MOVING for any one is a huge process, but moving every two to three years and across the country is a feat many of us face as we get posted, often with a few months to prepare.
Whether this is your first experience or your tenth move, the same checks and balances need to be applied. Here we look at tips of what to do and what to avoid this APS.
1: Inform yourself as much as possible
The GoC has a DND Relocation Directive document on its website which is a useful tool for learning all you need to about compensation, benefits and entitlements. It’s a mammoth document which is sub sectioned so you don’t need to trawl through 100+ pages to find what you’re looking for. The policy is often updated so be sure to re-read to make sure the info you have is the most current.
It’s likely you’ll receive a Pre-Move Booklet which you need to acknowledge receipt of by signing and dating. It too offers a myriad of information; what is asked of you and what you can expect from the carrier/mover. Listed is also items which they won’t move for you, so it’s important to read through and have any questions answered. Write notes in the booklet and get names of those who you liaise with or who come to your home for the pre-move consult. Anything you’re not sure of, ask and write the answer for easy reference in future.
2: Learn about your New Area
Military Family Resource Centres are a tremendous asset and can offer a lot of info to you ahead of time. So too are social media groups for a specific area – whether military linked or not. Introduce yourself and ask questions, as someone will always have an answer and remember, no question is ever too small or too silly. You may even forge friendships ahead of time and get to meet up socially as soon as you’re moved. This is also true of online groups for Mom and Toddler or for a specific school. The more you involve yourself, the sooner you will feel part of your new community.
3: Plan, Plan and Plan some more
As with all things military, there’s a policy and procedure to follow for everything! You need to let Brookfield know as soon as your posting message is through and confirmed. If you’re not going to be moving in to a PMQ then finding a Realtor in your new location and booking your HHT as soon as you can is a must. There are social media groups that list realtors who are military relocation specialists, or ask for referrals. A good realtor will take a lot of the stress away and will be able to connect you with other professionals that they work with and trust – a lawyer, mortgage agent, insurance specialist.
You should have a checklist of things that need doing and create a folder for your new home and your current property. If that also needs selling or renting and you’re juggling family, jobs and other commitments, things can get overwhelming. Doing an internet search for ‘Moving Home Checklist’ will give you options to print out, or there’s apps like ‘Moving Checklist Pro’ which does it all from your phone. Take photos of the homes you see on your HHT and once you’ve decided and bought/rented your new property, an app like ‘MagicPlan’ is great to help you map out where all your furniture will go in this new space.
4: Be on top of moving:
This is a must. Anything you do not want the packers to touch, put in an area (closet/bathroom) and tell them they aren’t to go there. Their mission is to pack everything! Get Zipper bags of varying sizes and pack liquids. Also take the screws out of furniture, cribs, desks that need disassembling and put in zipper bags. Either attach securely to underside of furniture, or keep labelled and all together in a Rubbermaid container of all your valuables, personal items, liquor and necessities that will travel with you in your car. Put your remotes in here and a kettle/cups! Things you will need quickly when you get to your new place and which you don’t want in one of a hundred boxes.
Another good idea is to put drawer contents in zipper bags and then put them back in the drawer. This is great for office drawers, or ‘hold all’ drawers in the kitchen – pens, paper clips, chargers, sewing supplies.
A great app to use is Sortly. This lets you take pictures of your inventory and track it across locations. It’s also a good way to make sure you have a record of the condition your possessions are in before the move. Don’t be afraid to watch your movers and direct them with your things. Remember, this is your home and property and you’ll want to mitigate mistakes and accidents as much as possible.
5: You Got This!
The Canadian Military Spouses Group on Facebook offers a wealth of knowledge and great links to groups, associations and individual advice. Above all, remember the CAF is a tight community who cares for its own. Ask for help, ask for advice and offer suggestions and insight when you can.