As we continued chatting I realized that Jamie and I do unintentionally follow a system for the way we do things when it comes to these big moves that’s worked out pretty well for us so far! I’m not saying my tips are the very best ways to do things (in fact, I’m sure there are easier ways to do many of the things I’ll mention!), but this is just a system that works like a charm for our little family. Hopefully something I mention will make your next partial DITY move a little easier too.
When it comes to scheduling packers and movers, we like to do “backward mapping”. We pick what day we want to get on the road and work backwards from there. If we plan to hit the road on a Friday, we like the schedule the packers for Wednesday and the movers on Thursday. Again, we try our best to eliminate time in hotels and empty houses the very best we can, especially with a little one running around.
3. Plan your hotels & mealtime stops ahead of time
Jamie and I have referred to the night before our packers arrived for our first big move as one the worst night our of married lives (dramatic much?). We were so stressed! It was freaking unbelievable. We were totally ready to just pack like we were going on a weeklong vacation and send the rest of our junk with the movers, but we soon found out that setting aside the stuff you want to take with you is just not that easy, dummies! We now know better. 🙂
Great system: We use our pantry and our master bathroom as our loading zones and keep these areas off limits to the packers/movers. About a week before the packers arrive, we start setting things in those areas that we want to take with us instead of let the packers pack them up. We don’t like actually packing them too early because we still need things easily accessible while we’re living in the house (I hate living out of a packed suitcase or a box).
- two outfits per day for each of us for the number of days we estimate until the truck arrives (you never know how delayed the truck arrival is going to be)
- all toiletries, bathroom stuff, and cleaners
- a few rolls of paper towels for cleaning
- fireproof box
- pet needs (bowls, leash, food, dog bed)
- a couple rolls of toilet paper for the future house
- all non-perishable food
- propane tank
- broom and dust pan
- all kinds of bags (ziplock, trash bags, etc.)
- all luggage
Once our cars are entirely loaded down with our stuff we become cleaning machines and scrub the house to the condition it has to be in. When cleaning out the refrigerator we typically like to offer any food that’s in great condition to the neighbors we’re closest with. Things like butter, eggs, and cheese are always accepted by them! We also use our cleaning materials to scrub our next house while it’s empty before our boxes arrive.
For our most recent move we asked our movers to unpack our boxes, and we will continue to do that from here on out. They actually only ended up unpacking about half of them because we were ready for them leave (it was late), but what they did unpack for us was a huge help. Let me be clear though – by unpack, I mean carelessly dump the contents of your boxes everywhere. Though every room looked like a bomb went off, having everything out the boxes already made it so much easier and faster to get everything in its right place. Bonus: Any boxes that they unpack they will take with them!
10. Break down your boxes and give them away for free on Craigslist
One major issue all military members face with moving is what to do with those darn boxes and packing paper. Being buried under the boxes and paper tends to be really bothersome, so we developed a system for getting rid of them painlessly and quickly. As each box gets unpacked, we break it down and throw it in the garage. The only boxes we don’t break down are the garment boxes because we use those to house all the packing paper. As soon as we have a decent amount of boxes in the garage, I put a listing on Craigslist offering the boxes and paper for free. As soon as someone texts me with a time they’d like to pick them up, I give them our address and open the garage. All the boxes and paper are always gone within 24 hours with an average of three different people that come to get them. They’re always very thankful. We’ve done this three times and it works flawlessly!
For more PCS stories & tips, click here.
Hi! I’m a proud Army wife and mom to two little girls (ages 1 and 4), and I love sharing our lives with you. I blog all about motherhood, our time in the military, our travels, our meals, my fitness journey, my fashion favorites, and so much more. I truly enjoy sharing it all! I can’t get enough of birthday cake ice cream, weekend sunrise runs, or making my girls belly-laugh. I write almost daily about my family’s lives, and though I like to keep things light, I also share the messy parts too. Welcome! So glad to have you around. I’m active on Facebook and Instagram and would love to communicate with you there!