Courtesy of Realtor.com
As if we needed any other reasons to thank the brave men and women who volunteer to join the American military, there’s this: They’ve signed on to pack up and move to new states, countries, even continents—often multiple times.
Military personnel move an average of once every three years. An upside to all this packing and unpacking is that military families are experts on making moving as easy and stress-free as possible. Realtor.com asked them to share tips everyone can use to successfully transition a home to a new place.
- 1. PURGE, PURGE, PURGE
One military spouse has moved seven times in nine years. She states that one of the biggest mistakes a relocating family makes is paying to moving stuff that they should trash. Her advice: Three months before your movers arrive, systematically go through every cabinet, drawer, and room in the house and garage. Keep an eye out for the clutter of life that you don’t want following you, like papers that have piled up, clothes your kids have grown out of, and toys that are no longer played with. Donate items in good condition to Goodwill or neighbors, and toss out the rest. Getting rid of everything you don’t need to take to a new house makes unpacking on the other side emotionally and logistically easier.
2. TAKE KEEPSAKES WITH YOU
It’s a fact of life that something will get broken or lost during a move. Military families recommend you keep important items, family mementos and keepsakes with you and do not entrust them to movers.
3. LET CHILDREN KEEP IMPORTANT ITEMS, TOO
Moving means packing up your entire life and sometimes not having access to it for weeks. During a move, make certain your children have things that provide security and comfort. A favorite stuffed animal, their pillow, and a few toys in their backpack will ease the transition.
4. NEVER LOSE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
Alison Maruca—former active-duty military and current Navy wife—has moved a whopping 13 times. She warns to never pack important documents. Instead, keep marriage and birth certificates, passports, checkbooks, Social Security cards, and family medical records with you when you travel to your new home.“This is to ensure we can sign a lease, open accounts, and establish our life in a new location without having to wait for the delivery of household goods,” says Alison.
5. KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR PACKERS
If you hire movers to pack up your belongings, remember that packers don’t really care about your home items. They don’t consider how things will be put back together when you arrive at your new home. So keep an eye on packers and speak up if any behavior makes you feel uncomfortable. And always hand-carry furniture hardware.
6. REACH OUT TO YOUR NETWORK
Moving is not just about transporting physical objects, it’s also about transitioning to a new community. Military families strongly recommend that a family on the move needs to reach out to friends and family who may have lived in your new city. Ask for tips and advice on the area and you’ll eliminate frustration when you arrive in your new city. In lieu of friends who lived there, do your research online to learn as much initial information about the city and your neighborhood to ease the transition. Your REALTOR® who represented you in the purchase of your new home should provide you with helpful relocation information
7. PACK AN ESSENTIALS BOX
When you do arrive at your new destination, you’ll need to hit the ground running in your new home. Essentials to quickly identify and locate: Sheets and pillowcases, eating utensils and basic dinnerware, tool box, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, light bulbs, and for the bathroom a shower curtain and rod, towels and soap.These essentials need to be packed, clearly labeled, and put on the truck last, so they’ll be the first off. This box will make your post-move life easier and allow you to cover the basics from your first arrival.
8. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN, BUT STAY OPEN TO CHANGE
Moving can be smooth and easy, or the biggest hassle you’ve ever faced. To keep stress levels low, prepare as much as possible, but be ready and flexible for the inevitable changes that come your way. I hope you find these tips helpful and if I can assist you in planning your move, please contact me at 682.551.0336.