I have been off for a while, because I’ve had some crazy things going on! First, I am officially doing the countdown for leaving America and going to Germany! Woo hoo! Second, I’ll be discussing today the process that have kept me from blogging: moving out. Tyler and I had the movers come last week and they packed up 95% of our belongings. On top of this, we were running around town to close down bills we had, so we could eventually get out of our current place.
Whether it’s moving company assisting you or doing it on your own, or military versus civilian, I hope this blog entry today helps readers. Of course, there will be things I miss out on, but if you want to add anything, please feel free to in the comments. I will explain this with my military moving experience, while also highlighting the civilian parts, since I have moved twice due to college. I had to move to and from Louisville, and then my most recent move, which was military assisted.
- First step: ORGANIZE – This is the most important step in moving is organizing all your ish. People don’t like to admit it, but unless you’re OCD certified, most don’t care for organizing, and don’t. Sure, we love to look like we’re clean, neat individuals, but most of us live in somewhat messes, and then fix it. However, when it comes to moving in both situations, you need to organize all your items. I recommend taking an inventory. In both cases, it will be essential and helpful in your process because you’ll have a list of all your items, and know what you want to keep/donate/rid of.
- Military side- Okay, this is common sense to me- unless you’re pocketing the moving expenses, you will want to organize, or the movers will take it. I attended the transportation brief with Tyler, and the organizer acted like the movers were idiotic. Yes, most realize what trash is, but unless you put it into piles and say nothing, they will grab. I was very lucky to have good guys on the team, because they asked before taking. ALSO, when they start going over the high value inventory list, feel free to list everything you consider valuable. For example, I own a stripper pole. Yes, I repeat, I own one. I listed that as a high valued item, along with a TV, microwave and other tangibles. Another tip is make baggies your best friend. We actually decided to live out of our carry on & checked bags, so we baggied any objects going into these. We also baggied all the unopened/unused groceries and bottles. Liquids also fall under this category. When gathering up food, just think what you wouldn’t mind taking its time and then eating later. We organized our objects and grouped by functions and placements in rooms.
- Civilian side- When it came to my Louisville move, my mom, Tyler and I made piles. I had a pile for what I was taking to college, what I was keeping home, what I was donating, and what I was throwing away. It took about 5 hours, because 1) I had too much crap, 2) I was a mini hoarder and 3) I didn’t realize how lengthy the process was. I look at it this way- if you need it and would die if anyone got it, keep it with you. If you can see it with you in the future, pack up. If you could see someone else enjoying it more, donate. If you wouldn’t want anyone else to give that object to you, or would be embarrassed to do so, throw away. The move back was pretty easy, because I already had an idea of what to expect
- .Second step: record ALL belonging
- This goes with both sides when it comes to moving companies- take pictures, take notes, take videos. Whether you’re a civilian who needs to hire movers or military PCSing to another duty station, you need to record evidence of your items current state. When I was moving to Louisville, who was helping me was my family and then boyfriend, now husband. In these circumstances, you need to be careful, because who is liable for damages would be your party. However, with moving companies, you need to place even more cushion under your bum. Many times, things will be damaged, and less frequently but worse, stolen. To report the injuries/theft, you need to have supporting claims on your end. The best way to do this is take photos of non-electronics, and then videotape electronics of EVERY item you’re not taking with you. Whether it’s HHG (household goods: the objects that will take the longest, because it’s a part of your living), UAB (unaccompanied baggage: items you’ll receive ASAP because you need them ASAP) or just going on an UHaul, movers or the shippers could still have accidents. Also, this is a great way of showing your truthful claims when reporting. How we did it was group all like items together, and took photos. On top of this, all of our videos was around 30 seconds and longer, to show how it was turning on, was working in excellent condition and turned off without any issues.
- Third step (military) – contact your moving company/moving coordinator
- This, hands down, is now the biggest pet peeve of mine- I am in a couple wives groups. To be honest, most of the women who comment have no IDEA what they’re speaking about. Instead of doing it with their husband or knowing all the details, they speak off bits and parts, and confuse everyone. I actually had to retell a process to a wife because the others misinterpreted what their spouses say. In fact, when I have been assisting in his out processing this past week, his sgt actually pulled me aside to explain something someone told me that was inaccurate- she happens to be a Reserves who’s married to active duty. This is why I strongly suggest to, first off, being an involved dependent. When I married my husband, I also become attached to his profession, so I wanted to know the details. Sure, I grew up with military and around it, but I was never an active duty’s dependent. There is FAR MORE to the process than most realize, but my husband loves me going with him to briefs and lets me write everything down for him. It’s his rank & his job, but I like helping out so he’s not stressed out. Plus, it will help you stay informed, knowledgeable and you actually realize what’s going on.
- Now that I’m done with THAT rant, one of the most important things is actually scheduling your moving date. This is all depended upon your PCS date, your new duty station location and what types of moving are you doing. I described two types, and there’s another, known as the diddy. This is when you let a trusted family member/friend watch your stuff. The last time is doing storage, which will keep your goods safe while you’re in ______. Finally, when moving, you can have pro gear. Pro gear is your service member’s goods that they’ll need while moving. They’re allowed up to 2000 lbs, and it’s not counted against your HHG. However, you are limited in weight for HHG, which is based off of rank and dependent status. For example, my husband was given 8000 since he has me, and we had about 3500 lbs shipped as pure HHG. I also know another clause that allows the spouse to receive their stuff immediately for whatever their profession is. Since I quit my job and am a student, I didn’t take this option, but I highly recommend it if you’re transferring and need your equipment ASAP. I would have just labeled it UAB.
