This is sponsored content from BlogHer and Olay.

As you know, my husband is in the Navy and we have moved a lot. A LOT. And we’re moving again in January (not far, just to base, but still…), this move will be our 5th move in 4 years. And I’ve learned a few things about how to stay sane before a PCS or other military move. (For non-military folks, PCS means “Permanent Change of Station” which is ridiculously funny since there’s nothing permanent about it. It just means another move.)


  1. Before you have orders, allow yourself to look at the possibilities. If you might end up in Washington state or might end up in Jacksonville, Florida… feel free to check out real estate listings, craigslist, etc. It’s fun. It’s like a game. It’ll give you something to do to feel like you’re preparing when there’s really no way TO prepare. Just don’t get too worked up about whatever you find – don’t go signing rental contracts, buying houses, or applying for jobs yet.
  2. Another great way to pass the time while waiting is to declutter. That stack of magazines you’ve been meaning to read for the past year? Recycle! The coupons you clipped but haven’t used? Recycle! Clothes you haven’t worn since your last PCS? Donate!
  3. Keep living your life. Even if you know you’re moving soon, if you don’t have orders yet you’re not in the thick of it. Don’t let yourself be consumed by #1 and #2. Keep doing crafts, playing games, going for family walks, and baking special treats. Whatever you like doing, continue doing it.
  4. When packing up your house, label boxes by room. Instead of putting all of your books in the same boxes, if you have some you keep in the office, and others in the living room, keep them with the correct room’s stuff. It will make unpacking much easier.
  5. Keep everything organized. Every box should make sense. Don’t pack your fridge magnets with your throw pillows.
  6. BUT everyone has some stuff that doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere else. Allow yourself ONE “miscellaneous” box. JUST one.
  7. Set aside some things that you’ll need at the last minute before your move and that you’ll want first-thing when you get to your new home. This could include cleaning supplies, your favorite brand of toilet paper (don’t judge me for having a favorite!), bubble bath, a gripping novel to read, your guitar… or anything that makes you feel more comfortable.
  8. Don’t be afraid to outsource. If you’re doing a DITY move (or privately procured move) and you have a lot on your plate, don’t worry about cooking dinner – go out to eat. Or if you are moving quickly, hire someone to clean your house for the move-out inspection and instead go hang out with some friends you’ll miss. And if you’ll be driving cross-country, instead of driving in separate cars, spend a little bit of money to ship one of the cars so you can travel with your significant other, which makes the trip a lot more pleasant.

If you’re familiar with PCSing or moving, what tips do you have for staying sane before you get to your new home? If you haven’t moved, what questions do you have about the process?

Leave your answer for a chance to win a $100 Visa card! (CLOSED)

233 Comments on How to Keep From Going Crazy before a PCS

  1. aira says:

    organizing is a key to success and other than that it making you stable.

  2. joeyalberto says:

    I think it’s all in the state of the mind. If you program yourself that it is hassle free then you can do the organizing on a smooth way.

  3. Girly says:

    Changing situation (PCS) is always unpleasant. Leaving our life, habits and especially friends is pretty stressful. I think, though that trying to adjust our brains is always helping – after all this is one marvelous opportunity for better life.

  4. quincy says:

    I moved 2times this year, but not too far, but I wish I read this before moving because when I unpack all of my things it went out like a mess, so stressful! I hope we don’t move this year, but at least I know what to do. | 😛

  5. cecilmapi says:

    Before we move to our new house, I don’t which one to pack first and how to organize them. Until my son recommend me to look for it on the net. Well, it was not a very easy job, but I manage to place them in a box and labelled them well so the truckman would know which way to place them when we arrive at our new house on the other state.

  6. Crystel says:


    Thanks for the input. It would be more of a hassle to move with all of the pets but I don’t feel right about giving them up.

  7. Crystel says:

    Thanks for the input. It would be more of a hassle to move with all of the pets but I don’t feel right about giving them up.

  8. andreimerk says:

    As you’ve describe your constant move, I feel so tired for you. Honest! it’s a very tiresome job, packing and unpacking. At least you learned something from it and that is being an organize of putting things off for another new house.

  9. jay says:

    thanks for the post, i really enjoyed reading through your post.. and i think i’ll apply some of your tips (not all – complicated) thanks!

  10. Kathy says:

    Well thanks a lot for this. We actually move every two years. Looks we both cant stay in one place for a long time

  11. ada says:

    Hey! Thanks for the tips and advice, I moved 2times this year, but not too far, but I wish I read this before moving because when I unpack all of my things it went out like a mess, so stressful! I hope we don’t move this year, but at least I know what to do.

  12. Lauren says:

    What did you do about pets? My husband is in civil service so if we relocated we couldn’t move on base. How do you find places to live that allow pets. We have 2 dogs and a cat. Any information would be great, thanks!

    • Joyful Abode says:

      You pretty much have to call and see if anyone has places for rent that allows that many pets… base rules are usually 2 “walking” animals (cats/dogs). A LOT of places won’t rent if you have pets, or charge an extra fee, or have a pet deposit requirement.
      But some do – you just have to look, search, ask. Some places are negotiable…

      Or buy.

      • Lauren says:

        Thanks for the input. It would be more of a hassle to move with all of the pets but I don’t feel right about giving them up. I’ve got some research to do.


  13. rebecca says:

    I am older than dirt not military but have moved dozens of times and your suggestions are great. As a rule I like to pack clothes and towels in garbage bags as the are easier to empty and get rid of. The one misc. box is a must.

