Military Moving Tips – 10 Tips for Living Happily Through a Move

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This time of year always makes me think of moving. Is it because I’ve moved into more than 25 homes? I grew up as a military child, was then in the military myself and am now married to an active duty service member. At one point I moved five times in six years. Moving across the country (or across the world) is just my normal. Along the way I’ve picked up a bunch military moving tips that will make it possible for you and your family to live happily through a move.

little boy sitting in open wood moving crate with text overlay

I’ve moved around the world from before I was even born (my mother moved back to the US from Europe when I was 6 months old) and I’ve moved as the mother of three young children. I’ve moved across town and across the world. Oh, and I’ve also moved with a dog and a leopard gecko. I tell you this so you know that I’ve faced most moving challenges and situations and know that it is possible to survive and even enjoy the moving process.

Let’s be honest, moving can be a great big hassle. But it doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. When you move with the military it’s often several days and up to several months before your furniture and belongings arrive. During that transitional living time these 10 tips will help make your living situation more comfortable and even enjoyable. You can take steps to minimize the hassle and maximize the adventure of your move, which will make it possible to live happily through your move.  

10 Military Moving Tips to Live Happily Through the Move

1. Have a Positive Attitude – Your attitude is a choice. You can choose to be sad about leaving your current location and friends and harried by all that has to be done in the chaos of a move. OR you can choose to look at it as an adventure and opportunity. I always chose the positive attitude and it really does impact how happy you will be throughout the adventure of your move. Your attitude will also impact your children’s attitudes about the move, so be aware of your attitude and its influence. 

2. Focus On Each Other – Remind yourself of what is most important in your life. It’s not the stuff or the house or the car, it’s your family. Focus on treating each other well and supporting each other through the stress of the move. Schedule some fun time and treats into the busy moving schedule. This doesn’t have to be expensive, you can take a picnic dinner to the park for an hour to unwind and strengthen your family’s bond. What’s important is spending positive time together.

3. Focus on the New Location – You can choose to look back and focus on all the things you’re losing and will miss OR you can choose to look ahead and be excited about the new experiences waiting for you. I always take time to research our new location and find things that will be exciting for each of my family members to look forward to. 

70's style avocado green wall oven

4. Think of It as a Camping Adventure – I’ve lived in all kinds of homes. I’ve lived in Turkey where the electricity would go out every week (almost every day), often while we were cooking dinner. I’ve lived in ancient homes that had museum-quality avocado green appliances. I’ve also lived in Germany where the kitchen came with only a sink and a fridge, but no kitchen cabinets (you were responsible for supplying your own kitchen shrunks or cabinets). It often took several months for our furniture to arrive and for us to get settled in. Through it all, we faced it as a fun camping adventure. It is military family move camping. Ask any military family and we can tell you funny and fond memories of our moving camping experiences. Embrace your transitional living situation and have fun with it (even the tiny avocado green oven that was replaced within a year).  

5. Pack Minimum Must-Haves – Pack the minimum items that you will need for your immediate transitional living situation. Whether you send those items in your unaccompanied baggage shipment or pack them in the trunk of your car, you will use the same strategy. Pack a place setting of plastic or unbreakable dishes for each family member. Pack a set of silverware for each family member, 2-3 sharp knives and 2-3 large spoons and spatulas for cooking. Pack one pot, one pan and one baking pan. Pack one set of sheets, pillow and blanket for each family member’s bed. Pack one set of towels and wash cloths for each family member. Pack 2-3 dish towels and dish cloths. Pack a beach towel for each family member. If you have room, pack a couple of sets of curtains. I’ve moved into homes with absolutely no covered windows. Do you know how difficult it is to get dressed when every room has an uncovered window? I do. 

6. It’s Okay to Use Disposable Items – If you are a friend of Organized 31, you know that I am big on earth-friendly living. I usually like to use cloth napkins and to recycle and repurpose items. Moving and transitional living is a time when I endorse using disposable plates, cups, tableware, napkins and paper towels. Transitional living is a situation that warrants the convenience of using disposable items. 

7. Rent Furniture and Necessary Items – While it’s fun to treat the moving adventure as an indoor camping adventure, there are certainly times to rent furniture and equipment you need. We moved from Kansas to Hawai’i when I was six months pregnant with a high-risk pregnancy and two young children. It took a couple of months for our furniture to arrive. The camping adventure experience didn’t make sense. Renting furniture made perfect sense for our family at that time. CORT Furniture Rental understands the needs of military families. CORT offers furniture on-demand; furniture that is available when you need it and gone when your own furniture arrives. It couldn’t be much easier than that. CORT Furniture Rental offers military packages starting at $119 per month.* (*military pricing is only available on military packages and require that the customer presents a valid military I.D before furniture delivery.)  

8. Take Advantage of an Almost Empty Home – So, you’re living in a home with almost no furniture, no breakables, no stuff. Now is the time to go “wild” (within reason) and take advantage of that empty space. Have a crazy dance party. Let the kids run and jump to their hearts’ content. Jump rope in the house. Bounce a ball in the house. Race toys cars. Of course, you still have the responsibility to take care of the house and not damage it, but there’s a lot less to get damaged, so enjoy!

3 children with backpacks walking through airport

9. Pack Special Items and Toys for Children – Take time with your child to pack a bag of special items and toys for them to enjoy during the move. Be sure to include versatile items like crayons, sidewalk chalk, building blocks, imaginative play figures (dolls, cars, animals), balls and some favorite books. You can also encourage your child to play with empty boxes, the open and other non-traditional “toys,” the open space in your empty home and to play outside as much as possible 

10. Have Fun and Make Memories With less stuff in your house, there’s less organizing, straightening up, cleaning and cooking that has to be done. Use this time to get out of the house and make memories. Go to the park, the pool or the beach. Go to the library and museum. Enjoy this time spent together as a family. There will be plenty to do once your own belongings are delivered, so take advantage of this time now to have fun. 

Do you have any military moving tips that have worked for you? Be sure to check out the CORT furniture rental options for any transitional times you have coming up, whether it’s a military move, a civilian relocation or moving into a college dorm or apartment.  

Stack of moving boxes with text overlay
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6 Comments

  1. These are great tips for finding the positive in an otherwise stressful period. The empty house play is always one of my kids’ favorites!

    1. Thanks, Corinne. Nothing like running around like a maniac in an empty house to raise the spirits, huh? šŸ™‚

  2. These are all great tips. I moved due to the Military when I was young and now we move often due to another job. We have learned that it is easier to leave than to get left. So much to look forward to. We try to look at our moves as a mini vacation and find things along the way that we can visit. We feel that we will never go back to “Station XYZ” so we try to make the most of it.

    1. Add a mini vacation to the move is a great idea, Cynthia. And I agree with you, I’d always rather be the one leaving than the one being left when it comes to moving.

  3. I love these tips! You have balanced out the practical with keeping a positive outlook! I think that focusing on the good is the best way to face any new adventure or life transition.

  4. I live in a military area and I’m so impressed at your efficiency. I’ve definitely learned not to overthink things from your blog – just do it. I’m amazed by the 25 moves…I still get freaked out at one!

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