- When picking a moving date, I suggest discussing it with your spouse and thinking about the PCS. If it’s CONUS (US besides Hawaii, Alaska), you have a little better time management for sliding around. Most of the people I know who do CONUS get their stuff at a decent time and usually have a house lined up or will. Also, CONUS can be a move done solo if chosen, which the military will compensate and you’ll actually be paid to do so! Now, for OCONUS, I would think in advance. For example, for families going to Germany & Italy, you will have to live in a hotel for awhile, because you can only apply for housing once you’re in that country. Your goods overseas typically ship out 2-3 months, since it’s by boat. On top of this, you’ll have to ship out your vehicle, and with inspections, that will take even longer! You have no choice but to get a moving company. We decided to ship our stuff out in late June, so by the time we get to Germany and have been there for nearly a month, our belongings should be arriving. I am shipping out our car in late July, so I will post that later on!
- The next step is submitting and waiting on a response. Transportation helped us pick date, and at first, our requests were denied. This isn’t always a bad thing or means you’re moving dates suck- it just says one moving company can’t do the work. All you have to do is resubmit and wait. We did this, and got a reply from Oceanic. The next day, I saw an email from a third party. This is your moving coordinator, who is a laissez between y’all and your moving company. They will help if you have any questions or complaints. They will confirm your name, address and phone number, along with email typically. Your moving coordinator will direct you to the actual moving company, who will be in charge of packing your belongings, crating them and shipping them off. Your moving company will hire a site surveyor, who checks out your place and sees everything you have. Just a forewarning tip- remember to notify them about ALL belongings going, even if it’s not technically in the house. An example is my husband’s motorcycle. With a belonging like that, make you have a copy of their registration and proof of insurance. Not just that document, but copies, because the moving companies want that.
- Fourth step- MOVE DAY, YEE YEE
- Okay, as a person who’s now moved, I get extremely annoyed by a lot of women who bitch. Maybe I’m the luckiest person or most gullible, but I had no issues with my moving company. There were three guys, all nice as they could be, and they brought wrapping paper, boxes and tape. Also, there were no crates, but they explained how peak season is, and they have to have the crates already made. Apparently, 4 people make crates, and are paid $30 a crate. Though I wanted it crated, I understood and they were great about packing my belongings, labeling and providing inventory sheets. Yes, I talked a lot with them, but I wanted to get to know them. I watched and talked, bought them food and drinks, and actually listened to then. They had some horror stories about people themselves. Probably the craziest to me was entering nearly hoarder situations was military, and the most popular word to describe the average home was “clusterfuck.” That’s just sad to me. I don’t understand how people can complain when they’re unprepared, messy and rude, but whatever. On top of this, they weren’t even fed by most people. Maybe this is a bitch line, but you will get what you give, and if you’re not being hospitable, how do you expect the exchange to work?!
- Now, back to non-rant me, I believe in feeding the movers and providing drinks. I completely believe in watching too. All you have to do is talk and sit in the room. Another huge tip I recommend is if you have a larger place, have friends and family come over to assist. This way, if you happen to run across crappy movers, they can catch them. However, I don’t believe in hovering and being a jerk either. One story I was told was a married Army couple were moving, and they were fighting in front of the movers, and grabbing things out of their hands because wanted to submit a belonging to HHG and another didn’t. Another guy explained how many people are leery, due to the suspicious workers, and he understood. However, to treat them the same isn’t cool in my opinion either. I’m a firm believer in the self-prophecy and quantum physics- whatever energy you have and provide will be supplied. Whatever you believe is what you’ll receive, so don’t be astonished with bad results when you gave bad vibes. I’m not saying go in there blind eyed and naïve- however, just treat everyone the way you’d want to be treated. If anything goes wrong, immediately call the Quality Control number, or your moving coordinator.
- The last step is staying calm, cool and a little ahead. You’re not in charge of most things for military moves, but you can do other things while waiting. The most noticeable thing about all branches is the “hurry up and wait” game, which they’re infamous for. While waiting on the moving days, I was researching job opportunities, learning about German culture from my friends (I’d say half of my friends’ mommas growing up were German or Korean…. The other half were Army wives who went to Germany/Korea/other overseas places LOL) and asking reliable sources questions. I also have been able to submit my husband’s orders for a PO Box at our next duty station. Whatever you can do that’ll help your family, do it. There were a lot of tasks that my husband needed done, so I was helping him while we were anticipating for more steps. I feel like not only is it beneficial, but also better prepares you for whatever you’ll endure next.Be organized. Know what you got, know what you want, act & react smart and you’ll be okay. If you have renters’ insurance or vehicles, immediately call your provider and notify them of your move. I was nervous at first, but I realize it was pure anticipation. Everything worked out, and I will see the damage done when we head overseas. Hope this helps!!! If you have any comments, suggestions or complaints, let me know!