  14. Cathy W says:

    Pray! And get rid of as much “stuff” as possible beforehand.
    cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

  15. Jean D. says:

    I moved last year after living in the same home for twenty-three years. One tip that worked well for me: I labeled each box on each side and on the top. That way it made it really easy to determine where the box went and what it contained.

    Thanks for a great giveaway!

  16. Charity S. says:

    I had to pcs to Korea, and it was just overwhelming. I would make a list of things to do.

  17. Jay F. says:

    I remember our last move. The best thing we did was to throw out a lot of junk for weeks before the move – it made packing much easier, and we really knew what stuff we had.

  18. Joanne Schultz says:

    I have moved once as an adult. I had a friend help me move. When I was packing, I started out so well, but my last few boxes I couldn’t figure out how to label so I labeled them as miscellaneous! So I laughed when I read that you shouldn’t have more than one miscellaneous box! But you are right that one should limit oneself to just one! I only had a one-bedroom apartment and had only been there for a year, but one can accumulate quite a bit in that time!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. Shannon says:

    I don’t move much but I’d have to pack well and label everything

  20. lisa says:

    I find that organization is key to sanity.

  21. mistysunrise says:

    I have learned to pack very early in the move, and pack tightly, so nothing gets broken

    itsjustme62613 at

  22. Sand says:

    Label boxes and number them as well. That way you know what to unpack first and what can be opened later.

  23. Becky says:

    My thought for staying sane during a PCS is look up on facebook and see if you have friends that are already in that area…and think about the fun stuff that you can do..(like get rid of more of the hubs stuff,…)

  24. Anne says:

    I still haven’t recovered from our last move, 3 years agon. My best tip is you can’t throw out too much.

  25. Amy Delong says:

    the best tip keep things labeled and organized!

  26. Heather W says:

    I found that reaching out to the pta or local daycares is a great way to find babysitters and kid friendly locations
    Lovefool827 (at) yahoo (dotcom)

  27. Nicole says:

    We have moved several times in the last several years. I like to mark each box with the name of the room that they go to, so it makes it so much easier to organize things when we get to the new place. I always put essentials like toilet paper in a box marked essentials as well as at the top of the box, since these are the things we will need right away and you don’t want to have to search for them.
    nbalogh522 at gmail dot com

  28. Bonnie P says:

    Mark each box as to the room it should go too. All kitchen items, should be marked kitchen

  29. Erica Best says:

    i say pack and head of time and try not to do anything but move on moving day it helps alot .

  30. Lori Hart says:

    My tip is to color code your boxes. I use bright post it notes and paste them to the side of the box. Each color goes to a different room. Makes it really easy to load them into the new place

  31. Alicia J. says:

    I have moved 3 times in my life. I’ve always gotten as much information about the new area that I can find. Find locations of things such as schools,supermarkets,churches and such.

  32. angie says:

    I have never dealt with PCS moving as no one in my family was or is in the military. That said, I have been a moving fool throughout my life, especially after getting married! In the first nine years of my marriage, we moved 10 times! I HATED it, but each move was a necessity. The best advice I can give is not to buy until you are SURE you are staying somewhere for at least five years. Its so much easier to pick up and go when you are renting.

  33. scott says:

    no military in my family but my dad was high up in the engineering dept of Union Carbide when I was growing up and we moved every few years…we almost moved to Saudi Arabia! The hardest part as a kid was making new friends, which I really didn’t do well. So my advice would be to try and be outgoing and make new friends easily to avoid being lonely!

  34. Terry C says:

    Does it take you a long time to get adjusted to a new place? I don’t like change and I think it would be extremely hard for me to have to move so much.

    braaisjo at gmail dot com

  35. barbara wright says:

    This may sound like a crazy question, but how do you stand moving all the time? I lived in one house my entire childhood and my kids have lived in THIS house their entire childhood – I can’t imagine uprooting them… or me!

  36. Rosey says:

    Start early! As soon as you know it’s move time, start packing here and there, and labeling the boxes. It makes it so much nicer than having to do it all at the final stretch.

  37. kellye says:

    Take many breaks! Enjoy the fresh air. [email protected]

  38. Terri Grinner says:


  39. Diane Baum says:

    My suggestion is a few days before you actual make a move keep track of what household items you use that day…ie a can opener, toilet paper and then put these items in a special easy to get box in your car.

  40. Marilyn says:

    the only question i have is why isn’t it possible to have someone pack and unpack everything for you-where I live?

    jdmimi at gmail dot com

  41. Laura Benjamin says:

    We have PCS’ed more times than I can count. The one thing I do is to make it as less stressful as possible. I like to pack our rooms myself as much as possible. I put the name of the room the box came from so when they arrive at our new station, I can put them in the right rooms and unpack at a slower pace.

  42. Justine says:

    Moving is never fun but make sure you keep those few essential items near so when you get there you aren’t running around looking for some toilet paper or dishes or pet food! You get the idea 😀

  43. Emma Peel says:

    I think if you stay organized and everything in its place(containers, boxes, bags, etc) moving should be good and unpacking easy if things are labeled and packed properly and securely and safely like your breakables and valuables

  44. Sarah L says:

    I’ve lived in my house for 27 years now so I would have no idea. Long ago and far away I was in the Air Force for eight years and was never in once place longer than a year (some only 6 months). I was much younger and had very little stuff so moving was easy. Thanks for the contest.

