Military Wife Life: How To Pack for a Temporary Move
Hi friends! So this is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a little bit now, and am finally getting around to it. I think it’s super important to share as much of my #airforcewife knowledge with you as I can, because I would have loved to have known some of this stuff beforehand. So I’m going to start a monthly series called Military Wife Life where I’ll talk about a topic related to life as a military spouse! Today I’ll finally share my tips on how to pack for a temporary move with the military.
Chances are if you or your spouse is in the military, you’re going to be moving A LOT throughout your lives. It comes with the territory. While many of those moves will be full on PCS’s (permanent change of station), there will be others thrown in there too. For example, your hubby might have to go to training for 6 months or longer, or you could be like us and have a stateside deployment where you are lucky enough to tag along. Let me just tell ya, a 6 month move is so very different from a permanent move. You’re probably thinking, “duh…” but I mean seriously, there are so many things you have to think about when preparing for it. And that’s what this post is all about today! I’m going to share exactly what you need to know, what we wish we had known, and what you need to pack for a temporary move with the military.
*Just a head’s up, this is a long one but I think it’ll be super helpful if you’re a military spouse!
Before You Go
One of the nice things about a temporary move like the one we are currently on, is that the military will likely take care of a lot the hard work for you. Especially if your spouse isn’t required or able to stay on base. We were able to have a relocation company reach out to the apartment of our choice and set everything up including having it furnished for us. So definitely ask about a relocation service before you go.
Pro Tip #1: Remember you aren’t going forever so you’ll need to leave most of your furniture behind. Look for apartments that are furnished, especially if a relocation company is not available.
Pro Tip #2: Look for apartments that are all inclusive as far as cable, internet, and utilities to eliminate the number of bills you need to worry about while you’re there.
Since you will be making a temporary move, you obviously won’t be able to take everything with you. Make a detailed list well in advance of things that you use everyday that you would miss if you left it behind. If you’re leaving behind a house, try to find someone to rent it from you while you are gone. Not only will you have peace of mind, but you might also make a little bit of money at the same time. We were lucky enough to have a friend from Kevin’s squadron stay in our home for us and keep an eye on it while we’re away.
Pro Tip #3: If you don’t already have an Amazon Prime account, I highly recommend getting one set up before you go. It has been a life saver for us. You can pay monthly or annually.
Pro Tip #4 Consider having your mail forwarded to your new address before you go. This has been another avoided stressor for us!
What to Pack + How to Pack for a Temporary Move
This really depends on how many cars you take + if you’re planning on taking a small U-haul. We were able to take two cars so we had what we thought was a decent amount of space. Lol we were packed to the brim, guys. And Kevin even has a truck. So I highly recommend considering a small U-haul you can pull behind if possible.
How to Pack
I highly recommend getting several different sizes of clear tubs with locking lids to pack up your things. I feel like they’re better than boxes because you can reuse them, use them for storage, and they protect better than cardboard boxes. They also make it easier to stack things on when packing up the car. Other great organizational pieces that you can use in your apartment include small baskets and containers for your pantry and bathroom storage. You really don’t know how much space you’ll have for storage until you get to your apartment.
Ok, my saving grace when it came to packing my clothes were ZIPLOC SPACE BAGS. Guys, these things made such a difference. You’re probably going to be packing for two seasons and your suitcases will fill up fast. So if you take anything away from this post, let it be BUY THE ZIPLOC SPACE BAGS. They are reusable and super easy to use!
Pro Tip #5: If you decide the space bags aren’t worth it, roll up your clothes in your suitcase. It will create more space and your clothes will end up less wrinkled.
What to Pack
Besides your clothes and toiletries, there are a lot of things you’ll need to take with you that you probably wouldn’t think of. While the relocation company will provide most of what you need, they may not be the best quality. Trust me when I say you’ll miss your stuff. I recommend the Noah’s ark method: pack in twos haha. If you get there and you realize you forgot some of the essentials, I highly recommend ordering from places like Amazon Prime or Brandless, where you can get kitchen and household essentials for $10 or less!
