Preparing for a Permanent Change of Station Move

Moving Day

The most important thing you can do to make moving day as smooth as possible is to be flexible. There are many things that will be out of your control: the weather, the moving company, unforeseen issues, scheduling conflicts, etc., but there are ways to make the transition to your new home easier. Below are a few tips for making moving day less stressful:

  • You may want to take a few days off to get your affairs in order. The military allows servicemembers to use vacation days while in transit to a new station. You may also be allowed 10 days leave to look for a home near your new station. Servicemembers on an unaccompanied tour of duty overseas are also eligible for a four-day leave to help their family move.

  • If you elect to use a moving company at the military’s expense, you'll be spared much of the hassle of moving, but good preparation is still wise. Adequate preparation will make the transition quick and reduce the chance of property damage.

    • Keep items being shipped as household goods separate from items being shipped as unaccompanied items.

    • Drain flammable fluids from lawn mowers, snow blowers, etc. Also, drain hot tubs and water beds.

    • Get rid of any excess clutter and old or broken items in the weeks before your move.

    • Clean and organize your home for packing. Fumigate for insects, wash the dishes and do the laundry beforehand.

    • Move all your personal belongings out of storage areas such as attics, basements and crawl spaces.

    • Unplug any appliances that will be moved.

  • Appraising any priceless or expensive items you own may be worth your while. If they end up missing or damaged, you can collect from the military. At the very least, take pictures or videos of all your valuables (especially furniture) so that you will have proof of their condition prior to transport.

  • You must be, or have someone, at your home between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. while the movers are packing your belongings. If you cannot be at your home while the move is taking place, the person you designate to be there must be stated in writing.

  • Be sure that every carton and loose item the movers pack is properly labeled, your inventory papers are thorough and correct, and that every item in the house has been packed.

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Joe's Notes

JoeSpeak: Accompanied Item

Item that accompanies a servicemember and their family members and is carried with or on their person. This category includes luggage, personal documents, jewelry, etc. These items do not count against your weight limit.

JoeSpeak: Unaccompanied Item

Item that would be needed upon immediate arrival to a new home, such as linens, kitchenware, bedding, cribs, professional items needed for the new assignment, etc. These items count against your weight limit and are packed and shipped separately from other household goods.


Don't ship small items of value like jewelry, photo albums or personal documents. Carry them with you.