  45. Betty C says:

    It’s been many years since I’ve experienced a PCS. (retired)
    I always looked at it as an adventure. We were going to a new place and would add new friends. We usually kept things fairly decluttered so that wasn’t a problem. The only thing that was somewhat difficult was preparing meals after everything was packed and removed. So we solved that with a couple of electric appliances that we could carry with us when we actually moved.

  46. Michelle Tucker says:

    The biggest helping tip I had during our recent move is don’t buy anything that you “think” you need until you get everything set up. You might find you had more than you thought you did.

    michedt (at) gmail (dotcom)

  47. Tabathia B says:

    I think a little preplanning would involve starting to box up part of each room a week in advance and keep only the necessities out
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  48. Liz says:

    I wish I had some good tips–I always lose my mind when I have to move! I guess one thing I should learn to do is to allow way more time than I think necessary to pack and prepare for the move!

  49. Janna Johnson says:

    Label your boxes with the name, items, and were they are going in your hosue!

  50. Steph says:

    I have moved, outside the military, and my one tip is to do two cycles of pitch/recycle/donate! if i don’t, i always find myself unpacking things i don’t need/want any longer.

  51. Geoff K says:

    I haven’t yet had to move, but I’m wondering how difficult the process is to register your change of address with the post office, UPS, FedEx, utility companies, etc., and if there are any tips to streamline that process!

  52. jolene says:

    make sure you’re organized, it makes moving so much easier!

  53. shel says:

    I’m looking forward to moving for the first time in 25 years, hopefully soon. I’m already overwhelmed with how much we’ve accumulated over the years and I’m not sure which route would be better..packing and moving it ourselves or hiring someone to do it for us. With 25 years of stuff, I’m sure I have tons I need to purge too. Maybe a garage sale is in order?

  54. Bryanna P. says:

    Awesome blog and thanks for the giveaway!
    Would love, love, LOVE to win this!
    Happy holidays!

  55. Suzanne K says:

    I’ve only moved to college (not much ‘stuff’ involved there) and then to an apartment (still not too much stuff), and then to a house. Apt to house was probably the most, but still not bad, and since it was in the same city, we scoped everything out, knew what we were getting into, and just got some friends to help move.

    How on earth do you even begin to figure out ‘where’ you are going to live when it’s far away and you haven’t seen it? Do you get to go scope it out and find a place before you move? I’m betting, military and all, probably not. Ouch!

  56. Emily N. says:

    I’ve only moved once, across town but I’m still missing stuff that I know I had before the move. So make sure you get people to help that you completely trust or do it yourself.

  57. Stacy says:

    I haven’t moved in 11 years but I remember that unpacking our kids rooms first (and getting them involved in the process) really helped get them settled.

  58. Deborah Wellenstein says:

    The last time we moved was 23 years ago-I rmemeber we had a moving company pack and move us-we smoked at the time, and the packers packed an ashtray full of cigarette butts! So communicate with the people who pack up your stuff!

    dwellenstein at cox dot net

  59. Dee says:

    I have not moved yet and was wondering how you can budget for a big move without breaking bank! 🙂

  60. Crystal F says:

    I’ve moved a couple of times and my big advice is to have someone help you pack. It really helps to have family or friends come over and help you get all packed up. Also see if you can take the kiddos to a babysitter if possible. It helps not having them under your feet. Thank you!

  61. Breanne says:

    My husband’s in the Navy too but I’ve only moved once so far. It was to Hawaii though so it was crazy! They didn’t pay for it either to make it even worse :/ Our house is still quite empty.

  62. Mandala says:

    We moved to Alaska last year and we decided to bring essentials. Although I packed my things in boxes, I normally put the small stuffs in big ziplock bags with labels grouped according to their purpose or function – this way I dont have to rummage through the entire box to try to find that small item.
    mandalarctic at gmail dot com

  63. Teegan Briggs says:

    As a former(…well I guess I still kind of am, my husband just switched to reserves instead of AD…and as a result is now deployed in Afghanistan) military wife, I’ve been through this plenty too!

    – My tip would be to not let yourself get stressed out about it. The great thing about military moves is that you get movers to come over and do all of the work for you, including packing the boxes. All you’ll need to do is unpack when you get there.

    – If you’re not going far (or even if you are, I guess, and don’t mind some extra stress…) the military will PAY YOU to move yourself.

    – If you’re going the professional mover route…do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave out any personal naughty bedroom supplies. Make sure they’re stowed safely away in your vehicle. I learned my lesson on this a few moves back when I arrived at my new location and realized that the movers had lovingly packed my intimate body creams and lovemaking aids.

  64. Brandy Byrne says:



  65. Brandy Byrne says:

    We haven’t moved in years and may not for years to come. We love our current home and plan on staying here for at least 10 more years. My question would be: Do you have a huge yard sale/donate party BEFORE you attempt to pack up everything to move OR do you wait until you get to your new house? I’ve always thought I wouldn’t want my old stuff in my new house but then again I dunno…..

  66. Lewis F says:

    Before moving keep all important papers in one place and pack necessary meds in one bag that you hand carry when you move.

  67. heatherzilla says:

    My best advice is to have the military move the furniture and things that you do not use everyday, but if possible take the essentials with you. With our first PCS, we arrived at the new duty station about a month before our household goods. Of course, we had sent all of our dishes, cookware, bed linens — everything with the military movers. We ended up buying a lot of duplicates with that move.

  68. Ellie W says:

    Always pack your everyday necessities where you can find them easily. And carry them in your vehicle, not the moving truck.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    eswright18 at gmail dot com

  69. LAMusing says:

    Stay sane by ordering take out food for a few days – don’t bother with cooking!

