Why do simple things cause so much grief? You can handle a six-month deployment without breaking a sweat, but a temporary duty (TDY) three hours away destroys you. You brave the commissary on payday for milk, but avoid Black Friday shopping because those people are crazy. You can PCS across the world, but the thought of moving around the corner gives you heart palpitations.

Sometimes military families have to move in between their orders. The reasons can vary from needing more space to a change in rank, or simply because your current landlord decided to not renew your lease, sell the house you’re living in, or is moving back.

What makes moving around the corner so much harder than moving across the country? Oh, just a few things…

  1. The moving company isn’t doing it.
  2. There’s no built-in leave.
  3. The costs aren’t reimbursed.
  4. It’s done in the middle of real life.

How will you tackle all these things while still maintaining your title of “kick-butt military spouse?” We’ve got some suggestions, of course.

4 Solutions When You Move Between Orders

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Problem: The moving company isn’t doing it.

Solution: Do it yourself.

Okay, so technically, a moving company can move you. It’s not a common choice, though, because hiring movers costs a chunk of money. However, if the price is right for your family you can hire packers, movers, rent a truck, or pay some friends.

If you don’t want to shell out a couple of grand to move, you will have to take the time to do it yourself. Consider purging before moving to lighten the load. It’s a great time to rally the troops – no, not your kids – and invite friends over to help.

If you are hiring movers or have friends coming over to help, complete as much as possible before anyone shows up. The last thing you want is for people standing around while you get things ready.

Problem: There’s no built-in leave.

Solution: Plan the move around a convenient time for you.

PCS comes with a few perks, including permissive TDY. Typically, your service member is available to help with packing, loading, moving, and unpacking. However, depending on the operational tempo and their job, that may not be an option for your local move.

The obvious solution would be to have your spouse take some leave. If that isn’t possible, the next best thing may be a long weekend. Having four days (or a ‘96’) will be helpful to get everything done. With enough prep work before the move and a great group of friends, you can definitely make it happen.

In a worst case scenario, you will have to pack and move bit-by-bit over a few days or even weeks — moving one minivan load at a time. Look on the bright side: you can cut down on the number of boxes you’ll need.

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Problem: The costs aren’t reimbursed.

Solution: None.

As a military spouse, you will go ten-rounds about whether you can make money on a PCS or not, but when it comes to moving locally, you will not. (If you can disprove this, comment below with your secrets!)

You can, however, save money wherever possible – like by renting a truck for the least amount of time or collecting boxes from neighbors. Of course, if you are moving to a lesser expensive rental, you’ll be saving some money. Budgeting really comes in handy during a time when you need to be extra smart with finances.

Problem: It’s done in the middle of real life.

Solution: Put this first and make the time.

You’re probably an expert at hitting the pause button on life just long enough to drive across the country, hang the curtains, and sign your kids up for school. But there’s still a built-in time buffer before you’re supposed to “do life” at your next place.

When you move around the corner (likely over a four-day weekend) you’re still balancing homework, soccer games, and work. It’s unlikely you’ll have enough time to take a week to unpack and hang pictures, but you can still make the most of your time.


Most importantly, give yourself a break. If you’re stressed, moving is going to be much more difficult. Being a military spouse makes you an expert at this moving thing, but you can still benefit from these tips. Good luck!

Did your orders change at the last minute?
Check out this article on 5 Ways to Cope When Orders Change

move between orders

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Photo Credit: Eastern Sky Photography – NC

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