Military Relocations: Tips for a Smooth Move

BoxesMany individuals or families may find themselves in a position of having to relocate to another state or country when directed by their employer. The same is true of thousands of our military personnel. It is a normal part of military life that they are relocated on a fairly regular basis. I was relocated over 3 times during my short enlistment; the hardest one being from the USA to Germany and back again. One friend of mine who is still in the military after 27 years has relocated to 9 different duty locations. That is 18 moves with more to come!

One significant difference between a military move and a civilian move is that the military usually offers a limited time span for relocation. It is my intent to be of some help through this transition, by offering tips and tricks, as well as necessary steps you must take in order to make the move a smooth one.

Upon receipt of your relocation orders, you need to immediately contact your Transportation Office. Once you have contacted the office, set up an appointment to meet with one of their counselors in order to find out what documentation you need as well as a list of what services are provided by the office and your specific responsibilities. Your Transportation Office can also provide you with estimates in regard to shipping your HHG and POV.

When it comes to packing up your home and personal items, I have a few suggestions:

  1. It is best if you pack one room at the time. Begin packing items that are not currently in use, such as winter clothing if it is summer. Try to leave only a couple movies or games till the very end and pack the rest now. This way you can avoid a last-minute rush or panic situation.
  2. As you pack each room, use a specific color of tape to represent each room. For example, use blue tape for your son’s room and pink for your daughter’s. Maybe a yellow for your kitchen, etc. At the same time, mark each box clearly by name. Also of importance, if you have valuable knickknacks such as Precious Moments or Hummel’s, do not simply write fragile on the box; it is best to specify exactly what items are in such boxes.
  3. As your departure time comes closer, pack absolutely every nonessential that you possibly can. By the day before your move you should have everything packed and waiting to go; excluding perhaps a bag with change of clothes, toothbrush toothpaste and so forth. In fact, you may wish to spend the night before departure at a hotel, in this way you will have no last-minute packing to do. You may also wish to spend the first night at your destination, so this will allow you and your family to rest and not have to start unpacking the moment you arrive.

Now back to the Transportation Office. The counselor at this office can give you estimated weights and weight entitlements for which you are eligible. They can also give you weight tickets so that you may request your shipments to be re-weighed when you reach your destination. Generally speaking, the weight allowance is approximately 1000 pounds per room. You can verify further information by a going to

Granted, any move is an arduous task, however, being prepared and knowing exactly what you need to do and doing it quickly can make it so much easier. Remember to utilize your TO office since they are in place to help you make a painless and quick transition to your new installation.

Do you have any other moving tips for our readers?

Teresa Agostino

Originally from Canada, Terri moved to the US at 16 and joined the Army Reserves at 17. She went active Army in 1991, and spent almost 2 years in Iraq as a program analyst for the Army Corps of Engineers. She currently works for the VA as an Accounts Management Supervisor. Terri has her MBA in HR management.
Teresa Agostino

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