  70. Norma says:

    Lable your boxes really clearly – it’s crazy making digging around for an item before you’re fully unpacked

  71. tallcapp says:

    I unpack the kitchen, bathroom and set up the beds and then take my sweet time doing the rest. I stay unstressed like this.

  72. Susan E. says:

    For our first PCS move, we did a DITY move. What a nightmare. . . an 18 hour trip driving a 20-ft Uhaul and towing our car, with the two of us and our dogs in the cab, through rain, wind and fog in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Here’s a good tip: Even with a piano dolly, it’s never a good idea for 2 people to try to move a full-size piano by themselves through a muddy yard. What were we thinking, lol? How hubby and I weren’t seriously injured I do not know, although the piano did sustain a few scratches.

    For subsequent moves, we let the military move us and it was so much better.

    1) Once you know where you’re going, contact the Family Service Center on base. (That’s what the USMC called it when we were in, other branches may call it something else). They can give you tons of information and have lots of resources available.
    2)If a moving company is moving you, you should transport some things yourself because many times it’s several days or longer before your shipment arrives. We rented a small Uhaul trailer and took things like a small TV, microwave, blow-up camping bed, computer, etc. plus things that could not be replaced: mementos, keepsakes, photos, etc.
    3)Not always easy to do, but maintain a sense of humor!

    I loved military life. Hubby has been a civilian now for 9 years and I still miss it sometimes.

  73. Kelly says:

    The best thing is to hire movers for the heavy stuff. Let them take the furniture and other big items, leaving plenty of room (and energy) for you to take care of the smaller stuff!

  74. shawna says:

    Hire a reputable moving company..I’ve moved 9 times in the last 7 years and having someone pack and unload is a huge saver.

  75. Jamie says:

    Plan something fun to do one day the week you arrive in your new city to just get out of the house and explore the new area!

  76. PauleyD says:

    I have never PCS’d, but I have moved a few times in my life. The worst mistake I made was not labeling boxes the first time I moved. I suggest making sure everything is labeled.

  77. Steph A says:

    We just moved and I tried to get little things done, like sorting through old stuff, as I had time so that I wasn’t just stuck doing everything at once which can be stressful.

  78. ConiSu says:

    Thankfully I’ve only had to move a couple of times in my life, it’s so stressful! My best advice is to start packing as soon as possible and keep a list of thing to do to keep on track.

  79. nanjhall says:

    I just moved last month for the first time in fourteen years and I had forgotten how much there was to do. My tip is to such moving companies on line and read their website for info. I found a couple that had really complete “to do lists” that helped me with things I had completely forgot to do.

  80. Kim H. says:

    I have no experience with PCS’g. I would say to those who have a choice of moving: don’t. It is such a hassle. My heart goes out to those families that do have to move often. I’d say keep organized.

  81. Kari says:

    We have only moved a couple of times since I’ve been married. It was always very stressful!

  82. Danielle B. says:

    get a big sharpie and label the boxes clearly! Also, pack a box of the things you will need in the first week: basic plates/utensils, extra blankets, favorite stuffed animal. nothing worse than ripping through 100 boxes to find one thing you use daily!

  83. Chrysa says:

    My tip is to have one box of must-haves of things you will want the first day you move in no mater what – soap, towels, tp, paper towels, cups for water, etc.

  84. Auriette says:

    My worst experience with military movers was when someone picked up my mouse cage accidentally and one of the mice hurt herself and died. My mom also had some heirloom dishes lost or broken. The lesson from all this: Anything that’s really important or fragile, pack it yourself. Have a separate area (maybe clear one side of the living room or a closet) and anything that you’ll be transporting yourself – put it there out of reach of movers who really don’t care about your stuff.

  85. Pauline M says:

    When my job moved us, they sent us boxes beforehand which we used to pack all our stuff, they hired a company to grab it all, pack it in the truck and haul it to our new state. It was a relatively easy move which I really don’t want to repeat because no matter how easy, it’s still very stressful!

  86. Daniel M says:

    yep mark the boxes and be sure they’re taped closed securely

  87. Aisling says:

    The biggest must-do is to mark boxes clearly, at minimum by room, but a brief description of the contents (at least things like “bedding”, “towels”, “open first – toiletries”) is really helpful when trying to get organized after moving in. mcgillrmcgill(at)charter(dot)net

  88. latisha depoortere says:

    We moved alot and helps if you mark boxes to what room and unpack one room at a time! Do not just unpack everything at once do it one box at a time!
    [email protected]

  89. Jill H says:

    Start planning early and be sure to label all boxes well.

  90. Katie R. says:

    My best tip is to start packing early and to stay organized. It also helps a lot to hire movers.

  91. Phyllis Jenkins says:

    Prayer helps. Decide to be happy. Watch the movie, “Moving”.

  92. Erica C. says:

    Allow extra time in your schedule…something always happens that you don’t expect…box breaks, you hit traffic…etc, etc.

  93. julieh says:

    I would say start planning and packing early, stay as organized as possible, and use as much outside help as you can afford.

  94. susitravl says:

    Does the money you get from the military for moving ever come close to the actual cost of the move?

    • Joyful Abode says:

      yes, absolutely.
      You can either get the military to move you – and they send people to pack everything up, move it, and unpack (they just take the boxes away, and you put everything away of course, but they remove their trash which is nice)…

      Or you can do everything yourself, and basically they’ll pay you back for something like 85% of what they would’ve paid movers to do it for you – so they save money, and you can often come out ahead. We did this last time we moved, and it covered all of our costs (Even shipping a car) and we had some “left over”.

