We have just celebrated the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence; now how can we declare ourselves free from stress? This is particularly challenging when you have a move across the country looming over your head.  The key to managing stress before a move is to get rid of all of your belongings and buy all new items at your next duty station. If only it was that easy (or even a remote possibility). Most of us could not possible get rid of our belongings and wouldn’t want to anyway. But, I can dream right? Here are some tangible ways to manage stress before a move that do not involve purchasing a whole new household worth of items.


Have a game plan, make sure you know the answers to the following questions:

• Will you do a DITY move or a PPM (Personally Procured Move)?
• What will you pack yourself?
• How will your pets make it to your new home?
• Will you ship or drive your vehicles (POV)?


You will be able to sleep easier at night knowing you have a plan for your move, the less “unknowns” you have the less stressful the move will be.


I know we do not always get advanced notice, but we often have a pretty good idea when our next move could possibly be happening. Do not leave all of the organizing until the last minute. Inventory your current belongings; including taking photos of everything in its current condition (this could be VERY helpful should some of your items be damaged in the move). Pick a room to go through each day and get rid or donate items you do not need. Here are some tips for the kitchen and office.


Take advantage of other military spouses' knowledge! Visit the "I'm Moving To...” discussion board to share your insight of a military installation or find someone who has been where you are going. Do not forget to check Facebook®. Most installations have an official Facebook® page and — sometimes — even one for spouses to connect. This is a great place to meet a new friend before you even move. I think advice about the best neighborhoods and schools comes from people who can give a first-hand account.

If you are interested in living on the installation, call the housing office to inquire about housing and potentially, be placed on a waiting list. The housing office's number can easily be found on your new installation's website.

Finally, Have fun

Take a week to revisit your favorite things about the place you are leaving. This will be a nice fun break from the moving stressors. You can also help your kids make a memory book of your favorite places and friends.

Will moving truly ever be stress free? Unfortunately not; but using some of the aforementioned tips, you can hopefully be free from some of the unnecessary stressors during your next move! Please share how you make your move a bit easier in the comments!

Additional Resources:

Military Lodging Facilities Help Eliminate Stress

Occasional Visitor
Very useful tips. The one that has always help me is proper planning and using a calendar. I annotate all kinds of tasks to be accomplished from utilities to be turned off to the scheduled appointments such as packing day, car drop off, etc. I have made a few moves in my 18+ years in the military and my last 3 have been as a single parent including overseas moves. If you have kids and if at all possible have them spend time with relatives so you don't have to worry about them when the movers are in your house. You don't have to worry about their safety and trying to keep them entertained especially the last week or so of your move. The bright side..... If you don't like your current duty station, you get to try a new one. Do your homework by researching your new area, plan ahead, think positive and have fun.
Briana Hartzell USAA


Thank you for commenting! THREE moves by yourself! :) You definitely are an expert on moving! Thanks for sharing your tips; leaving the kids with relatives is a great idea! I too, keep track of everything on a calendar (I feel lost without my daily planner). Thanks again for sharing your tips and experiences!