No one knows how to execute a move like a military family. Being assigned to a new posting isn’t like moving because you need more square footage or a better school system. When your orders come through, it’s time to go … sometimes on short notice. People who are constantly on the go tend to develop plans that are based on many years of hard experience, not to mention trial and error.
The more you can plan ahead, the better off you’ll be when the time comes. That means having a good approach to downsizing as well as organizing records and important documents. You don’t have to live out of a suitcase (though it must feel like that sometimes); it just means being ready to put your plan in action so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you get that urgent message from Uncle Sam.
Bind it and digitize
It can be really hard to keep track of your records when you’re constantly moving. Someone’s passport, last year’s tax return, or maybe even a birth certificate can easily get lost in the shuffle. Consider keeping it all together in a binder, a physical repository with key documents and pieces of identification neatly tucked away in plastic sleeves. You’ll have everything you could potentially need to put your hands on quickly in one easy-to-find location. If you’re wondering what’ll keep you from losing the binder, keep it tucked away in your safe or strong box.
Technology has made it easier to get organized and keep your records from being lost. Scanning allows you to digitize an entire file cabinet worth of documentation in a relatively brief amount of time. And it’s easy to put them all in pdf format on a backup disk that stays in a secure location (you can also store them on the cloud, though some people prefer not doing so with sensitive personal information).
Downsize and declutter
The good news is that you have a great excuse to declutter and downsize a lot when you’re always in move mode. That keeps you lean and mean, free of accumulated “stuff,” which happens to so many families. If you’re facing a move, start decluttering as soon as possible, clearing out a dozen or so objects each day until you’re down to those you’ll be taking with you. When you come across things that are worn, faded, chipped, raveling, smelly or mildewed, throw them out and don’t think twice. Some people set aside belongings that can be taken to the local consignment store, or sold on eBay or Craigslist. A common rule of thumb is if you haven’t used something within the past year, let it go!
A clean start
Admit it – when you’re getting ready to move, the last thing you’re concerned with is washing your drapes, slip covers, blankets and anything else that probably hasn’t been washed for years … at least not until you’ve moved. As soon as you get the word to start packing again, start the washing process, using your washer/dryer or by taking it all to the cleaners. Once everything’s as good as new, keep it all together in a special area until it’s time to load it.
Go with the packers
No, not Green Bay … the professionals who know what should be packed together in the same boxes and have years of experience preventing in-transit damage. The movers are the guys who will haul it all out and put it on the big truck, the heavy lifters. You can easily find a reputable packing company on the Internet, read customer reviews and price compare.
A plan in place
Remember, the big takeaway is to have a plan in place for when moving time rolls around again. Figuring it all out again every time is wasteful, and it’ll have you living in mortal dread of packing. Keep it organized, decluttered, streamlined, and clean and you can live without fear when time comes to move again.