      There’s also grey area in the middle, where you move some of your things and let the military move some of your things…

  95. Mary M says:

    I have moved many, many times in my 71 years and I agree, the only way to survive it is to mark all your boxes with the room on it. That way you are not running from room to room.
    [email protected]

  96. I just say that it is always a great idea to keep lists of things to do so you don’t forget all the millions of details as well as stay positive and look at what new possibilities will await in the new place!

    gina.m.maddox AT

  97. Georgia says:

    Moving, all I can say is NIGHTMARE! That’s it, don’t like all the packing and carrying boxes at all. Happy Holidays!

    gmissycat at yahoo. com

  98. Debra F says:

    I don’t know exactly how the military works and if they give you any stipend for moving expenses, but when I moved, I budgeted for moving men and cleaning people. I’m not well off, but this was the best money I ever spent. I hear they even have people who will come and pack your house up for your… time I move, I’m looking into that too.

  99. Amber Gi says:

    completed alternate entry in rules
    tattgiff at centurytel dot net

  100. Amber Gi says:

    we aren’t a military family but we racked up 15 moves in 20 years!
    my best tip?
    pack a comforts box.
    tea, fave mug, slippers , fave book, etc.
    your first day when nothing is unpacked , it is so nice to have your comfort items handy so you can have some down time, relax and recharge before you get down to business and put your life back together.
    tattgiff at centurytel dot net

  101. Debbie C says:

    Instead of emptying drawers and packing the contents, I took them out of the chest, or whatever and put a folded towel over the contents and duct taped around the drawer to hold everything in. When moved in, all I had to do was remove the tape and towel and put the drawer back in.


  102. Paula Caudill says:

    I always tried to start with one room at a time, it made moving a lot easier for me.

  103. ANGEL JACKLYN says:

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  104. ANGEL JACKLYN says:


  105. Jeff says:

    Make sure you either clean the carpets or put new carpet in before you move.

  106. Happi Shopr says:

    we moved frequently growing up; it was made easier by making sure all boxes were labeled correctly. We always unpacked our bathroom(s) and kitchen first. Everything seemed to get set up quicker once that was done.

  107. Kirsten Anderson says:

    Make lists, and stick to them, allowing plenty of time.

  108. Christine says:

    My husband is in the military and is in fact deployed right now but we’ve never had to move and won’t because he’s permanently stationed here. I wish you all the best and Happy Holidays to you! Thank you!

  109. karen says:

    When moving, which I’ve done several times throughout my life, the very best approach is to stay well organized.

  110. Marie says:

    Fortunately we have only PCS’d once. We started packing items that we didn’t use like photos and things like that. That helped us get a jump on our packing process. We made sure to label everything we could as far which room the boxes would go in. That seemed to help a ton. We have moved several times just not PCS’d.

  111. Debra Hall says:

    how long did you stay at place

  112. Margie says:

    We don’t move very often, but my husband and I do travel on trips frequently. Whether it’s several hours down the road, or several hours riding a plane across the world, the one thing I need is lists. I need lots of lists to make sure I know that I have everything where it needs to be.

  113. Jeannett says:

    My father was career military and whenever we got ready to move my parents drew up a game plan of what where and when to help.

  114. MelissaO says:

    I miss moving with only a huge backpack (when I moved to Mexico) or with a car full of stuff (when college apartments were furnished). Now I actually fork out the money for a mover to take the heavier pieces of furniture. It’s actually more stressful collecting friends to move the heavy pieces (or watch my still-strong stepfather move a bureau, as I wish he wouldn’t). It’s definitely an extra expense, but makes me feel better.

    wolverina401 at gmail dot com

  115. Patricia Treskovich says:

    follow and tweeted Latest: win less than 5 seconds ago

  116. Patricia Treskovich says:

    never knew off this when I moved 1 1/2 yr ago moving is hard work

  117. Cynthia C says:

    I haven’t moved in decades. I am wondering what I will do with all my unwanted stuff when I finally downsize. I think I’ll get busy now and sell or donate a few things at a time.

  118. Leah says:

    When we move we start packing 2 months before. We label each box and throw away what is not worth carrying miles away!

    leahforlove at aol dot com

  119. Betty A D says:

    Pack at least 3 emergency boxes..of items you cant do without..that will hold yous over for several days. Then label boxes per rooms. Only take items needed and special and give/sale the others. Take a few cleaning products but look to get others when you get there. Try to think ahead for a stress free move.

  120. Sadie Carey says:

    We have moved across country recently and I learned a valuable lesson when we moved. It seems overwhelming moving all the way across the country and you want to get rid of everything to make it easier. Don’t do it. You will regret letting go of a whole bunch of those things. Only let go of the things that you really need to. It is okay to keep some stuff!!

  121. Nadine L says:

    One of the things I learned on my last (and hopefully final) move was as you pack each box, write on a piece of paper each item you put in the box. After you seal the box, tape the list on top of the box. (this usually works best with the clear wide packing tape so it is coverd and less likely to rip. This way when you get into your new place you don’t have to go through all the boxes when you are looking for one specific item, just read the lists until you find what you are looking for and open only that box. this way you can take your time unpacking. Less stressful and gives you time to find the perfect place for each item without rushing

  122. Debbie Bellows says:

    i haven’t moved in 10 years – Hope I don’t need to either!

  123. CATHY TRUMAN says:

    When we moved one of the first thing we did
    was to get rid of all the stuff we never use.
    We label all the boxes.

