by Meg Flanagan
We’re headed into a PCS season like no other ever before. Seriously, we’re about to move in the middle of an actual pandemic. So, that’s cool.
On top of all the normal PCS things we do for a move, we’re also all on high alert for germs. Getting set for this year’s move is going to be a whole new level of extra.
1. Pre-pack as much as you can
Every time we move and I start to stuff my SpaceSaver bags, my husband gives me some serious side-eye. And then, without fail, when we unpack he’s praising my forethought to high heaven.
Right now, start by washing and drying your off-season clothes and linens. Make sure they’re bone dry. Once everything is freshly laundered, sort by type and stuff into flatpack Space Saver bags. (You’ll feel so confident that your sweaters and winter comforters are clean when the cooler weather rolls around! It’s incredible.)
If you want to be extra, you can pop all your nicely flat bags into heavy-duty plastic tubs. Again, sort by type: towels, sheets, clothes, etc. It’ll make knowing where your stuff is so much simpler on the back end of the move!
2. Be methodical
Go room by room. Open and clean all the drawers and closets. Pull out the things you can pre-pack and get those put away. Sort the things by type. As you’re sorting it’s time for you to be really, truly honest with yourself.
3. Get rid of all the things
Okay, real talk: we all accumulate a ton of junk. Yes, even if we’re living the frequent military move lifestyle. Honestly, I don’t know where it comes from, but suddenly there’s random odds and ends that magically appear.
Also, those curtains you haven’t used in five moves? It might be time to donate them.
Marie Kondo your house, basically. Consider each item. Does it bring you joy? Is it useful? Does it fit? If you’re getting a bunch of no’s, then the item goes.
Sort the things you’re off-loading into several piles:
- Sell: higher value/high demand items in good condition, list them on your local yard sale page ASAP and be prepared to lower your price; the goal is to get them gone while also getting some extra cash
- Donate: items that likely won’t sell quickly or for a decent price, but are in good condition and have life left; be prepared to move some “for sale” things to the donate category
- Trash: stuff that is broken, damaged, etc. belong here
4. Take the pictures off the wall
Take your decor down and store it all together by size/weight. This seriously helped with my move process last year. I was confidently able to open boxes of my breakable decor, knowing that there probably wouldn’t be random weights or kitchen knives inside. While you’re at it, take the nails and hangers off the wall and stash them somewhere safe.
5. DIY a hardware box
The day before the movers arrive, set out Ziploc bags for all the furniture you think will be taken apart. That’s usually the dining room table, beds, couches, and larger furniture. Each bag should be labeled with the item’s name.
Ask the movers to place all small parts and pieces into the baggie as they disassemble. Then pop that bag into your box.
On the back end, that hardware box comes out first and stays with you. As furniture parts come in and start to be put back together, hand the correct bag to the mover.
6. Get a LOT of wipes, soap, and sanitizer
Okay, you’re moving and, despite the pandemic, people you don’t know will be coming into your house and touching all your things.
First, minimize the stuff they touch by pre-packing clothing, linens, and other things that are easy to stash. They’ll be able to just grab the bags, tubs, or whatever you’re using. It’s better than dumping your loose clothes from drawer to box.
Before the unpack, give your empty home a good, deep clean. Floors, walls, surfaces – it all gets scrubbed. That way you’ll be starting super fresh. As you unpack, wipe things down with a sanitizing cleanser or wipes.
Collect soft materials and give them a wash. (That’s pillows, couch cushion covers, and clothes you didn’t pre-pack.) Run dishes and utensils through the dishwasher. Handwash breakable kitchen items. Generally, give your stuff a good once over to provide a little peace of mind.
For the movers, designate one bathroom for their use. Stock it with single-use towels, soap, and hand sanitizer. If you’d like, you could consider providing disposable masks and gloves as well.
After your stuff is inside, wash the floors and clean your space again.
Meg Flanagan is a teacher, blogger and military spouse. She owns Meg Flanagan Education Solutions, an education advocacy service dedicated to serving families on the K-12 journey. You can find Meg on Facebook. Meg is also available as a freelance writer and personal education advocate!