“Spin up” is a term my husband throws around for his job in the military pretty often. He’s constantly spinning up for something, and the latest thing on our horizon is our summer military move. Basically, spin up means you hurry up and get all your stuff done…and then you wait (and wait, and wait) for more information in order to move forward.
While I’m sure people from all walks of life are familiar with “hurry up and wait,” military wives know this phrase better than anyone. If you’re wondering how to make the most of your hurry-up-and-wait time before your military move, then this post is for you.
We’ve known California is our “final” destination for this permanent change of station (PCS) for a while now, but until we have those actual orders in hand, we can’t get to the actual planning part of our trip. (Once we have orders, that’s when things get set into motion—things like finding out when the movers will be here. Then, with that info, you can actually plan your trip to your next destination.) So, while we hurry up and wait, here are some things that we can do to help that productivity continue on.
Things to do NOW While you Wait for your Upcoming Military Move:
Start Making Lists
I used to have a specific PCS notebook where I kept everything I needed, but now I keep all of my to-do lists on my phone. (I still have a notebook that will travel with us, but as far as my to-do lists go, they’re all just a swipe away.) If you think of something you need to do before you move, write it down immediately so you don’t forget. I personally like having it on my phone, because if I’m out and about and think of something, I always have my phone with me. Here are some of the lists I have going right now:
- Things to sell (furniture, appliances, vehicles, etc.)
- Things to take with us—anything that won’t be packed (bedding, toys, some kitchen tools, etc.)
- Things to do before we move (get my daughter’s birth certificate, landscape/clean-up the yard, find a realtor, etc.)
- Things to do when we get to our destination (switch over Tricare, find new doctors, etc.)
- Bucket List before we leave (favorite restaurants, favorite destinations, etc.)
- Bucket List for the new location (all the fun things!)
The last list is my personal favorite, because it gets us thinking about the future and making exciting plans for what we’re going to do when we get to our new place. Can I tell you about one of those things? My husband and I decided that for our date nights, every time we go on a date we have to try out a new, non-chain restaurant. We don’t eat out much as a family (because kids are crazy, man!), but I think it’ll be fun to go to new places with him!
Purge, Purge, Purge
You know you’re leaving, so start figuring out what you do and don’t want to take with you. If you’re moving overseas, for example, you’re going to want to leave that washer and dryer right where it is, but if you’re doing a CONUS (within the continental United States) military move, your options are a lot broader. Decide now what big items will stay behind; now is the time to start doing a deep spring clean.
Unless you’re a minimalist, we all have too much junk on hand (especially if you have kids). Go buy some trash bags in bulk at Costco and start throwing all that crap away. When you’re doing a military move, the company hired will literally come into your house and pack every single item in boxes, sometimes in one day; they get in, and they get the job done. They won’t hold up an item and say, “Keep, throw, or yard sale?” EVERYTHING goes with you. So, before your move becomes official, start the purging process. Get into every room and decide if it’s something you want to keep, toss in the trash, or try to get rid of.
Have a Yard Sale
If you have time (and the patience), consider having a yard sale to get rid of all of your extra stuff. Granted, if you’re short on time and don’t need the money, but definitely don’t want to keep the junk you’ve accumulated since your last move, then donate it somewhere like your base’s Airman’s Attic. We’ve already had one yard sale, but I’m hoping for at least one more before we donate everything.
Figure Out Your Current Housing Situation
If you own a house, now is the time to decide if you’re going to get it up on the market or rent it out. Either way (this goes for renters, too), start fixing your house up so it’s in that like-new condition. A new family will be coming in to live there, so if there are projects you’ve been working on or things you’ve “been meaning to get to,” make a list and start checking those projects off it.
Finding good realtor or property manager is actually easier said than done—they’re not all created equal, and they don’t all have your best interest in mind. The best way we’ve found people is by word of mouth. Ask around. Talk to people. Post questions about selling/renting your house on Facebook and soak in the responses. Yes, everyone has an opinion, but you really want someone you trust in this position, and we’ve found that word of mouth recommendations are usually the best.
Start Your Travel Plans
This is my favorite part of a PCS, because unless you’re moving down the road, you’re going to have to get in your car(s) and drive a little bit, and 9 times out of 10, it’ll be to another state/country. The military will pay part of your mileage to get to your next station, as well as a per-diam for the days they allot for travel. Figuring out your travel situation can be stressful, which is why starting it BEFORE you’re in the midst of the crazy move is ideal.
First things first: make sure you and your partner are on the same page as far as how you want to get there. Do you want to just get there as fast as possible, or do you want to take the relaxed route and make a vacation out of it? This will set the tone for your trip, and it’ll help you figure out how often and where you’ll be stopping every night.
If you’re going on a legit road trip (like almost a vacation), skip Google maps and use Roadtrippers. It’s like Google, but with an added bonus of telling you everything and anything around the area you’re traveling.
As far as where you’re going to stay along the way, check out places like TownePlace Suites by Marriott that basically cater to you, the military traveler. If you’re traveling with kids (and a pet), a suite is absolutely the way to go. Since you’re basically homeless when you’re in route to your next destination, places like TownePlace Suites make you feel like home. They have living areas, a kitchen with full-size appliances, cookware, dishes, and utensil (great for keeping on a budget so you don’t spend your cash eating out), free breakfasts in the mornings, and pools that are excellent incentives for kids to get through just one (or three) more hours in the car. Been there, done that; seriously, don’t forget to pack your swim suit!
Think About Your Animals
Make room for your pet! Just because you’re PCSing doesn’t mean you can leave your furry friend back at your old place. Please, please, please take your family pet with you. There are even affordable pet-friendly hotels so they can stay with you, too. Stay tuned for a post on how to road trip with your dog, because we’re about to embark on that adventure!
I can’t even explain how excited I am for the move. There’s so much gearing up to do in the next couple months that boredom isn’t an issue. Are you in the midst of a move? Do you have any tips on things to do before the big day? Leave them in the comments!
This post is brought to you by TownePlace Suites by Marriott, but as always, all opinions are completely my own.