  124. ohkeeka says:

    We’ve moved a lot over the past few years and the one thing I’ve learned is that it’s never too early to start packing. People always tease me about starting to pack months in advance, but if there are things we don’t use on a daily basis, then why not?

  125. my sister’s husband was in the Navy and she even had an emergency move when they had to evacuate Gitmo. My best advice is learn to roll with the punches, expect the unexpected, and learn as much as you can about your new address before you get there

  126. Mandy W. says:

    Label boxes by room and number and write out a master list of what is in what box. In general terms but it could help out if you need to find something ASAP or end up putting things in storage.

  127. matt k says:

    I’m in the Navy and in my case, I’ve done my best to avoid purchasing furniture or other large items that I will have to repeatedly move.

  128. mickeyfan says:

    We haven’t moved since 1986. As big of a disaster as that was, I do NOT look forward to moving again. 2 days before we were supposed to move, I went to town to get cleaning supplies and paint, came home, hubby and the boys were throwing furniture in horse trailers and literally dumping the contents of my kitchen drawers in boxes. “All the guys were available today, so we just decided to get it done.” And he still can’t see why, 20+ years later I still get mad!!

  129. Elizabeth says:

    Not military, but moved constantly as a kid for my dad’s job, and seem to have a bit of residual nomad in my now that I am an adult. I would recommend spending the pre move time getting as organized as possible and getting rid of your junk- there will be no time for a yard sale during your last weeks, and that time is better spent with friends!

  130. Bacallsmom says:

    I was a military spouse for some years, and one thing I learned was to hang onto BASIC supplies when you PCS. I’m not talking about junk and clutter, I’m talking about things like shower curtains and coffee filters–things you are tempted to toss but will need immediately when you arrive at your new home/duty station.

  131. Tarah says:

    I’ve moved many times. My best tip is to make sure you have one box that has all of the items you’ll need the first night/day you’re in the new place and make sure that gets put in an easily accessible spot! That way you’re not unpacking a million boxes for your toothbrush.

  132. Shae says:

    My tip is to stay caffeinated. I couldn’t move without my Diet Coke!

  133. hminnesota says:

    If I have my kitchen intact, I am generally senile. So I try to pack that last and unpack first.

  134. Shirley Clark says:

    I love Oil of Olay products.

  135. Sarah Hirsch says:

    the thing that made moving the easiest for me was overlapping the dates I moved in and moved out. Having that week with two places allowed me to be much less stressed about getting out of the old place

  136. Dusty B says:

    I tweeted: RE

  137. Dusty B says:

    I learned the hard way to clean your new house before you move a single item there. That way, you don’t have to work around your stuff. It sounds simple, but twice we overlooked this step and it was stressful!

  138. Monique Rizzo says:

    Pack a little each day, clearly label boxes on all sides.Thanks for the chance.
    [email protected]

  139. Patrice says:

    I’m not sure that staying completely sane while preparing for a move is possible, but one thing that helps is to either hold a yard sale or give away items that you aren’t using and know you won’t use in the future. It’s also a time to discard broken items that you never got around to repairing. There is no need to waste the time and space packing up items that you don’t need in your new home.

  140. Heather S says:

    label boxes on top and side and make sure it is clear what is in them to save you time. Also, keep out toilet paper, paper towels and kleenex so you have them at hand immediately and don’t have to go searching for them in the new place.

  141. Sarah says:

    Start packing as soon as possible, and start with the things that are non-essential, like photo albums, holiday decorations, books, etc. Clear out a closet at a time and store the packed boxes in there as you go to keep clutter to a minimum.

  142. EMMA L HORTON says:


  143. T. Lawson says:

    My moving tips are to clearly mark all boxes with what they contain and what room they go in. Also, when packing weed out what things you don’t need so you won’t have a bunch of useless stuff at your new home.

  144. Stephanie V. says:

    ugh! hate moving! start packing early – get rid of as much as possible and label all boxes
    tvollowitz at aol dot com

  145. DebbyM says:

    I know this has been said before, but its the truth, declutter BEFORE the move. I changed jobs and my company paid for the move and hired movers to pack for me and move. Because I was commuting between two cities I didn’t have alot of time to do that, what a mistake. I had to declutter as I was unpacking at my new location and it took twice as long plus I was in a new city and didn’t have as many resources for getting rid of things (at least knowing where to donate items).

    Anyway, all the tips are great…and bless you all that have to do this so frequently!

    Happy Holidays to everyone!

  146. SANDY says:

    crates for storage are your best friend- easy to move

  147. Kathy Scott says:

    My tip is that if you have professional movers, make sure that you walk thru the house after the pack and check all the cabinets. They totally didn’t pack two cabinets of my kitchen and I lost all my small appliances.

  148. cathy miller / rewcath says:

    I’ve never moved as a military person but I’ve moved a few times enough to know that if I move again I’m going on vacation and hiring movers

  149. Kerry says:

    Don’t have many tips – I just know it’s not fun to move! I would agree with the declutter tip the most!

  150. Adrienne Gordon says:

    You just have to assume things will go wrong before/during the move, keep expectations low.

  151. Patricia says:

    I have moved alot and what kept me sane was really labelling the boxes on all sides.

  152. Susan Smith says:

    The last time I moved I had a garge sale and donated a lot of stuff. Less stuff to move.

  153. Susan C. says:

    I put one box or clothes basket aside, filled with clean sheets, blankets, pillows, etc. The first thing I do when the move is done is make the bed. That way, no matter if nothing else gets done, at least there’s a comfy place to sleep that night!

