This move was officially our fifth military move in four year. We are no where near pros at this but every move I feel like I learn a couple new tips, tricks, or lessons to make things a little easier. Our first move from Virginia to Florida we learned that DITY moves are not for us, no matter how much money you make. Later we learned about Hire a Helper and the benefits of packing a new home box.
This move, I feel like I learned three huge lessons:
1. If you have the option, just pay the cleaning fee!
On base, the housing people encourage you to take the move out package where you pay a set cleaning fee ($120) instead of cleaning the house yourself when you move out. We chose to do this and it was honestly the best decision ever. Every other move, we spent so much time at the end trying to intensely clean baseboards and ceiling fans so that we would get our full security deposit back. We also always had to set aside all of our clean supplies to clean all the room when our packers moved all of our furniture out. This time, we wrote a check for the $120 and literally did nothing else. We left the house in the condition it was in (just clean like a normal day, not scrubbed down), let the movers pack our things, and enjoyed our last few days with friends. It eliminated something that is usually a stress and headache from our list and made move out so simple. PLUS since we paid them to clean it, there is no way that they were going to charge us for something not being appropriately cleaned! As for our budget, we simply calculated that into our DLA (dislocation allowance) money.
2. Take advantage of TLE!
Every move before this, we would pack our air mattress in our car and sleep in our old/new home until our stuff arrived and our bed was set up. Finally, I realized this is silly because of this wonderful thing called TLE! TLE is travel lodging expense and what this means is that you (your husband) rate ten days of lodging expenses at your old and/or new duty station, not combined with your normal travel days. In regular terms - you can stay at the Navy Lodge both at your old base while your stuff is being packed and your new base while you are waiting for your stuff to be delivered (up to 10 days total) and the military will pay for it. Not only will they pay for it but they will also pay you per diem for those days to cover your meals.
TLE is an option whether you use it or not. If you use it, you get reimbursed the money. If you choose not to use it, you don't get the money. I realized how much easier it makes a move to have a real bed, clean towels, tv, and wifi on those weird limbo moving days where everything is half packed and shut off. Plus getting the per diem was awesome to cover all those meals out. We will ALWAYS utilize this option now!
3. Be nice to your movers!
Knock on wood, we have had really great luck with our movers so far. I know this doesn't always matter but a lot of times I think a little kindness goes a long way. Sure, our movers showed up a little late, complained about things that were in their job description and had a few hiccups but the least I can do (in my opinion!) is feed them lunch and tip them when they safely move everything I own from one state to another in just a few days. I think the movers are always a little more considerate with your stuff (and your timelines) if they like you vs think you are a jerk ;)