Step 3- 6 Vital Keys For A Successful Military Relocation (Sponsored)
[“Military Spouse Basic Training” Series]
Welcome to Step 3 in the “Military Spouse Basic Training” series! Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing about the basics of military life. It’s an overview to help you begin your military spouse journey with a handle on this crazy life. It will also give you some extra tips even if you’re not a new spouse. (If you missed the first steps, you can find them here)
Today we’ll discuss 6 VITAL keys for a successful military location… let’s dive in!
1- Plan ahead and get organized.
I look at it this way: The less crap I have, and the more I get rid of before the move, the less boxes I’ll have to unpack. After the move, when you just want to relax on the couch but that pile of boxes is frowning down on you… you’ll be really glad you purged!
Before this last move, I made it my goal to go through every drawer, bin, and random space to see what I could get rid of. I didn’t quite reach my goal, but I got a solid chunk of the house organized. It has been helping a ton on this end of the move: Bins can go right into the attic, and my main issue now is just figuring out how to make my new spaces work for me.
Being organized brought my stress level WAY down (which is huge for me, because I deal with anxiety). I have a lot to do but it’s much more streamlined, and there’s less of it. Heather for the win LOL! #ftw
Here are a few extra tips if you need some organizational help: 5 “Must-Do’s” Before The Packers Come
2- Remember What Matters
Being ready physically is one thing, but it’s hard to be ready emotionally for such a big transition. Having all of your life put into boxes and sent off on a truck can be incredibly stressful!
However, that’s the best time to take a deep breath and remember that your “LIFE” is not really on that truck. What’s on the truck is just STUFF. Look, I know that’s easier said than done, and I’ve had some moments of anxiety as the truck pulled away too. Or when they couldn’t get the truck closed because of all our junk, and I figured everything would arrive broken and smashed. (Only a couple things broke lol)
But when it all comes down, your life is what’s alive; it’s not your possessions. Your spouse, your kids, your pets. They matter more than all that other stuff. So when a lazy packer (you might get one) throws your prize possessions into a box with a terrible pack job, and it’s too late to fix it… it’s time for your military spouse gumption to kick in and remind you to focus on what really matters. It will all be ok in the end!
3- Finding New Digs
When you’re searching for a place to live, you have the basic options of on-base or off-base. We have always lived off-base, but I’ve heard great things about living on a military facility. We were planning to move on base this summer, up until the last minute when we found the perfect spot out in town. Since we were still on the waiting list for military housing (the list is loooong because the on-base neighborhood through Lincoln Military Housing is incredibly popular), the timing worked better for us to move out in town.
If base housing is on your mind, be sure to apply for it within 30 days of checking in to the new command. You can be in touch with the housing office before you arrive (highly recommended), but the 30 day window has an advantage: If there is a wait list (of a few months), and you have to live elsewhere until a home opens up, you may be eligible for the military paying to move you onto base.
You’ll have to contact the housing office at your particular base to get details on how it works there. As you can imagine, having the military move you from your temporary rental could save you quite a bit of money, so check it out even if it’s just as a plan B.
I will add, too, that even though we didn’t end up living on base, I had a very positive experience working with Lincoln Military Housing. I had a ton of questions and they were so gracious and cheerful when answering them all. If you have any questions for them, give ’em a call or check out their website here: Lincoln Military Housing
If you want to move out in town, be sure to check websites like Military By Owner and AHRN. They have a ton of home listings and you can filter by price, area, and pretty much any feature. I’ve had the best luck with Miltary by Owner. You can also check local real estate websites, because even if you’re not buying, they’ll often have rental listings too. Don’t forget to factor in utilities to the BAH amount so you know what price range to look for.
4- Heading To Your New Duty Station
The trip across country can be a lot of fun… and a lot of misery… sometimes all wrapped up in one. We’ve done it with a 10-week-old puppy who had diarrhea in the middle of the night, in a hotel room… we’ve moved with a crying, tired-of-the-carseat 14 month old, ALL the way from the west coast to the east coast. We’ve had our drive snowed out and had to take an entire day detour, missing some time we’d planned to spend with family. Once we sold both our cars and flew from Florida to Washington, checking 10 bags.
On the more exciting side, we’ve seen Mount Rushmore, Las Vegas and Hoover Dam, went sapphire mining in Montana, stayed with family and friends in the mid-west, seen jaw-dropping mountain views, and enjoyed lots of togetherness!
All that said… anything can happen! And you just have to embrace it and prepare as much as possible with:
- water and juice in the cooler
- toys for the kids
- books or audio books
- mp3 playlists- download some new music to make things interesting.
- jot down a list of topics to discus for fun with your spouse
- play games like I Spy or the License Plate Game
- plan any national parks or sights you want to see
- plan your route and how long you want to spend on the road each day. Keep in mind that if Google Maps says 8 hours, that doesn’t factor in potty breaks and meal stops.
- Remember that emotions get frayed and we can all get a bit cranky after long hard days of moving. Try to have grace with each other and speak kindly to each other.
- If you get irritated, deal with it right away. That’s a lot of hours to spend next to someone you’re mad at.
5- Unpacking The House
You’ve arrived! Now, where’s your stuff??? Sometimes you get lucky and your truck arrives right away to unload in your new home (if you have one rented already). Other times, you’re stuck in temporary situations. We’ve slept on an airbed for a few days more than once.
When your household goods arrive, I recommend having the movers unpack as much of it as you’re willing to let them. Everyone has their own comfort factor, and you may have to use the first few moves to experiment. But after unpacking it all myself, and another time having them unpack it, I much prefer having them get all those boxes and packing paper out of there right away.
The movers are contracted to unpack everything, so don’t be afraid to ask (or tell) them to do it. I usually have them do the kitchen, all clothes, and anything else they can get done by the end of the day. I start putting plates etc into kitchen cupboards right away to have a usable cooking area as soon as possible. Be sure to keep track of anything that’s broken so you can make a claim.
6- Making New Friends
One of the hardest things about military life is leaving great friends, and starting over with trying to make new ones.
Many spouses feel isolated after a move, not knowing how or where to reach out to meet people. I know I’ve felt lonely many times during this military life, especially during a deployment that came right after a move. But even when hubby is around, we still have the need for girl time!
Begin making new friends with:
- Does your command have a spouses group or FRG?
- Neighborhood moms groups
- Local exercise/running groups
- Dog Parks- I first got to know one of my best Navy spouse friends on a dog park date =)
- Volunteering, or getting a job (which is a huge challenge sometimes!)
- Church Bible studies or MOPS
- Special interest groups– could be literally anything from book clubs, knitting, mountain biking, fashion, home decor etc.
- Facebook groups from your area may have activity groups
- Look for other other commands’ facebook pages if your spouse’s command doesn’t
Follow these 6 keys and you’ll be on your way to a successful military relocation!
Now you’re ready for Step 4- 4 Ways To Survive Military Life With Power From Above
This post is Sponsored by the wonderful folks at Lincoln Military Housing. In sponsored posts, I always share my honest personal opinions and thoughts.