When it comes time to relocate or move to your next duty station, a few of the typical resources come to mind. Services like transportation companies, professional packers, and movers, and clearing or storage companies might top the list. However, there’s another, often overlooked or procrastinated area of moving that should definitely be on your radar. Settling in.
While the priority of relocation is typically getting all of the physical and logistical details taken care of promptly, it’s also important to plan for how you and your family will adjust and begin to feel “at home” in your new city. Below are helpful suggestions along with specific relocation resources you might not have considered in making your transition.
Offload Your Extra Weight
Self-help author Gretchen Rubin coined the phrase, “Outer order, inner calm.” If you have just lived through a PCS, it’s highly likely you are in need of some calm. As you are getting your boxes unpacked and all of your household goods sorted through, use this as an opportunity (if you haven’t done so during pack up) to be discerning about the items you own that no longer serve you. Consider donating them or selling larger, more valuable items to recover some of the investment you made. Sites like NextDoor, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist are a great way to let go of the burden of the extra items you don’t want to hang on to any longer.
Get Organized and Set Some Priorities
During a relocation, it can sometimes feel like you don’t have a lot of extra mental space for all of the needs competing for your time, attention, and energy. You meet a new neighbor and quickly forget her name. You hear someone recommend a good dentist or hairstylist and try to remember for a later date. Or, perhaps, you just have a to-do list a mile long. Instead of letting all of those thoughts and tasks run rampant, find a new-to-you app to help get you organized. Sites like Wunderlist and Trello can help you to categorize big projects into smaller, more digestible tasks. Start some helpful lists to help you remember the whos, whats, whens, and wheres of your new place. Housing it all in one place will simplify the information gathering. And if managing another app sounds harrowing, there’s always the old standby of a pen and dedicated notebook for list-making.
Be a Hometown Tourist
As you are starting to clear the physical and mental clutter surrounding your PCS, it’s time to start exploring the new area. There’s nothing like visiting popular and off-the-beaten-path local attractions as well as all of the best restaurants and entertainment options your city has to offer. Some great resources to help guide your research as sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and local blogs that give residents the inside scoop on upcoming events. The sooner you can get out and start learning the lay of the land and finding your favorite hot spots, the sooner this new place will begin to feel like home.
Get Connected Where It Counts
Now that you are finding your rhythm for your new pattern of life, moving (pun intended) from hometown tourist to contributing community member is a must. Whether you plan to find a job or dedicate yourself to meaningful volunteer work, getting connected through sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, professional service and alumni organizations, or your local Chamber of Commerce can fast-track your involvement. Getting plugged into meaningful communities both inside and outside of your military circles is often the difference between surviving and thriving at a new duty station.