When you're part of a military family, periodic moves are to be expected. However, that doesn't make them any less stressful. In fact, you may be expected to be ready quickly once you've been handed your PCS orders, and trying to speed things up may increase your stress level. But don't panic. Take a look at a few tips that can make your military move as smooth as possible.
Don't Prepack – Pre-label Instead
Don't bother prepacking items that are being delivered by the military's movers. The movers will only unpack them and repack them according to their own specifications. This is because they're liable for the items that they'll be delivering, so they have to ensure that they're packed in the best possible way to prevent damage while moving.
However, if you feel the need to do something with the boxes while you're waiting, you can't go wrong with adding some descriptive labels. This will be a huge timesaver when you're in your new place and getting ready to unpack. Generally, the movers will only label the box with the name of the room the items came from, like "kitchen" or "master bedroom". However, you can make your life easier by adding more descriptors to the labels – like "kitchen – silverware" or "master bedroom – bedding". This will allow you to locate the items that you need right away when you begin to unpack.
Separate Your Professional Gear
Items that are considered professional gear don't count against the weight limit that you've been given for household goods. Keeping this in mind can help prevent you from exceeding your weight limit unintentionally. Make sure to put the items that are considered professional gear in an isolated spot, away from the other household goods. For good measure, place a sign on top of or in front of them noting that that pile consists of professional gear that needs to be weighed separately.
Make sure that you know which items constitute professional gear. Usually, this category includes tools, books, and other items that you'll need to perform your job duties at the next location. So, if you're going to be performing mechanical duties, your tools and manuals that you need for that job will count. Specialized uniforms, like diving suits, also count, but your regular uniforms do not. Professional gear can add up to a lot of weight, so paying attention to it can be a big help.
Gather Up What You Don't Want Packed
You also need to separate anything that you don't want packed before the movers arrive – unless they're told not to, they'll pack the entire contents of each room, so don't expect them to leave your eyeglasses or hairbrush if you didn't move them first.
Make sure that you've collected the chargers for any devices that will be traveling with you, any medications that you or someone else in the family needs, and your cell phone. Also, keep in mind that many movers don't handle liquids, so if you have expensive cologne or a favorite bubble bath that you'd like to keep, be sure to keep that with you as well.
Getting organized and knowing what to expect are the keys to an easy military move. The more prepared you are for the movers, the easier it will be to settle in to your new place.
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