Imagine this! You’re a military family, having lived in a place for nearly three years, and it’s time for new orders. So what do you do? Well after you have decided together hopefully where you wish to go for your next duty question, that’s when you should whip out the notebook and begin to make lists. Yes you did read that right; I did say to make lists. Lists about what to have packed by the movers, lists about what you will need to keep out until you are ready to leave the house you are renting or own, lists about realtors if you plan on selling your house and who can help get your place sold quickly or if you decide to rent which property managers you would talk to about renting out your home, lists about what you wish to sell online or in your garage sale if you decide to have one, lists about what clothes to keep out for yourself, your SO, and if you have a kid or kids, what you will keep out for them. Lists about what you have in the house including your household items might always be a good idea since we know even in the military our belongings get stolen quite often or somehow “misplaced” from the truck to the warehouse where they are stored until you have found a new place to live at your new duty station. Lists about what needs to be cleaned in the house, who to call for cleaning your floors (especially if you are in a rental), and what might need to be repaired before you can sell/rent/leave your rental house, condo, or apartment. Even have lists about what you wish to pack in order to keep yourself entertained on either the flight or driving (we chose to drive cross-country but more about that later) as well as what you wish to take to keep the kiddies entertained. And last but not least, make sure that you have a list of snacks that you, your SO, and your kids like so that when you do a little food shopping you can stock up on those oh so important snacks that everyone will enjoy, on a car trip. If you are flying, then you might not need to remember this list.
So now that you have your lists in hand, you can begin to go through your clothes and your other items to decide what should go and what will stay. Broken things go in the trashcan, items that need mending maybe put off to the side so you can finally get them mended, and just keep going for those next several days, getting rid of items, making sure that your items to be packed are ready to go for once the overs get there, and your clothes and other items you will be taking in the car or on the plane with you maybe stashed off to the side so that you can easily pack them up once the time comes. The best way to be prepared is to make lists, have a plan, and execute said plan in the days to come until you have to say adios to the state or country that you are currently living in and hello to the new state or country you have decided to make your new home for two, three, four, several years.
Making lists have always helped me because when I didn’t make lists, I would think of everything that we had to do before we left and I became way too overwhelmed and couldn’t function right. It also helps my husband to see what has been done and what still needed to be done so that he can pitch in to help out. Our four-year old daughter, who was three years old when we decided to drive cross-country from Virginia to California just last year, helped as much as she could. She would grab things she wanted to keep for the car trip out and we would have her little bags where she could pack everything inside. She actually was a good little helper for her mommy as her mommy buzzed around the house getting things ready. I also liked having lists in hand because then it was a motivator for me to not wait and to not procrastinate until the last-minute to get something important done like selling certain items we didn’t need any longer but worked great or cancelling our daughter’s MyGym class ASAP. So I have come to rely on lists for the military life as well as other aspects in my life. I even have a list for this blog series I am about to write about our trip from VA to CA. Of course, we did the same trip three years ago last October from CA to VA and our daughter wasn’t even one yet but I decided to do this trip because we didn’t stop in many places on the first trip since my husband needed to get back to work as soon as we were moved into our rental house in Virginia Beach so there wasn’t much time for us to make any stops except for at night and to sleep and for pit stops during the day. This second trip across country was more eventful and quite fun for all of us because we had decided to slow down, take in some sights along the way, and actually enjoy the car trip.
So remember whether you are military or aren’t military but planning a trip for vacation or moving, make your lists so you can check everything off as you go! Lists are quite fun to make and helps keep you on track with time crunches, packing, and anything else you might need to add to said lists for your vacation or move to go smoothly and hopefully help iron out any hiccups that might happen, since we all know that those happen from time to time.
As I had said earlier, this blog is just the first of many in a series that I will write that will include strategies for driving cross-country, especially with a little one, and talking about the places/states that we have stopped in along the way as well as with reviews of said places that we had stopped to enjoyed and reviews on the places where we stayed in at night (hotels and motels a like). So sit back, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and enjoy the cross-country trip of this military family as we make plenty of stops along the way from Virginia Beach, VA to San Diego, CA.