Nothing will add to the stress of a PCS military move like a disorganized approach. While most people know how to efficiently pack and strategize how those items are loaded into the moving truck, many do not consider how to unpack.
Sure, an organized move starts with boxing up your items and scheduling a moving truck. However, it’s the unpacking process that can significantly make your PCS move seamless and stress-free. Unpacking can be tedious as there are a myriad of details involved with setting up a new home.
All too easily, a few boxes here and there can end up living for months in a corner or a less-used room. Buried in packing paper, your new, unfamiliar military housing can be strewn with household goods that have not found their permanent place. Unpacking with a plan lets you start your time at a new duty station off on the right foot.
Organize When Packing
When you’re busy packing up your life and figuring out how you’ll get through a move, how you’ll soon unpack those boxes isn’t at the forefront of your mind. A little planning at this starting point will make for a much smoother move.
If you are embarking on a Department of Defense (DOD) organized move, supervise your packers to ensure that boxes are appropriately labeled with both the room and contents. A DITY move gives you even more control as you are in charge of the entire packing process.
Labeling the boxes with colored duct tape or a different color for each room is an easy way to quickly check that boxes get to the right part of the house the first time.
More Like This: Interested in a Partial DITY Move? Review our Partial DITY Move—Expert Tips & In-Depth Guide to see if it’s right for you!
Moving Essentials Box
There are some things that you will need right away once you arrive in your new area—essential paperwork, bed linens, toilet paper, shower curtain and the two or three pots and pans that you use on the regular. All of these items will need to be packed ahead of time in 1-2 “essentials boxes.”
Separate the items that you know you’ll need in the first 48 hours of your move. By making sure you have all of these important items in one easy-to-locate spot, you will save yourself the time and trouble of digging them out from a mountain of boxes later on.
Staying Organized While Unpacking
Professional organizers advise that you unpack with a plan, starting with the most necessary common areas and working your way throughout the home. Areas such as a main bathroom, the kitchen and bedrooms may take priority over secondary bathrooms and living rooms.
Of course, your plan will depend on how many people are in your home, the age of any children and how much dedicated time you can spend on unpacking. Younger children may need help or have their rooms unpacked for them.
On the other hand, pre-teens and teenagers are usually fine to unpack on their own or with minimal guidance. In fact, they may even prefer to be left alone to unpack their new bedroom and make it their own space.
How to Properly Unpack
- Unload and situate your large furniture
- Position and install appliances
- Unpack your essentials box(es)
- Make the beds (while you still have energy)
- Focus on one core common area at a time (core bathroom, kitchen)
- Unpack other common areas and bedrooms (secondary bathrooms, living room, bedrooms)
Once you’ve unpacked all of the common areas and bedrooms, take some time to organize your garage, outdoor spaces and closets. You can store cleaning materials and items that are not immediately necessary in these areas.
Garage Storage Organization
It is easy for the garage, closets and extra rooms to become depositories for unpacked boxes and items that don’t serve an immediate purpose. As we settle in and life gets busy, these areas can become more crowded and disorganized.
If you choose to leave some boxes packed up, itemize what is in the box and tape the list to the outside. This will give your storage areas a sense of cohesion rather than a scattered mess that may later create frustrations.
Furthermore, consider donating those items that are just sitting around without a purpose. If you’ve carried them from one Permanent Change of Station (PCS) to the next, it is likely that these items are not adding value to your life.
Sign up and check out AHRN to begin your organized military housing search. Finding the right home for you and your family will make it easier for you to execute an organized move. Remember, a little organization now will get you started on the right foot in your new home!