change-of-station orders, or are discharged. This is a great solution for those times when dad is a geo-bachelor (temporarily stationed away from his family for non-military readers). It’s also ideal when you are stationed somewhere temporarily (e.g. a training school) or are waiting for base housing in a rental property and you don’t want your household goods handled multiple times.
Befriend New Neighbors Immediately
Sure, you could wait for your neighbors to come over and introduce themselves (and bring you treats), but a little courtesy from you at the beginning can make a big difference in how friendly your neighborhood is. Since moving trucks can interfere with neighborhood parking and can inconvenience your neighbors, it’s a good idea to let your immediate neighbors know BEFORE the moving truck arrives that it’s coming. They will appreciation the consideration and will be more willing to greet you with open arms. I like to provide my phone number and e-mail address during these visits. It lets your neighbors know that you are interested in forming a connection. Usually they will respond by sharing their contact information with you and an offer to recommend local services (e.g. dentists, hairstylists, handymen).
Recycle Your Moving Boxes
Don’t want to drag all of those moving boxes out to the garbage? Place an ad on Craigslist or Freecycle to offer them up to someone else getting ready for a move. They’ll be thankful for the free or inexpensive moving supplies and will be happy to come pick them up.