Military Family Moving Tips Everyone Can Use

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When you move every one to three years, you learn tips that make moving easier. I’ve moved more that 25 times and at one point, I moved five times in six years!  I’ve moved myself across town and I’ve moved across the world. I’ve moved with children and with pets. While moving is definitely a life upending experience, moving is a process that can be accomplished with minimal stress and chaos. Really. These military family moving tips that anyone can use for their move and relocation make the difference between a chaotic move and a smooth, maybe even fun, move.

Stack of moving boxes with text "military family moving tips for everyone"
Moving boxes and possessions

I have moved under all types of circumstances:

  • Moved before the internet and cell phones existed.
  • Moved everything in my car.
  • Had friends help me move on a weekend.
  • Rented a truck and moved across town.
  • Used a moving company to move.
  • Moved across the country.
  • Moved around the world three times.
  • Placed my belongings in storage for two years.
  • Moved by myself.
  • Moved with an infant and a 50 pound dog.
  • Moved with two children under five.
  • Moved with three children.
  • Moved with an energetic dog and a leopard gecko.
  • Moved door-to-door
  • Moved with no idea where we’d live at the new location.

I guess you could say that I’ve had enough different experiences to pick up military family moving tips that really do work and make moving go smoothly.

Military Family Moving Tips

green footlocker with two moving boxes and green Army bag stacked on top

Plan for Your Move

When you’re moving, it is not the time to put things off or take the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach. Take the time to plan your move and plan for your personal preferences. The earlier you accomplish tasks required for your move, the less stress you’ll have and the more time you’ll have to spend time with family and friends before your move.  If you’re moving out of state here’s a great checklist to help you.

Tackle Tasks Earlier Rather Than Later – Moving is a situation where it is always better to accomplish a task earlier in the process rather than later.  The earlier you start on moving tasks the sooner you’ll identify any problems and have time to rectify them. Taking care of tasks before the day or week of the actual move also allows you to focus more fully on the move itself. 

Research Moving Tips for Your Particular Situation – There are many resources available for military moves and for every type of move. I’ve collected my tried and true moving tips and tricks. It’s a great place to start your moving research. 

Create a Move Notebook or Binder

Designate one spot that contains all your moving information. You can create that in hardcopy form or use a moving app on your phone. I prefer to add a moving section to my bullet journal and have a folder that holds all the paper that is required for moving. The format  you use isn’t as important as having all your plans, to do lists, contacts and paperwork in one easy-to-find place.

Plan to Minimize the Impact on Your Family

Even the smoothest of moves will still impact every member of your family. Acknowledging the impact is important so that you can then plan ways to make everyone as comfortable as possible during the move. If you have children, check out my Tips to Make Military Move-In Day Easier for Kids  and my 10 Tips for Living Happily Through a Move.

Pack Your Favorite Items – Plan to take cherished items with you on the plane or in your car, if possible. At a minimum, plan to take irreplaceable items with you. Plan for children to take one or two cherished items with them. Allowing children to have special items with them through the move will give them comfort during a stressful time.

Pack Local Favorite Foods – When you move from one part of the country to another or from one part of the world to another, there are often favorite foods that you will be leaving behind and will miss. Stock up on your favorite local, shelf-stable foods and move them with you. It will help you feel more at home in your new place when you open that box of your favorite food items for the first meal in your new home. 

Take advantage of these helpful ideas for organizing your closet after a move to make the most of your new closets and set them up to work best for your needs.

Take Advantage of Furniture Rental

Depending on your move schedule and situation, furniture rental may be the perfect solution to make your family comfortable during the move and in your new location.  Furniture rental makes sense:

  • If your furniture is packed and shipped well before you depart your current location. Sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag is only fun for a day or two (or if you’re under the age of 25)
  • If you will arrive to the new location well before your belongings. 
  • If your new home has different furniture needs that won’t be met by your current furniture.
    • Your new bedroom is too small for your extra-large bed or bedroom furniture.
    • Your new home will require two children to share a bedroom and will necessitate different furniture.
    • Your new home is larger and you don’t currently own furniture that meets your new space requirements.
  • If your new job or social situation includes entertaining requirements that necessitate furniture you don’t currently own.
  • If you are living in a temporary living situation.
  • If you are just starting out on your own.
Grey modern Living room furniture

CORT Furniture Rental is available in locations all over the country, so chances are there is a store located near you. CORT focuses on providing furniture on-demand, which means it’s there when you need it and gone when you don’t need it – you’re in charge (if only everything about moving worked like that!). Often with military assignments and other work assignments, you don’t know exactly how long you’ll be there. CORT has got you covered with flexible furniture leasing options that allow you to keep the furniture as long (or as short) as you need it. There are enough hassles with moving, CORT helps meet your unique needs and makes at least one thing about your move easier.

Collage of furniture rental options - 10 Military Family Moving Tips Everyone Can Use -Whether You're moving into your first place or across the country, it can go smoothly.
Grey couch with coffee table and colorful vases

CORT has modern, sleek furniture for every room in your home – furniture you’ll enjoy and be proud of.Look at this lovely couch, the modern tables and all those fabulous vases! I suddenly want cool new living room furniture exactly like this!

Closed white doors with "don't pack this room" sign in red

Packers don’t know which items you want packed and which items you want to take with you. They pack millions of items every year and can’t be expected to remember your personal priority list. Identify a closet or room that you will use to keep all items you do not want to have packed. Close the door to that room and lock it if possible. At a minimum, place a sign that says “Do Not Pack” on the door. Use this same space during moving day so that the items you want to take with you aren’t inadvertently packed on the moving truck.

Embrace the Adventure

You can’t prevent every hassle that comes with a move, but you do have control over your attitude. Moving is an exciting adventure or it’s a stressful nightmare – it’s your choice. Embrace the the adventure. Have fun picnicking on the floor in your new home (because you don’t have a table yet). Have fun running around an empty house (because your belongings are packed and shipped).  Have fun making a fort with moving boxes. Have fun renting fashionable furniture and playing with a new look. Remember that you can choose your attitude and it impacts your family’s attitude about the move.

Planning and preparation will make your move much less stressful and much more successful for your family. Embracing the adventure of moving to a new place will make the move much more fun. These 10 military family moving tips that anyone can use will help you with your next move. Who doesn’t want a fun, stress-free move?

For my top moving and travel tips, hacks and printables check out the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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