  154. Roxanne Ellis Raymond says:

    Anytime we had a PCS I looked up online to find out what our new city was like and how far away anything was – shopping, fun places to take the kids, unique things in that city to see

  155. Sunshyn V says:

    My question is how do I get my husband to start throwing away the junk he claims ‘might come in useful someday’. When we do move, we’re looking at a HUGE amount of stuff to go through, most of which he’ll probably want to keep.
    chainmail (at) iwon (dot) com

  156. tiffany lane says:

    When moving create 2 piles. Stuff you are taking and stuff that you can get rid of. You will not have the clutter at your new place.

  157. Margaret Smith says:

    My biggest tip is to mark each box clearly with the name of the room it should be put. In addition, make sure to bring along with you any valuable items or anything that you may need the next day or two.
    Thanks so much.

  158. Benny Williams says:

    Some things come to mind: clean as much as you can. Create a “maybe keep” pile that at a later time you’ll go through again. Also expect the unpacking to take much more time than packing. Good luck!

  159. Marilyn Wons says:

    To stay sane before moving, I tried to visualize the new home with everything in its proper place.

  160. Karen says:

    The last time I moved was the first time that we had movers. Since I couldn’t be in control of the packing, I found that educating myself as much as possible about my new community was invaluable. I printed directions from my house to anywhere I could think of — grocery stores, the post office, the recycling center (for boxes), restaurants, etc. Then I filed them in a folder so that I could have easy access to them whenever I needed it!

  161. Kate says:

    These are great tips! My boyfriend just joined the Navy, and I think somewhere down the line I’ll need to know all the ins and outs of moving constantly too 😉

  162. Lora Reynolds says:

    We moved a lot when I was growing up. I think most of all is to let go of those things that you have had packed away and not have worn in a long time. The less you take with you the easier the move and most of the time you will not miss a thing.

    Make sure you label the boxes, you may think you will remember what is in the box, but if you have 12 boxes labeled kitchen you will not be able to find the can opener when you need it!

  163. Lauralynn says:

    We are not a military family and are thankful to have no moving plans in the near future. However, we have recently been cleaning house! With a baby there is so much stuff coming in all the time, I have been getting much better at getting rid of things. If I haven’t used, worn, or thought about it in a year, it’s going out!

    For those who do move often, how do you make connections in your new area? I have been thankful to make many new mom connections over the past few months, I can’t imagine being a young mom and feeling “alone” in a new area.

    • Joyful Abode says:

      Copying and pasting from a comment I left below:
      “I know it’s probably different for everyone, but at this point, basically anywhere we can end up, I probably already have some friends who live there. 🙂 So it’s nice when you have a few people to anchor you right away.

      Other than that, I’m pretty outgoing, and recognize that we are all in a similar situation, so it’s easy to strike up a conversation in the commissary (base grocery store) or anywhere. When we lived on base in Mississippi, I met most of my neighbors by just chatting with people who were hanging out in their yards when I was going for walks.

      I’m used to it, but it is hard. Facebook is awesome for staying in touch though, and we have to remember that the aviation community isn’t huge and we will probably cross paths again in the future.”

      If I were moving often but didn’t have the military connection, or didn’t know anyone where I was going, I’d set out to meet people by going to library story time, la leche league meetings, looking up a local Weston A Price chapter, maybe signing up for a community class, chatting with people in the craft stores… etc. Anything to find people with similar interests, you know?

  164. Nelly says:

    i just moved this week! it was HECTIC!!! and it was raining! i started the move great packed everything by room, but then it got to be so much! i had about five miscellaneous boxes in the end, i am still trying to unpack everything!

    nelly dot barney at yahoo dot com

  165. Jessie C. says:

    One of my tips is definitely pack light. Donate or giveaway large and any usable items before moving.

  166. hannah says:

    what keeps me sane when moving is just planning to eat out so we won’t have to plan meals and we can take a break from moving a couple times a day.

  167. penny says:

    I always pack a suit case as if we’re traveling so when we get to the new house, we can shower (toiletries), relax (books, snacks, laptop etc.), sleep (pajamas/night time meds/advil etc.). Plus I pack 1 box with shower curtain, towels, antibacterial soap, toilet paper, paper towels and everything needed for the next days breakfast (granola and protein bars, bottled water, instant coffee etc.) My suit case and special box really helps me feel sane when I move.

  168. Samantha W says:

    I tweeted about this giveaway, you can find the status update here:!/two_loves_mama/status/17032627919785984

  169. Joanne P. says:

    My biggest question for military families has always been “how do you make friends and bond with other people, when you know you just might be moving away from them soon?” Does that get hard or do you just get used to it over time?

    You are a strong women, I don’t know if I could do it. My brother is a Marine and its not a life I could chose for myself!! But I honor you and your husband for the sacrifices you make!!

    • Joyful Abode says:

      Hey Joanne, I know it’s probably different for everyone, but at this point, basically anywhere we can end up, I probably already have some friends who live there. 🙂 So it’s nice when you have a few people to anchor you right away.

      Other than that, I’m pretty outgoing, and recognize that we are all in a similar situation, so it’s easy to strike up a conversation in the commissary (base grocery store) or anywhere. When we lived on base in Mississippi, I met most of my neighbors by just chatting with people who were hanging out in their yards when I was going for walks.

      I’m used to it, but it is hard. Facebook is awesome for staying in touch though, and we have to remember that the aviation community isn’t huge and we will probably cross paths again in the future.

