Last Updated on November 30, 2022
If you’re going to be an Army wife, you are going to be very good at packing your things and being able to set up a new house to feel like a home in a matter of days.
Here are some tips to help you along on your next move.
If the movers are doing everything…
1. Take pictures and document.
The day before the movers arrived, I went around the house and took pictures of everything. I also made sure to write down the serial numbers of all of our electronics and the computer.
You cannot document your belongings enough. As an Army wife, you’ll get very good at this.
2. Protect your valuables.
If you have valuables or collectibles that you would be heartbroken about if something happened to them, pack them yourself. Be sure to leave room in the car for a few of these items.
I’ve heard horror stories of things going missing. And our friend recently had their moving truck go up in flames. It was a total loss.
My husband’s wedding band disappeared on one of our moves. He had taken it off for training, and we didn’t think about it when we were packing.
If you can’t easily replace it, take it with you.
3. Shift responsibility for contents.
If you’re like me and already have a lot of things packed when the movers arrive, make them responsible for the contents. To do this, don’t seal the boxes or if they are already sealed, break the seal on the boxes.
When they seal the box, they become responsible for its contents.
4. Stay with them while they pack!
Watch them as they pack your things, especially when it comes to the breakables. If they seem to be clumsy with your items, then speak up but do it nicely.
They are being paid to do a good job and get all your household items to your new Army home in one piece.
5. Offer to buy them lunch.
This will go a long way with them if you make small requests along the way or ask for favors. My husband was still in training when the movers came, so they unhooked my washer and dryer for me.
That’s something they are normally not allowed to do. I went out of my way to be sure they had plenty to eat and drink while they were packing.
6. Be sure they list your items in detail.
There will be a packing list that you must sign off on before they leave. Be sure your items are listed in DETAIL.
Don’t let them write television. It should say 60” Sony with the serial number. Otherwise, you could end up with a 12” television, and you won’t be able to prove they packed a 60” TV.
7. Check everything before you sign.
Once you have signed, you have agreed to the inventory list. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t exist.
Be sure to check the list before you sign it thoroughly.
8. Be sure the boxes are labeled.
The movers should number the boxes, and the numbers should correspond to the inventory sheet.
Also, be sure they mark each box with your last name. Some people even attach a custom label with names and the new address in case someone else ends up with their box.
All of your items will be numbered with stickers. You will be finding these stickers until the end of time. Years after our last move, we have continued to find these stickers.
9. Layout your new Army home for move-in day.
When it’s time for them to move your stuff in, make sure it is easy on them to know where to go.
Some people color code their boxes; others mark the door for each room in the new place.
Any way you want is fine, but it’s a lot easier when the boxes are divided up in the rooms they are supposed to be in. This is particularly true if you’ll be unpacking by yourself.
10. Check off the inventory list as they bring items in.
Do NOT sign the final inventory until everything has been accounted for. If you sign for them, there is no way to prove you didn’t receive all of the boxes.
11. Put it back together.
If the movers took it apart, then they should put it back together for you.
If you know you want the TV cabinet against the wall by the fireplace, don’t let them leave it in the middle of the room. Make them put it where it is supposed to go.
12. Assess any damage quickly.
Try to go through all of your items as soon as possible so you can note anything that is broken. The movers should give you instructions on what to do if this happens. These instructions should be followed to a “t” to be sure you’re reimbursed.
This is where your pictures can come in handy as well. Now you have proof of what the item looked like before the move.
What to take with you:
13. Important papers
His official orders, birth certificates, marriage license, social security cards, etc., should all go with you in your vehicle.
Do not pack these items or let the movers pack them. In all likelihood, you’ll need them before you find the box they are in.
These papers should be with you at all times during your move.
If you have pictures that cannot be replaced, take them with you. The last thing you need in the stress of moving is to find out your wedding or baby pictures have been ruined.
Sometimes the movers are delayed for a variety of reasons. Take all of your medications with you, and be sure you have more of a supply than you think you will ever need. Better safe than sorry!
16. Your phone
It could be days before your things arrive, and you need to have communication. Don’t forget your chargers!
17. Toiletry items
Most importantly – toilet paper!
It’s also not a bad idea to take the shower liner with you (with hooks) and a few towels with you.
Make sure you also have pillows and blankets if you have to camp out on the floor for a few days.
18. Everything for pets
You will need their food, bowls, litter, and any medications. Also, try to bring a favorite toy so they have something familiar.
If your pet is used to sleeping in a crate, make sure you bring it with you to avoid more upsets to their schedule and life.
19. Kitchen essentials
Be sure to leave out paper plates, napkins, plastic utensils, etc., so you can still eat while they are packing your things.
This will also make it much easier and cheaper when you get to your new place until you find all your dishes.
Try to pack a cooler with sandwich meat, condiments and drinks. Have snacks and bread ready, so you don’t spend much money eating out.
The most important thing to take with you…
Your sense of humor
In fact, as an Army wife, this needs to be a permanent package that goes with you everywhere!
In all likelihood, something is going to go wrong. Try to take it in stride and just smile and move on. Getting angry and upset will only make the move harder. Try to laugh and make the best of it.
It will make for great stories later down the road. “This one time, in the Army….”
What would you add to this list? Do you have a crazy moving story to share? Let us know in the comments!
When you’re done with the move, review this checklist to see what you should do AFTER the PCS.