Military Moving Tips for Switching Locations Quickly and Often

Frequent moving from one home to another is stressful; you have to learn new routes to work, change health-care providers, perhaps find a new job and learn new landscapes. It doesn’t have to be so stressful if your things are organized and there are systems in place to help everything run smoothly. If you’re in a military family you’ve likely developed an appreciation for efficiency and precision. Here are some tips to help you switch locations as often as you need—to without the headache.

Preparing for the Move

Preparing for the move is important, but starting too early can force you to dig through a box looking for that one item you really need right this moment long before it comes time to actually move. Preparing mentally is a great idea and can be done in advance, but it’s best to save the actual packing for the couple of weeks before the move.

It’s nicer to set up house with clean things, so washing everything before packing it is a great idea for an easy transition. Downsizing before a move is another great idea. It’s often cheaper to replace an infrequently used item than it is to move it. If something hasn’t been used in the past year, or you won’t need it where you are going, sell it online, donate it to a charity, give it to a friend or relative or simply let it go. The moving process is too stressful to bring along un-needed items. Here’s a motto to keep in mind: the families who travel best travel light.

Learning About Your New Location

It’s a good idea to research the area well. Base housing may not be what you are looking for, so start your homework early: contact real estate agents and take a look at any rental opportunities that might be available to make your decision between all options easier when you get there. If your move would allow you to commute to work, school, and any other activities your family participates in, keep in mind that traffic patterns could be drastically different in the new location and plan accordingly.

Plastic Drawers and Totes

If the moving is frequent (every few months), consider using plastic drawers and totes to make it easier to take household items from one place to another and set things up exactly the way they were in the previous house. These storage containers can be useful for anything from clothing items and toiletries to spices and cookware, and they’ll make organizing your new home a breeze.

Inventory Systems

One time-saving idea is to simply snap a picture of each drawer, cupboard, and closet before packing to have a visual inventory for easy reference in case of an insurance claim. Keeping track of what you have is very important. Some frequent movers use color coded boxes with a swatch of red tape across all the bathroom items, blue for bedroom items, green for things that belong in the main living area, and so on. Others get more detailed still, employing a coded system to number each box and keep track of what is inside—there are even apps for smartphones that will let you print out barcodes and labels.

Moving frequently can be a real hassle, even for military families who are required to move often. It’s most important to find a system of organization you can actually stick with; a system that doesn’t get used is worse than no system at all.