I know it's been awhile since I have blogged here, but it doesn't mean you are out of my mind. You see, we have been doing a whole lot of un-fun stuff lately like cleaning, organizing and preparing for our big move from Germany back to the United States. I tell you, a move like this really makes you realize how much stuff you have! I know some people would dread having to pack up the whole kit- n-caboodle and moving to a whole new, unfamiliar place, but military families like ours kind of have this lifestyle down pat. If you doubt me, just ask a military spouse or military member you might know what they think about moving...I bet they will have some awesome tips, tricks and hints for you!
Since this lifestyle comes with it's fair share of moves, I would say one of the best parts about moving as a member of the military is that a company comes, packs and wraps everything and then all your "goods" are loaded into sealed crates and shipped to meet you on the other end. I did a do-it-yourself move once, and vow to never do it again. Let me just say it's A LOT of work! I don't envy those of you who do this often, so we will be careful to choose our next home as hubby retires and we get to choose where we want to settle.
As we were getting ready the past few weeks, many friends asked for some advice on how to make it easy, so I thought I would share a few tips that apply to any kind of move, while some may apply to military moves specifically. Here are a few things I can think of off the top of my head...
- Get friendly with totes, tubs and containers. These will help you to organize anything from papers, to supplies and even clothes and that infamous "junk drawer". They make packing up as easy as unpacking. Many of my items (like say...my sewing, art and crafting supplies!!) are stored in containers in the cupboards for ease of access and organization, so I simply put the containers where I want them when I unpack.
- Invest in some Zip-Lock bags. I suggest the gallon and quart size ones. They will help you keep the small things together. No one wants to have to worry about how those small miscellaneous items will scatter in the boxes. I learned this early in my moves that all those little trinkets in the junk drawer are a real pain to unpack when the movers dump the whole drawer into paper and stuff it into a box. On the other end, you will have a big surprise when you go to unwrap that paper and you have a million coins, screws, nails and other small little things falling all over the floor. Just sort and Zip-Lock it instead!
- Start your pre-move clean out early. I took one cabinet at a time and cleaned it out from top to bottom. Each time I cleaned out a space, I sorted out anything to sell/donate and put it into my favorite strong recycle bags. I always keep the trash can, paper recycle bin, and a box for stuff to shred nearby, too. Any items I have that have the original boxes, I put them away at this time. Original packaging protects many items the best so re-use it if you can. This cabinet clean out includes dressers, closets and even the car. I use my sit down and relax time in the evening to go through containers of miscellaneous tidbits while I catch a favorite TV show.
- For those with multiple shipments (like those of us in the military) be sure to sort out what you need by shipment. We had a household goods shipment (big, one takes the majority of your belongings and you won't see them for 2-3 months), an unaccompanied shipment (small, 1000 lbs or less, see in about 4-6 weeks) and of course the immediate needs items you will hand carry in your suitcases (clothes, records, passports, medications, etc.). This process takes some time, so don't forget this step WELL BEFORE the movers come. Otherwise, they might pack what you need, and you will end up spending more unnecessary money replacing something you need or not having a critical document you need. I will break this step down:
-- Set all the luggage aside that you will need. We like to travel light, so 1 rolling suitcase and backpack per family member, plus 1 toiletries bag and 1 small carry-on for critically important records.
-- Go room by room with a laundry basket and pull out what you will be hand-carrying. Go ahead and start packing suitcases and building a bag for records. This should include medical/dental records, birth/marriage certificates, school records, military records and anything that you will need to start life new in your next location. I plan for 7 days of clothes for everyone.
--Next, go room by room and pull out what you need to live in your home until you get lodging or have to move out. I pulled out paper plates/napkins, old silverware, cups and some other kitchen items that I had planned on donating anyway. This makes meals easy when you are in move mode and don't have time for anything complicated. I also include blankets, sheets and extra clothes in this, so we have more to choose from a few weeks after we arrive in the new location. You can put pillows in this shipment as well, though I finally said I have had it with our old pillows and tossed them the morning we moved out.
Now that our goods are shipped, the house is cleared and we have travelled the first leg of our journey back to the United States, it feels nice to sit back and relax knowing all that preparation paid off. I hope these tips help you out in your future moves. If you have some tried and true tips that you can't move without, please share them with us here at Mollykid Studios. We look forward to hearing from you... xo~Mollykid