Unpacking-1In the last part of our Moving series, it is finally time to unpack! Here are some great tips from Military wives and experts:


Cindy Musselwhite, a USA spouse says, “Unpack alongside your packers. We didn’t make the packers stay in the same room and we have a brand new electric train stolen because of this. We didn’t unpack all our boxes at the next assignment and therefore we didn’t discover the theft in time to get reimbursement for the loss.”

  • Treat Yourself!: Captain Karen Eckerle, USAF, says, “I find the transit part of moving more tolerable by packing comfy slippers for the trip and a fluffy neck pillow (sprayed with a lilac scent). I bring along a candle for the hotel room, a fave comfy blankie (lightweight wool, fleece, or cotton throw) and bubble bath or salts for bath time. I also do am/pm overall stretches and drink LOTS of water.”
  • Positive Mind Games: When it comes to the other end of moving—unpacking, try playing positive mindgames on yourself. Set goals and once you achieve them, then treat yourself to something special. For example, if you want to get the dishes and cookware unpacked and put away in your kitchen, once you’ve done this, treat yourself to a cup of coffee at the neighborhood Starbucks and go by the store to pick up a flowering plant for the kitchen. Once you’ve organized the pantry, then buy a new color of nail polish or a magazine that looks interesting and relaxing.   After you’ve got one of the bathrooms completely finished (walls and everything) then buy a new scented candle, a bottle of bubble bath and take a long hot bath!
  • Stay Active: Join the base’s Yoga class or take a walk once a day. It will relieve stress and give you a chance to meet your new neighbors. At the half-way point of your unpacking, go out and get a pedicure and once the house is completely done, get a manicure at the base beauty salon. If you had one before the work is done, you’d only ruin it.
  • Have Some Fun: Consider getting a totally new hairstyle when you arrive someplace new. If it turns out really “different,” then your new friends won’t know how good you used to look and you’ll only look better as it grows out!
  • Treat yourself by treating your house: While it’s important to stick to a budget, now is the time to add new color to your living room with a throw and pillows or a new wallpaper border because you want to get your money’s worth out of that border! These modest, low-cost changes are also the splurge you need as you transition to your new home. Arrange the furniture differently than it was in your last home.
  • One A Day: Once you’ve gotten your home somewhat settled, then only do one errand a day. If you’re going to wait a couple of hours to get a new driver’s license, then don’t wait two more hours to get your car plates on the same day! Do your grocery shopping shopping on one day and enroll kids in school on another.
  • Family Fun: Make a ceremony with your kids of putting out the welcome mat. Tell them that it is the first thing you put out and the last thing you pack up when you move because a home should always welcome new and old friends no matter how many times you move.
  • Make time for scheduled breaks with your kids: Get a good book and take them to the park. Take them to the base pool and let them wear themselves out while you sun yourself by the baby pool. After they’ve finished arranging their shelves of toys or books in their room, then take them out for a hot fudge sundae!
  • Take Notes: Buy a fresh spiral notebook that will fit into your purse or pocket. When someone recommends a babysitter, barber or hairstylist, cleaners or restaurant, then take notes with addresses and phone numbers. Write down the names of your neighbors and their house numbers so you know who lives where. Jot down your unit’s welcome representative and their phone number. Have your kids add the names of their new friends to your notebook and where they live, then make a note to introduce yourself to their parents if they don’t come over to see you first.
  • Walk Through: As you walk from room to room, write down the list of things you need for each room and since you’re keeping this on you, you’ll have it when you need it in the store later. Tape fabric swatches, paint chips or wallpaper samples to a page in your notebook so you can find a good sale on accessories such as curtains, valances and bedding.
  • Make a List of things you need to do in this new place. Such as: call the Welcome Wagon (for discounts, freebies and leads), call the Chamber of Commerce to send you a packet of information, check your insurance policy, get a drivers license and plates, get a new library card, subscribe to the local paper (ask for new customer discounts), find a church, introduce yourself to your mail carrier, and make out your list of emergency numbers.
  • Make New Friends and Get Used to Your New Home: Get the Thursday paper and a good map and hit the garage sales on Friday and Saturday. You’ll familiarize yourself with the neighborhood and make new friends at the same time (unless you ask them if they’ll take less for that toaster). If you have a home business, then host a party or host one for someone who has a home business. Check out the local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group if you qualify for this age bracket. Join a “Moms in Touch” at your school (the secretary should have the point of contact name.) Have your own “Open House” and invite all your neighbors. One friend with a great sense of humor taped a new sign over the “Sold/For Sale” sign in her front yard. It read: “Wanted: New friend with a short memory and a long sense of humor.” She found her new best friend this way!

For many couples, their major goal in moving is to stay married… I know that moving can rank right up there on the “fun things to experience” list with wallpapering, root canals, pet-sitting a pit bull, and having your 12-mont-old triplets all start to teethe at the same time.”

John Trent,
from the foreword of After the Boxes Are Unpacked
by Susan Miller

©2016-2020 Ellie Kay


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