Preparing for your next posting- 8 things to consider!
By Tara Tuttle – Bask Life Coaching
PING- that lovely noise the notification makes as the email slides into your inbox. It contains the news you’ve been anticipating – your posting order! You’re off. Away again for the next chapter of this adventure they call Military Life.
THUD- the imagined sound the weight makes as it falls onto your shoulders. The invisible burden of planning and orchestrating yet another move.
GRRR– the soft grimacing rumble that escapes, just barely under your breath, when non-military friends and family remark on how easy the move will be because ‘they do it all for you’ and ‘you’ve done it so many times before.’
SIGH– the vibration of energy and air as you exhale and resign yourself to another phase of stress and chaos.
These are the familiar sounds of the posting season. Ping. Thud. Grrr. Sigh. Before you embark on your next solo performance of Posting Cycle – The Musical, read below my top 8 things to consider when preparing for your next posting.
Keeping these items top of mind will help reduce some of that initial sense of chaos and overwhelm and have you giving the performance of a lifetime.
Start Planning Early
If your existing posting is coming to an end in the next 6-12 months start the planning phase now. Don’t wait for the posting order to start thinking about your move and what could be done in advance to make the whole process smoother. Your planning starts by examining the following items on this list and actioning what you can- even if you don’t know exactly where you’re headed yet. The better the plan, the smoother the process.
Create a master list
It could be pen and paper, an excel spreadsheet or a project management tool but, however you capture the data, you need a master list that everyone involved has access to. On this list include ALL the things, no matter how major or trivial. Things like redirecting mail, notifying schools, booking pet travel and planning a farewell party. This list will capture everything so that you don’t have to carry the entire to-do list around in your head. Being diligent about referring to and updating this master list will help to keep anxiety and overwhelm at bay.
Where possible break the bigger items down into smaller manageable tasks. For eg, ‘Tidying the yard’ might be broken into steps of: trim hedges, weed garden beds, remove cobwebs and clean the deck. It is critical to assign each task to a member of the household and ideally add a due-by date. You can colour code items for each member so they can see at a glance how much is required of them and by when.
Examine your accommodation situation
Are you currently in DHA, a private rental or do you own the home you live in? What would you like your housing situation to be like in your new location? The answers to these questions will inform what you need to do while preparing for your move.
If you’re in A DHA place, you may have minimal to organise before you leave the property. If you’re in a private rental, check with your property manager or your lease document- are you required to organise carpet cleaning, pest sprays, professional cleaning or garden repairs before your departure? If you are living in your own home, will you sell or lease it, and what do these options involve?
Discuss with your spouse what you intend to do at the new location and get a feel for it. Join location-specific spouse Facebook groups to ascertain if the DHA market is tough and you should be contemplating a private rental. If the rental market is tight, get in contact with property managers in the location early to let them know your timelines and wish-list and get the jump on others for newly listed properties.
Are there things you will be unable to take to your new location? If yes, consider what will you do with these in advance. This might include house plants, pets (for example you cannot move pet rabbits to Qld) and food items. Will you sell them, discard them or re-home them and how close to your moving date will this occur?
Are there things you’re happy to part with before the move? Are there things in your home that aren’t even yours? Is there trash or junk in your home that could be tossed or recycled now? This is something you can start doing early to reduce the volume of your consignment and the stress of dealing with the excess stuff at your new location.
Take action now by:
- Returning anything that doesn’t belong to you to its owner
- Removing all of the trash/ junk to the recycle centre or tip
- Decluttering your unwanted things- sell or donate location-specific items like clothing or hobby items, things that haven’t been used (or might even still be in the box!) since your last move and things you are unable to pack or take to the new location (e.g.: paints, plants etc)
Learn to relax your standards
The time before, during and after a move can be pretty stressful. Start thinking early about ways you might be able to relax your standards to reduce some of the self-generated overwhelm. Can you plan to prepare easier meals or eat takeaway occasionally, have groceries or meals home-delivered sometimes, lower the frequency or level of housekeeping or loosen the rules around kids screen time for a while? Think about some practices or standards which you keep that could add to the feeling of over-exertion and identify a solution in advance to lower these during the posting period.
There is an abundance of help out there, we just need to learn to ask for it and accept it when it’s offered. If a neighbour offers to take your garbage to the tip, an acquaintance says they’ll make your family a meal or friend suggests they can watch your kids for a couple of hours – say YES! Accepting help is not admitting weakness, it’s admitting that things are easier when the burden is shared. Forget trying to do and be it all during this time and let people help you when they offer. Better still, when someone asks you how they can help, instead of shrugging it off with the usual response of “I’m fine,” give them something to do. Tell them you‘d love if they could take the dog for a walk or help you dismantle the trampoline. People genuinely want to help, so make it easy for them to do that and you’ll find having a tribe to assist makes the whole thing more manageable.
This is critical and often gets left off the pre-move to-do list. Being run ragged and even worse; falling ill, can make an already stressful time into a traumatic one. There never seems to be a perfect time to rest so plan for it. Put it in your calendar and make it sacred. Consider a meal out, a walk around the neighbourhood, a coffee with friends, an early-to-bed night or even checking off some of those location-specific activities you thought you’d do but have been putting off for later. Moving to a new location isn’t just about ‘survival’ – try to stay healthy and energized throughout the process.
The posting cycle is a season of noises. Ping. Thud. Grrr. Sigh, and many more besides. Keep my 8 tips in mind when you next get posted to make sure this performance is somewhat of an enjoyable show and not a drama-filled one.
Tara would love to connect and share the journey that is Defence Life.
Please go say hello over on Instagram at @basklifecoach or Facebook at Bask Life Coaching.
You can also listen to Tara’s podcast (co-hosted with Rebecca Mezzino) Be Uncluttered
Be Uncluttered is all about exploring the practical and theoretical aspects of decluttering our homes and minds, reviewing organising trends and books, interviewing guests and sharing their stories and wisdom to help you on your journey to be uncluttered.
Click here to listen.
* Tara is a Defence Spouse currently posted overseas with her Air Force Husband and two daughters. I have followed Tara for a few years and she has become a beautiful friend despite us never meeting in person.