Trying to balance PCS weight allowances with a happy household
Please note, I originally wrote this article to be one all-inclusive document, but realized it was entirely too long. I’m posting this in four parts to make it easier to follow. Links to the other pieces are at the end of this post.
Even after you are moved and settled in your new area, it is easy to forget that another transfer will be looming somewhere in your military future. As with most anything, consolidating your possessions is easier done in small projects and over a longer period of time, working slowly and steadily.
- Here are some ideas about how to continually “trim the fat” during your entire tour:
- Keep a tub for donations. Put it in a place the whole family can access and add to as needed. When it is time to run errands, grab the tub and make the drop-off. Note that some organizations will not accept stuffed animals or pillows. Call to find out their policy beforehand. Also, try the local animal shelter which may need old blankets to make their occupants more comfortable.
- Keep a box for family members. We always have items we don’t care to keep personally, but want to give to someone we know will enjoy it. When family comes to visit, we have them pick their favorites from the box—the rest gets donated.
- Sell the excess. With the ease and convenience of the internet, you don’t even need to leave home to make a little money from your unwanted stash. Check out eBay and craigslist to reach thousands of buyers with a few clicks.
- Sell the excess, too. Look into your base thrift store to find out if they accept consignments. Find out if your community has second-hand bookstores, music stores, and sports equipment or video game resellers and make a little money on your pre-loved possessions.
- Make a sale. Host a garage sale with your neighbors or take part in a nearby swap meet/flea market.
- Give to someone that really needs it. Donate large, quality pieces to Goodwill or a church or school fundraiser. Ask if they have donation pick-up for your gift. Also, there may be a local family who has lost their home due to fire or natural disaster that would be very appreciative of your thoughtfulness. During our time stationed at Homestead AFB, south of Miami, Florida, Hurricane Andrew struck and we lost basically everything. Through the generosity of family, friends, and strangers alike, we were able to make a home with the clothes, household items, and furnishings that had been given to us.
- Think before you buy. Yes, that gorgeous set of Christmas dishes is on clearance, but how often will you really use it? The clothes at your favorite retailer currently are being sold at a fabulous discount, but do you really need them? Are you buying because it is something you really need, is for a gift, or just because it is on sale? Saving 30% on something you will only use once, may actually be a wasting 70% of your money.
Best wishes for you and your family as you make the shift from one home to another. As they say to retiring sailors, “Fair winds and following seas.”