      • Joanne P. says:

        I can’t imagine doing it so often. I moved from Michigan (where I was born and raised) to Minnesota two and a half years ago for my husbands job and it was one of the hardest things I have had to do. But I am so happy we did it. I’m glad you have a lot of support of others in your same situation.

        The cool thing about this internet too is that you can even make friends from across the country whom you have never even met!! 🙂

  170. Samantha W says:

    When my husband PCS’d shortly after we got married, we didn’t have much, and got rid of a lot. It’s much easier to buy some things new then spend hundreds of dollars to move it.

    The last time we moved, it was when my husband got out of the service. It was a definite help to start really early on and getting rid of things we didn’t need, and we had bought some totes to keep items like sheet sets together before the military sent the packers to the house. We also kept little things we needed in the trunk of our car so they wouldn’t be accidentally packed.

  171. Maria says:

    No judging, I have a favorite also. Great tips if I ever move.

  172. Jean says:

    One thing I’ve learned is that if you need quick clean out of items you’re leaving behind craig’s list is a real help. I put up 3 older TV’s all heavy, all slated to basically be dumped, they were gone within and hour of being listed.

  173. AmyinColo says:

    Make a notebook with plastic sleeves for all our the information you might need to access before, during and immediately after your move. Phone numbers, emergency contacts, maps/directions to your new home, moving company contract, etc.

    • Lori says:

      Our last move was about 5 years ago and the best thing I did for myself was to assign each room a letter and then label the boxes that go to that room with the corresponding letter. I also put a number on each box and kept a notebook with a general list of what was in each box. For example, the kitchen was letter A and box A1 had my pots & pans. This way I just had to stick a piece of paper with a letter on each doorway and the movers didn’t have to ask where the boxes went.

      I also agree with AmyinColo, a notebook with all the important information you need is incredibly helpful. I recently did this for my mother when she moved to Florida by herself for the winter. I gave her a binder with maps, phones numbers, where the closest HomeGoods store was and other important info she might need.

  174. Danyelle says:

    I recommend setting a box or suitcase of things you will want or need the first night and keeping it with you. Put stuff like clean pajamas, toothbrush, toiletries et, clean sheets, baby’s lovies in it.

  175. Mary says:

    Definitely second the “hire movers” tip. It was the best money we spent and we didn’t have to alienate friends and family when we moved for the second time in 6 months. It wasn’t military related, but moving is always tough. I also say de-clutter or get rid of anything that you can.

    For things we don’t use often, I have two questions I ask myself in order to decide keep/throw:
    Is it unique? (like an heirloom vs. a random decorative bowl)
    Is it expensive to replace? (like my Cuisinart food processor vs. generic non-stick pan)

  176. Johnlyn says:

    We have moved a lot in the years that we have been married. We aren’t in the military, but apparently have a hard time staying put.

    The best move happened when we got rid of almost everything that we owned. I took pictures of a lot of things that I wanted to remember, but physically didn’t want to keep.

    I had a hard time parting with my wedding dress, but truly didn’t want to keep it so I found a charitable organization that would sell the dresses and donate the money to fund breast cancer research.

    Bless people with your stuff if you don’t want it anymore!!!

  177. Amber says:

    Stay on top of the people at personal property. After a move overseas to where we are now, we kept calling to find our express move items. They kept giving us the run around. FINALLY we were able to get ahold of a person with a brain only to find out that both our shipments had been waiting 2 weeks for US to set up delivery. Thank you staff at personal property 🙁

    And I think we ALL have a fave toilet paper haha

  178. theresa Timlin says:

    Have a packing party. Supply the beer, pizza and packing supplies and invite your friends to help you fill boxes.

  179. Scooter says:

    Oy, we always get out a suitcase or backpack for each family member (including the dog) right at the beginning of the packing. As we come across them, “precious” things (that we don’t want getting lost in the shuffle) and last-minute personal supplies for the actual move go in there. Important jewelry and that essential teddy bear…and toothbrushes and a change of clothes. That way no binkies get buried at the back of the moving truck (which spells tough times for everyone).

  180. decaturmamaof2 says:

    tweeted at!/dagmarebaugh/status/16868578552717312

    dagmar67 at hotmail dot com

  181. decaturmamaof2 says:

    All your tips are great! I also recommend having disposable cookware/plates/flatware out and ready at your new location so you don’t have to unpack a bunch of boxes to find dishes, etc. before you can cook or eat. Secondly – if possible, make your drive less tedious by picking a fun or scenic route, and treat yourself to a hotel with a good bed on the way (if a multi-day drive)!
    dagmar67 at hotmail com

  182. Mami2jcn says:


  183. Mami2jcn says:

    We’ve moved many times and I always spend quite a bit of time throwing away unwanted items or donating things before we start packing.

  184. Lynn says:

    I have a favorite toilet paper too. 🙂

    One of my biggest tips tacks on to the decluttering bit. Don’t have too much furniture to move, or buy too much heavy furniture. Everything in your house should mean so much to you that you don’t mind taking it along. If you ever go “ugh, I don’t want to move this”, consider getting rid of it. That goes for everything, though.

  185. Anneka says:

    One thing I have learned is let the military do it for you. I just recently moved cross country with just me, 2 kids and a dog while my husband is IA. I was so relieved that I had to do nothing but be there and tend to my children while people packed my stuff. Last time we did a partial dity and I never want to hassle with the paper work ever again!

  186. Holly says:

    Not for everyone but if you are moving someplace with a lot of stairs you should hire movers. Our last move was to a 3rd floor walk-up apartment and I still regret not hiring movers!

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