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Moving Tips: How to Make Constant Military Moves Simpler

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Every 2, 3, 4 years or so – most military families move. This means that we spend a lot of time packing and unpacking and making things that fit in one home or apartment fit into the next. This can be a real challenge as time goes on. Sam and I started out at the tender ages of 20 and 21 with my Volkswagen Jetta crammed full of all our belongings. We bought a futon when we arrived in CA. It was pretty simple.

8 years later in El Paso, we rented a moving van and packed two cars full of all our things. Time has a way of making you need more stuff.

In my marriage alone, I have moved 9 times in 9 years. Because of this, I’ve gotten pretty darn good at packing up things in a hurry. I’ve also gotten good at answering the question, “Do we need this?”

Which at moving time changes to, “Do I really want to pack, move, and unpack this thing again?”

A lot of the times, the answer is no.

Moving Tips

Here are a few tips we’ve learned over the years that work for us:

What I tend to do is try to minimize things as the date to move gets closer. If we have gone without it so far, we can go without it till we get settled again.

Another tip is to “pretend move” on a yearly basis. I take giant bags and boxes and fill them with everything we aren’t ever going to use, that’s broken, or outgrown. Then I donate, giveaway, or throw away depending on the condition. If you’re into yard sales, this would be great for that. We don’t do them because I honestly don’t want the stress.

We buy practical furniture that can fit several different spaces. For example, a corner hutch would be lovely for our kitchen. But we may not have the same type of layout in the next house. So we arrange the cupboards to fit what we do have.

I don’t store anything. We use the space in our home to keep things in boxes that we can’t fit or won’t use this stationing (winter coats in El Paso). This makes moving easier as it’s already packed, and saves money because we aren’t renting storage. When we moved from our home to an apartment a couple of years ago, we sold or gave away what wouldn’t fit.

We save our boxes each time. As we unpack, we fold and store the boxes that are able to be used again.

This time around, we agreed that unless something major happened to the home or we absolutely had to – we wouldn’t move during the time we were stationed. So our rent went up a bit this year and we agreed it wasn’t worth it to move. It saves time, stress, and money to keep living in the place you’re already in.

I’ve never been moved by the military. In the Marines it wasn’t an option since Sam was already out in California, and here we weren’t given enough time to schedule anyone. I don’t know if at this point it would be a luxury or a pain to have someone help us with it all.

What about you? How often do you move and what are your moving tips for making it easier? Is having the military move you worth it?


  1. Micki Aber

    September 13, 2012

    OMG! The military has moved us every time and boy is it worth it! The moving company comes in, boxes up everything (including trash if you forgot to take it out) and unpacks it at the next house! We also collapsed all the moving boxes. They are expensive and we use them for a hundred things over the years, including moving our daughters to college. 🙂 The last time we moved they used 2 of the professional moving trucks! We have TOO much stuff 🙂

  2. Sarah M.

    October 9, 2012

    I really don’t like to move from one place to another again and again.. but I LOVE my husband (Ryan) :))

  3. Sarah M.

    October 15, 2012

    Hi, again. I remember that a dew month ago we had some issues with our dog Spot, cause he didn’t like the new place. So I decide to share some useful tips from our moving company with you, moving can cause a lot of stress for your pet too.
    Keep an eye on your pet the first few days at your new home. Check to make sure it is eating and drinking water on a regular basis. If not, you might want to have them checked out by your new veterinarian. Sometimes it took about a week to adjust to our new home and your vet will give you the best advices.

  4. Sarah M.

    October 23, 2012

    Hello, again 🙂

    I remember when together with Ryan moved from Charlotte NC to Nashville TN with our dog (Richie). We had some troubles with it.. anyway here are some useful tips:
    – Avoid traveling in extreme cold or hot weather.
    – Do not forget the ID. Mark your pet’s cage with your name and address.
    – Put a blanket or cushion on the crate floor.
    – Take your dog for a long walk after the moving day.

    I hope these was helpful too 🙂