Thank you, House of Pain, for those sweet lyrics – so inappropriately appropriate.
Your spouse just walked in the door and announced orders have been cut and you are moving yet again. No problem… You’ve done this so many times that it is now second nature, right?
There are lots of different ways to approach the pack-out looming overhead and they all depend on the season of life you are currently in. With so many scenarios, let’s discuss a few.
- Your spouse is deployed and will arrive home the same week as the pack out. You both hope it won’t be the same day.
- Your baby is due a month before the truck arrives and you just don’t have time to sort your belongings.
- Maybe your oldest is graduating from high school. College, not moving, is on your mind. Better yet, you are graduating from college, a milestone that far outweighs the burden that can often times be a household move.
- Or, maybe you just don’t want to prep at all. The packers will pack, the loaders will load, the movers will move and you will figure it out on the other end.
(I have done them all and the last example is a family favorite with interesting consequences on the tail end.)
Ask any military spouse and they will gladly regale you with sick tales of moves gone by. It is with disturbing pride and bold saltiness that we retell the times where the packers packed up the trash from the McDonald’s lunch we so graciously bought them, leftover fries and all. Or during one move, a neighbor, upon answering the door, came face to face with a disturbing situation. There before her stood a man, probably in his 60’s, proudly sporting a Naval Academy Lacrosse Team t-shirt with her husband’s name on the back. Not knowing what else to do, she dropped a few classmate’s names in the hopes that perhaps they had played with the same people.
It was worth a try.
There are so many things to think about during the pack out and it goes to PCS 5.0 when small children are part of the mix. Seriously, consider setting up your move during school hours, or swap with a neighbor for childcare needs. You must remain focused on the way your belongings are packed up, how they are numbered and inventoried, and what makes it to the truck and what does not.
Did you catch that?
Yes, sadly sometimes our precious belongings do not make it all the way to the truck. You may end up on the other side of your move minus a few items. Be smart about what you choose to pack up and what you choose to hand carry in your vehicles. Human temptation is great and sometimes people rationalize their theft with the notion that as military-on-the-move, we won’t catch the hit and we will be reimbursed for the loss. This is partially true. We do get reimbursed, but it requires an arduous claim process where we rarely see the full replacement value.
As a military family, you also want to be aware of your household weight limit. You are held to a weight limit according to rank NOT family size. I speak from experience. The U.S. government does not care how many kids, cars, toys or books you have. The higher the rank you are, the harder they may laugh at your claim for exemptions because “you should know better.” It’s all on you and you are expected to know the rules. You do have the option to notate professional gear and the packing team should be familiar with the process. Professional gear notation allows both you and your active duty spouse to receive extra weight allowances that are on top of your current household weight allowances. The active duty allowance is far higher than the spouses. I will not post any numbers here because they change often and I do not want to mislead you. Don’t cause undue burden for yourself or your family by going over your weight limits. If you do, you will be charged per pound and bound to the weight regulations of the state you are entering.
Check with TMO (Transportation Management Office) and your move counselor. Do your homework!
As the Military Wife that Entertains, I occasionally find myself in a belongings pickle with my great entertaining finds. While I am able to claim some items as “pro gear,” most often my entertaining cache is my problem. I encourage you to be very selective as to what you accumulate over your years “in” as a military family. Leave grandma’s china and rocking chair in your home state with a relative. This will create room for that amazing German wardrobe find and also alleviate undue stress on your family heirlooms.
If you are moving this summer, now is the time to start a slow inventory of needs, wants and giveaways. The base thrift shop will gladly accept your offerings and in return give you a tax receipt.
Proper planning will allow you to execute a near flawless move.
If you prepare well enough ahead, perhaps you will avoid opening a box labeled ‘baby’s room’ and find a used diaper changed during the last pack-out. Accurate and horrifying all at once.
Feel free to top that….