The dreaded waiting game. We’ve all been there, and Meg is currently there right now. Will you go, or won’t you? Where will you go? Have you been there before? If you’re like us you want to start feeling like you’re moving forward with your move, even if you don’t quite know where you’re going yet. Here are five things you can start doing now to prepare for your move and maybe save a little money and stress along the way.
1. Shop Your Pantry, Freezer, and Fridge. Embrace Shelf Cooking!
It’s pretty common for people to leave their freezer and pantry until the last minute and then end up being so stressed out by their move that they end up just throwing everything out, rather than worrying about perishables going bad. This is such a waste of food, especially considering it can cost hundreds of dollars to stock a pantry from scratch, let alone all those condiments we all love in the fridge (hello 8 different flavors of Cholula sitting in my fridge right now). I mean heck, I have $16 bottles of fancy, herb-infused local olive oil in my pantry. I’m not throwing that out!
Consider in the weeks and even months before your upcoming move, committing to consuming the food you already have in your house. Have you heard of shelf cooking? It’s a term coined by one of my favorite mom bloggers Jordan Page over at FunCheaporFree.com and it means exactly what is sounds like it does : cooking mostly meals from what you already have in your house and on your shelves. When you make your weekly meal plan, start first with the ingredients you have in your house and then only buy what you need to complete that recipe. Ta-da! No food will go wasted. And if you only have non-perishable items left, pack them (if you’re remaining in the continental U.S.). Most movers will pack your pantry items, as long as they are sealed. And some will even wrap opened bags in duct tape and pack them!
2. Embrace the Kon-Mari Method.
Have you seen the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo? If you haven’t, get out from under your rock, grab your sock drawer and tune in. This woman is delightful and has THE hands down best decluttering and organizing tips I have ever seen. I made the mistake of reading her book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” when I was 8 months pregnant with Finn and I about drove my husband nuts. Take this time pre-move to go through your home and touch everything you own. Yes, I really mean touch everything. Does it bring you joy or make you feel weighed down with stress? Do you want to have it be a part of your story? Does it serve a real purpose, or are you holding onto it “just in case”? Get rid of it, girl. For real, if you haven’t even looked at it in months (or it’s still in a box from your last move), donate it or sell it on Facebook Marketplace.
3. Buy a Case of Wine.
You may think I’m joking but hear me out! What’s your favorite thing about the place you’re living now? Hand poured candles? Amazing, regional wine? Wild crafted soaps? Polish Pottery perhaps? Whatever fancy, location-specific items you have fallen in love with buy a case of it. Or two! And bring it with you in your personal vehicle. I wish I would have taken a case of Pirtle Wine with me from Fort Leavenworth and every time my girlfriends get stationed there I send them to Pirtle with explicit directions of how much Effervescent Blueberry wine to consume (tip : It’s a lot. The bubbles are amazing for brain clarity). You will regret not taking a little piece of your previous home with you so take this time to think about what items you want to carry with you to enjoy in your next home.
4. (Groan) Make a Budget!
I know, I know, borrrrring! But now is the time to start piling up cash for your move and create a budget. Sure, you can put travel expenses on your credit card and wait for the government to reimburse you but learn from my experience and remember : “ish” happens with government finance. It took nearly six months for us to receive our reimbursement from our last PCS. That was six months of credit card interest we would have paid if we didn’t have the cash saved up for our move. The costs really add up fast, too. Moving supplies, cleaning, carpet steaming, renting Uhauls (if you do partial DITY moves), meals, hotels, etc. My head is spinning. Even if you just make a rough draft of what you are expecting to spend you will be better prepared and handling unforeseen costs will be a heck of a lot easier. Not to mention you won’t have to be stalking your bank account waiting for that check.
5. Take Pictures (Lots of Them).
See the gorgeous woman on the top right? I wouldn’t have survived my first year of motherhood with Finn without her. My own mother jokingly nicknamed her Saint Vickie, and for good reason. She came over and washed my dishes, brought me food, held my anti-sleep baby, filled my wine glass, held my hand while I sleep trained, and taught me so much about myself that I will be friends with her until the day I die. We all have those people who changed our lives and that make a duty station worth it so make sure you take the pictures and drink the wine and make the memories. Reach out to them for help when you’re moving and pre-book visits before you depart. Have as many family dinners and girls nights as you can. We all know how long it takes to find your people at the next location and your soul needs that bank to be full for a while.
Do you have any tips, whether hilarious or real, that you want to share? Leave it for us in the comments below!
Love & Whiskey,