For the Kitchen
- *Pots, pans, and cookie sheets: This is something I really regret not bringing because we cook all the time. The ones the relocation company left are terrible, so I will be purchasing a new one soon. I would pack one pot and one skillet that you use regularly, along with a cookie sheet.
- Kitchen utensils: I brought a couple of my go-to cooking utensils like a good silicone spatula and my avocado masher.
- Spices: This might seem silly, but if you cook a lot, you will need spices and they can get pretty expensive. Plus you won’t want to take them home and have multiples later.
- Keurig or Nespresso Machine: You will most likely be given a regular coffee pot, but if you’re spoiled like we are you’ll probably miss your single-cup coffee maker. We ended up bringing my little Dolce Gusto coffee maker that I used in college since it is a little bit smaller than the Keurig. (Plus I think it makes better coffee than the Keurig.)
For the Living Space
- Blankets: Pack a couple of your favorite cozy throws to make your place feel home-y.
- Candles: This may not be totally necessary, but if you love candles, I recommend taking a couple of your favorites with you. For me, they make the apartment feel cozier and more like home.
- Game console: The xbox was a non negotiable haha. We use it to watch Netflix and of course, Kevin likes to come home and veg out on Fortnite [eye rolllll] after a stressful day.
- Photos: This is another good way to make your apartment feel more like home.
Bed & Bath
- 2-4 sets of towels
- 2 sets of your favorite sheets
- Your own pillows
- Organizing bins for your drawers
- *Bath mats
- *A small hand vacuum or a Roomba: We were provided a vacuum but if you have dogs, you will miss your Roomba.
- Your favorite cleaning products: You can buy alot of this once you get there, but if you have a go-to cleaner like I do (Thieves!) you’ll want to take that with you.
- Computer: If you’re like me and spend a lot of time on your computer, you won’t want to forget this one!
- Important documents: Don’t leave behind things like insurance info, birth certificates, passports, and social security cards! Go buy a small lock box that you can store these things in and take with you.
- A few of your favorite movies and books
- Dog bed, toys, shampoos, and cleaning tools: We would be in serious trouble without our Chom Chom roller (best $25 I’ve ever spent) and Furminator! These things keeps our couches dog-hair-free.
- A handheld steamer: You will probably be provided with an iron and ironing board, but I personally prefer to use a steamer because they’re much easier.
- Travel coffee mugs
*indicates what I didn’t pack but wish I had!
What Not To Pack
AKA things that will be provided for you or that you can buy when you get there!
- Most cleaning products
- Garbage cans
- Pot holders and dish towels
- Food storage containers
- Hangers: these take up too much space when packing and they’re way cheap to buy at Target or Wal-Mart!
Shop Organization, Packing, and Household
Once You Get There
Just remember you’re moving to a new place and it’s going to take some getting used to. You might feel unsettled and stressed for a while, but that’s ok! Get out and learn your surroundings, and try to make friends in your apartment complex if you feel comfortable doing so. Taking some of your personal items and things that you use everyday will definitely help you get settled, so don’t underestimate or under pack personal items. You’d be amazed at what a difference your favorite set of bed sheets can make!
I hope you found this post helpful, and I’ll definitely add more to this list as I think of other things!
About The Outfit
This top is the softest thing ever and it’s super oversized, which I love. I love this top for spring because you can do so much with it. Wear it unbuttoned over a tank with your favorite shorts or tie it up over your favorite summer dress! It’s from American Eagle and I’m wearing a size Small! I’ve paired it with my favorite mom jeans, once again. I just love the fit and the was of these for spring and summer. Wearing a size 6 Short. These heels are my favorite go-to spring shoe because they are so cute with a casual look like this one, but you can also dress them up! Not to mention, the heel is extra comfy and easy to walk in!
As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read my post, especially since it was pretty long. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!