We once knew a family whose pet turtle, terrarium and all, was accidentally packed by the moving company. I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say the poor animal didn’t survive being crated in that fashion.
While I hope you don’t have a moving horror story like that, I think most military families can share stories of items being packed that shouldn’t have during a PCS or military relocation.
Our family has discovered some interesting things over the years when it’s come time to unpack boxes: efficiently packed once-wet-but-now-moldy dishrags, full kitchen trash cans, and even a broken bottle of hot sauce in a brand we’ve never used (still scratching my head over that one). I once came upon a Milky Way candy bar with one giant bite out of it, hastily shoved down the side of a box. (Such a waste!)
While it’s impossible to be everywhere on moving day, there are some things you can do to ensure that the items you want packed are and things that shouldn’t be aren’t.
Consider these tips for organizing before the packers arrive:
- Remove batteries from electronics.
- Empty your gym locker and bring your belongings home.
- Ask for items to be returned that were loaned to family and friends.
- Find a new home for your potted plants.
- If you have a small animal such as a turtle or hamster that you’re not able to bring on this move, find it a new owner well before moving day.
- Collect various owner's manuals and put them all in one large Ziploc bag.
- Return library books and other materials on loan.
- Move professional items (“pro gear”) into one area, clearly identified. Don’t forget that military spouses may be eligible for allotted pro gear, too. (Up to 500 lbs of items needed for employment or community support activities. These items must be declared at origin.)
- Use zip ties to wrap cords of electronics. Tape matching cords to items. Keep remotes with items, batteries removed.
- Scrub clean and dry out any trash cans or recycling bins you plan to move.
- Check under beds and furniture for stray items.
Move items to the space you’ve identified as the “do not pack” area:
- Remotes, cable boxes, modems, and routers from your local cable provider
- Suitcases with clothes and toiletries
- Prescription drugs
- High value jewelry
- Wallet or purse
- Cell phones, laptops, and other electronics
- Trashcans or bins you don’t plan to move
- Supplies needed for cleaning before departure, wet cloths and towels
- Dirty laundry
Consider these tips a starting point to creating your own list. While you can't foresee every possibility, some pre-planning may keep you from unwanted surprises on the other end!