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Pack It Up: How to Move By Yourself While Your Spouse is Deployed

Moving houses can be intimidating in the first place, but having to move by yourself can be downright frightening. If you're a military spouse, that might be the reality at some point in your life when your spouse is deployed.

"I am an active duty military spouse with two children and six 'on my own' moves under my belt," said Roxanne Reed, Executive Director of the Military Spouse Foundation and Marine Corps spouse. "I’ll be honest — moving stressed me out to no end in the beginning, but now I see it as a time to clean out, reorganize and start fresh."

Although moving by yourself is an ominous prospect, there are several tips and precautions you can take that will make the process much smoother and easier.

Make a list

Before you even begin to pack up your current home, create a running list of important things to remember. This is especially helpful for details that can easily be lost in the shuffle, according to a Yahoo! article. A list that can easily fit in a purse or bag might be a good idea so you can carry it around with you.

Research your new home

This is a task that will come in handier than you might think. According to the Yahoo article, it is useful to print out maps of important places in your new city so you know exactly where to go for things like groceries when you get there. This will save you the headache of scrambling to find stores you need when you're dealing with unpacking.


Instead of trying to shove everything you own into boxes to move to your new house, separate your belongings into things to keep, donate and throw away. This provides a great opportunity to de-clutter your life and get rid of excess weight before your move. "Start early going through closets, children’s rooms, linen closets and the garage to isolate things you do not need or have outgrown," Reed said. It might make more work for you prior to the move, but you'll be glad you did when you get to your new home with only the things you want and nothing you don't.

Budget for moving expenses

Part of moving by yourself is making sure you have enough money to do everything that comes with a move. Moving truck rental costs can be high, so don't let them take you by surprise. Think not only per-day charge, but also gas, mileage, etc, according to Trulia. "Budget in an extra day in case you need to keep the truck overnight, and factor in toll expenses as well," according to the article. Also take into account moving tools such as ropes and a dolly.

Packing schedule

Now that it's time to start the actual moving process, don't let it stress you out beyond what's inevitable. If you set a packing schedule and stick to it, according to Reed, you will have a much smoother move. This includes leaving a day or two devoted to packing up each room, depending on room size. Packing order is also important, as you should go room by room to manage stress.

Relax on moving day

Because you prepared well, you should be able to take it easy on the actual day you move. Since you are handling the move by yourself, you'll be able to oversee everything the movers do instead of trying to micro-manage the process.

Unpack wisely

According to Reed, unpacking well is just as important as packing well. "It’s critical that the packers place your boxes in the correct rooms after they have set up your furniture," she said. "There is nothing worse than facing four to six rooms of shear mess. Then I have the movers stack the boxes only two high up against the wall (not blocking any closets or doors)." This will make it easier for you to unpack in an organized fashion.

She also advises to "take your time and start with your room first, then the children’s, then the kitchen, and lastly the family room. Leave all the boxes for the garage in the garage to unpack when you’ve had some time off."

The 80/20 rule

Finally, Reed uses something she calls the "80/20 rule." If 80 percent of a room is unpacked, leave the remaining 20 percent for when you have a smaller block of time later on. This will keep you from trying to set up each room perfectly and save your energy.

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