Moving time: Now what?
Think you know how to move? Think again
By Kathie Hightower and Holly Scherer - Special to the Times

Kathie and her husband recently completed the 20th move of their military life.

Her experience made us realize something that probably happens to many of us as we continue to move with the military. Here’s her story:

“This mover is packing up my kitchen and he says, ‘Ma’am, do you have a Ziploc bag to put these refrigerator magnets in?’ Ah hah — of course! Why didn’t I ever think of that in all these years of moving?

“So this time, I ran around putting all kinds of things in Ziploc bags: the contents of each bathroom drawer; my jewelry; silverware divided into forks, spoons and knives; my pens and pencils; medicine bottles by size — all those things I’d already organized once in this home. This way I can immediately see what they are when I unpack and they are already somewhat organized and ready to put away.

“Easier for the packers and easier for me.”

This is a technique many military families probably already know. But think about it: Unless you ask your friends and neighbors for their moving tips in detail or you are with them when they pack out, you never know all the tricks they use, especially the ones they simply assume others use too.

Another thing happens as we continue to move with the military. We check out available moving resources the first few times we pack out, then assume we know what is available. How many of you go to your local relocation office or family services office to find out what new resources might be available each time you move? As it turns out, new things become available all the time.

One such resource we discovered before Kathie’s recent move is Army wife Sandee Payne’s book, “That Military House: Move It, Organize It & Decorate It.” Kathie discovered a number of new ideas in Payne’s book that helped with this latest move.

Plus, as she said, “I particularly noted how many of Payne’s ideas would have saved me grief in previous moves. For example, Payne suggests purchasing furniture that will fit many different ways and in many different-size rooms. If I’d thought to do that early on, it would have saved my husband and me countless years of sleeping on a mattress and box springs on the floor since our large antique headboard rarely fit into a bedroom or up the stairs.”

Another set of books worth checking out is by Beverly Roman, who has published more than 20 books on relocation issues. These include books to help children and teenagers with upcoming moves, such as “Let’s Make a Move” (for children age 5-8) and “Footsteps Around the World: Relocation Tips for Teens.” You can find them online at

You can also find downloadable checklists and moving information at and

Check these resources out before your next move. You just might learn something new.

Kathie Hightower and Holly Scherer are two military spouses and authors of “Help! I’m a Military Spouse – I Get a Life Too!”

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