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Moving? 8 Tips from Military Wives (Who Ought to Know!)

According to the latest census, 16.4 million Americans will pack up their household goods and move this year. If you're among them, tips from "professional movers," military spouses, can help ease the process.

According to the latest census, 16.4 million Americans will pack up their household goods and move this year. If you're among them, tips from "professional movers," military spouses, can help ease the process.

+ Eliminate Clutter. Danielle Shell, in the book Now You Tell Me! 12 Army Wives Give the Best Advice They Never Got, gives detailed advice about moving. Shell always begins preparation for a move by "eliminating things you no longer need, has grown out of or just plain has too many of." One of your first calls should be to a local organization that takes donations. Make sure your household goods "lean and mean." Make it a game to try to eat as much food from the pantry and freezer as possible in the months leading up to the move.

+ Organize. Army wife Donna Hammil urges, "Research ahead and call garbage removal, phone and cable to have installation ready know how far ahead each installation needs to be set up. Keep important papers together. If you have children, original copies of birth certificates, vaccination records and school records are critical, along with the phone numbers of the previous schools."

+ Include the kids (and your spouse). "Research the new place and let the kids know what interesting things are there," says Melody Charles. "Let them visit their new school, if possible, and go online to find fun area places to visit once you've arrived. Find the best barbecue place in town, a kids' play-place with bounce houses or if you're within a day trip of the Grand Canyon. Have something to look forward to!"

+ Color code your rooms (and children). "The secret to handling a move is organization," Danielle Shell advises. "Assign each room and child a color and color code each box on all 4 sides." Then plan the items you'll need to have even before the movers arrive, and assign those boxes a color. They go into your car or suitcase to travel with you. Bring extra clothes along, just in case the movers get lost.

+ Accept offers of help. "There is power in numbers! If someone offers you help in packing or unpacking or watching the children or the dog, say yes!" recommends Frances Sasser. "You can't be all things to all people, and it sure helps to have extra eyes and hands to make certain boxes get put into the correct rooms!"

+ Unpack your bedroom first. Moving frequently is a fact of life for Army wives. Beth Chiarelli who moved 29 times by the time her husband became Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, found her approach to unpacking has changed. She says, "Usually you're tempted to do the kitchen first, and everything else later. After about ten years, I started doing my bedroom first, because every day you wake up and it is nice. You don't feel defeated when you wake up."

+ Plan a party. Maybe she's crazy, but Patty MacEwan arrived in Fort Jackson on Monday and scheduled a reception to be held in her home the next Saturday. "This forced us to unpack fast! It's tempting to do a little and say, 'I'll do more later,' but when you give yourself a deadline you find you can really keep working and get it done!"

+ Choose to be happy. According to Linda VanVracken, "The secret of getting through a move (or deployment) is attitude. Look at each move as a new chapter that comes with new friends and new surroundings. You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be miserable." There will always be challenges and difficult times, but that is part of every adventure.

It takes a special person to be an Army wife. Resilience, resourcefulness, flexibility and humor are necessary qualities for the job. But some women have found ways to not only survive but thrive in the military environment. What are their secrets? What in depth advice can they offer? In the book Now You Tell Me! 12 Army Wives Give the Best Advice They Never Got, 12 women who have learned how to make happy and fulfilling lives while married to military men share the keys to their success.


Categories: Military

Tags: advice, Army, Children, home, military wife, moving, Tips


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