“Dos and Don’ts” of Moving


Hello Moms of the West Valley! Today I am going to talk about something we have all done and maybe dread a little-moving! My husband has been in the Air Force now for 22 years (!!) (not counting the 20 or so years he was a military brat) and for 15 of those years I have been married to him. In that time, we have moved 7 times.  Although he assures me the military only moves people every four years or so, by my calculations that is closer to once every two years. Crazy, right? Hopefully our days of moving are coming to a close. With the season of moves coming up (Summer!) I wanted to share some of the things I have learned from these experiences.


So, here are some thoughts on moving house!

DO: Keep your clutter down as much as possible. I know you have heard this a thousand times, but seriously, the minute you find out you are moving, start the Great Purge. Get rid of ANYTHING you don’t want to take out of a box! It is really hard to touch every possession you own (I am talking to you desk supplies  such as paperclips that were dumped into a box) so it’s a good idea to put small items (legos, desk items) into a tupperware container so you don’t have to literally deal with everything on the receiving end. You’ll thank me later.

Bear in mind that you will find yourself purging even more later when you move into the new house. Every house is different, and you may find you don’t have a place to store everything that fit into your old place. My kitchen in my new house here didn’t appear to be smaller than my old kitchen in Virginia, but once I moved in, I soon realized I didn’t have as much room as I once did and had to get rid of some extra plates and gadgets. And that’s fine, as it will make it easier next time.

DO: Remember to bring important paperwork and valuables with you; don’t let the movers pack items such as paperwork you may need(car titles, birth certificates, etc), valuables like jewelry, photographs of your wedding and newborns, etc. Also if you have a safe deposit box at a local bank, remember to empty it.  My husband and I also travel with our computer (yes, the large desktop). Also remember to bring with you a camera (or phone) to photograph anything damaged in the move and a box cutter to open boxes. A clipboard and pens are also helpful to have once your household items arrive at the house so you can check off  items as the movers bring them in the house. Also, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels. You will be making several marathon trips to Target or Wal-mart but it is helpful to have a few of these necessities on hand moving day.

DO: Set aside a box of “parts”-things like screws, wires, nails and a hammer. It will be easier on the unpacking end to not have to hunt for this stuff.

DO: Empty your trash! Packers will pack trash. Every single military family I know has a story about getting a “surprise” when they unpack. So, unless there is something you want to keep in that diaper pail for posterity, empty it out and disinfect it!

DO: Designate a “do not pack” area in your house. This will start out empty, but throughout the day when the packers are packing, you will find something that you don’t want them to pack and throw it in there. Better yet, just use your car.

DO: Write down serial numbers and descriptions of all major electronics. Also note and take photos of their condition before you move. If you have packers helping you, they may do this for you. However it is good to keep your own records as well in case a dispute arrises.

DO: Have plenty of bottled water and sodas available on moving day. Having some refreshments available to the movers never hurts and always seems appreciated! Especially in the heat of summer.

DO: Make two lists of things you need to get done-one list is for before you move and the other for once you arrive at your new house. These lists will include things like “disconnect cable” and “connect electricity”. These lists will be long, overwhelming and exhausting to look at. But it does help to know what you have to do (and what you have already done!). Don’t despair; crossing things off your To-Do lists is rewarding!

DO: Order your new address stamp or labels before you move if possible. Also change your address with the post office and with any magazines (the post office won’t forward magazines after a few months). Amazon.com can actually help you with this! It takes a little time to set up all of your magazines on your account but once you do, they can contact the magazines through their “manage magazine subscriptions” program.

DON’T: Have the movers unpack you. Now, this may be something other people like to have done as they will take the boxes away at the same time (and this may only be an option for military families). It isn’t something I recommend however. We did this one time and it was as if they took our old house, shook it up, and turned it over and poured it out into our new house. Finding pots and pans in your bedroom isn’t fun. But it may work for some people. To each her own! Personally I would rather unpack my own boxes. Having said that..

DO: Unpack your boxes as soon as you can. This makes your house feel like a home. I personally can not stand having unpacked boxes sitting in closets or in the garage waiting to be unpacked for months (or years!). I know taking your time unpacking works for many people but for me it just doesn’t. Maybe it’s because we don’t live in houses very long, but I like for it to feel like “our” house as soon as possible. Also I try to hang up pictures as quickly as I can. And get rid of the boxes as soon as I can. When we moved last year, my husband and I unpacked and mostly organized our new house in under three days. Yes, these three days were exhausting. But we got it done! Which brings us to..

DO: Get a babysitter on moving and unpacking days. We had my mom stay with my daughter at a hotel during those three unpacking days. I am sure it was not a fun time for her being stuck in a hotel room with a three year old. BUT we greatly appreciated it! It isn’t easy to unpack with young kiddos around.

DO: Expect the unexpected. Things will come up, big and small. Moving is hard, it’s stressful, it’s emotional. But it’s also an adventure. Do what works for you and remember, it’s  just “stuff”.


Obviously this post is based on my personal experiences with military moves which, fortunately, include packers and movers. In the end you have to go with what works for you and your family. The most important step with any move is staying as organized as you can. And remember that a few months from now, you will feel at home in your new house and the work involved  moving there will be but a memory! I wish you the best of luck if you have a move coming up! Enjoy your new home!


My family and me in front of our new home, July 2012
My family and me in front of our new home, July 2012

Do you have any moving tips? Be sure to share them in the comments!

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Eileen has been married to her husband, Eric, an Air Force officer, since 1998. A pharmacist by trade, she worked that gig for ten years until her promotion to full time stay-at-home mom in 2009. Eileen and Eric have one daughter, Little E, who is a feisty little girl obsessed with Octonauts. As a military family, they move every 3-4 years, most recently from Southern Virginia to Arizona. They have lived in the Phoenix area since July 2012 and love the southwest! Hopefully they have found their “forever” home. Eileen’s passions and hobbies include photography, reading, travel, cooking, doing creative projects with her daughter, hiking and working out. She can often be found sipping a latte at Starbucks, looking for the next great read at Barnes and Noble, or browsing Ulta for the latest beauty find.


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