Moving Tips (from someone who’s moved 12 times)

by Jocelyn on March 1, 2011

by Kristin Schwabauer Rydbeck

Getting ready for a PCS move this summer? Here are a couple of tips from some very seasoned movers:

  • Pack an “Open First!” box.
    Make sure you pack one box with bed linens, towels, a shower curtain and an easy meal to make the first night you’re in your new house (we usually had a jar of Prego sauce and a box of pasta). Label it in red with: “Open First!”
  • Take care of your movers.
    When movers came to our house, we always had food on hand, usually sandwich fixings for lunch, fruit and beverages. We were polite and nice to them—killing them with kindness ensured they packed our things with more care. We also kept the name and number of our contact with the military liaison in case there were problems.
  • Pack your car with…
    We made sure all important paperwork was locked up in our car. We also brought clothes, toiletries, paper plates, plastic cutlery, tape, pens, paper, cookie sheets (see below for explanation) and other essentials for being on the road for a few days. My Mom always made sure my sister, brother and I brought along a favorite toy to travel with, especially if we needed it to help us sleep well.
  • Clean up as you go.
    My Mom (the smart woman that she is) made sure our vacuum was loaded last. As rooms were emptied out, she’d vacuum them. She also kept cleaning supplies with her so she could clean when the movers left and could clean the next house before we moved into it.
  • Keep an inventory and label new rooms.
    We kept tape, pens and paper in the car along with a couple of cookie sheets. On move-in day, we used the cookie sheets to tape inventory sheets to so we could mark off boxes as stuff was brought into our new home. My Mom assigned one of us kids to sit at the front door and check things off our list. We also labeled the bedrooms at the new house with paper and taped them to doorways (“Kristin’s Room,” “Master Bedroom,” etc.). This would help direct movers to where to put boxes.
  • Unpack as you go.
    My Mom assigned another one of us to unpack wardrobe and picture boxes while the movers were still bringing stuff in to our house. We also unpacked dish barrels. At the end of moving day, the packers would take all cardboard and packing materials that were unpacked. This cut down on the amount of trash we had to dispose of.
  • Take advantage of that “Open First!” box.
    When the movers have gone for the day, you’ll more than likely be exhausted. Be grateful that you thought ahead and dive in to that box labeled in red. All you’ll want to do after a long day is eat, take a shower and crawl in bed. My Mom was usually able to find a couple of pans to cook with and we ate on paper plates.

Happy moving!

Writer’s note—the real credit for this post goes to my Mom, who had moving in our household down to a fine science. To share other moving tips or things you’ve learned along the way, be sure to leave a comment to help other wives get ready for their next move.

About the Author:
Kristin Schwabauer Rydbeck, daughter of a retired U.S. Navy chaplain, is a writer, photographer and editor at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., by day. By night, she’s a gardener, potter, organizer and expert ice cream connoisseur. She loves to travel the world with her husband and dreams of someday being able to minister to the (military) community who gave so much to her. For now, if you want her to write about certain topics, leave a comment. She’d love to answer your questions.