by Rachel Tringali Marston
Spring is a time for cleaning and organizing.
It’s natural to start opening up space in your home and gearing up for the summer months as the weather changes. However, for military families, springtime can lead to bigger changes — a move on the horizon, for example.
A PCS looms every two to three years and when orders get cut, there are a couple of topics that fill the minds of military families almost immediately.
First is location. Where are we going? Another is the budget. How much am I entitled to? Do we have enough funds to be able to move us upfront? Those are the biggest parts of understanding and preparing for your move.
One piece of the PCS puzzle that sometimes gets overlooked is household goods. Do you know your weight allowance? It’s known that the military can take the lead with packing and shipping. Hitting your transportation office is a must-do as part of out-processing. But there is more to note than scheduling your pick-up and delivery.
There is a specific weight limit established for all military members based on rank, dependent status and gaining duty station. For example, an OCONUS PCS could mean you’re allowed half your typical weight allowance, which would be notated in your orders.
A very important point to remember is that your assigned shipping company is only charged with rounding up your goods, packing, and shipping. If you do go over the limit, the additional charges are your responsibility and could lead to thousands of dollars in overages.
Move.mil has a “weight estimator” to help you gauge the weight of your household goods you’ve accumulated. Utilize it because it can be difficult to guess weight without perspective.
There are ways to help you trim off the pounds, especially if you’re worried about busting your weight allowance. Consider these ideas perfect for Spring cleaning your home — and getting your HHG “weight” under control.
Host Garage or Yard Sales
A garage or yard sale is a wonderful way to get rid of a lot of things at once and make money! You can use this as a time to pull out your big and heavy items that might be intimidating to bring with you, especially if you’re due to move to an overseas or a large metro area. Take into consideration what you need versus items that have been taking up space in your home.
Besides taking the time to go room by room to label sell-worthy goods, all you would need to do is carve out one weekend dedicated to your garage or yard sale and spread the word. Perhaps some neighbors would want to piggyback with your sale to help spot local advertising.
Post to Online Yard Sales or Websites
Can’t arrange an in-person garage or yard sale? There are websites out there that act as a platform to sell your unwanted goods like eBay and Craigslist. Facebook opened up a local online marketplace last year too. Be sure you practice PERSEC and arrange for a safe environment to exchange if that’s the designated transaction method. You can also resell electronics and books on Amazon, helping shed even more weight. Re-Sale Apps Making reselling online easier, Facebook and eBay have apps tied to their platforms. You’ll be able to facilitate your goods on-the-go. Also, there are other buy and sell apps available like Letgo, OfferUp and Wallapop that streamlines the process. They are designed for local buying and selling.
Straight on your mobile device, take a picture of the items you’re wishing to sell and it’s visible to those looking in your local are by geotagging. You can sell items as big as vehicles or appliances, but again don’t forget about doing your due diligence on potential buyers, especially for the larger ticket items.
Donate to Organizations or Those in Need
If you just don’t have the time or the energy to devote to a yard sale or selling your items online (or, you just do not want to deal with people trying to talk you down even further on your things), donating them is a good option.
Not only will you be helping the community with your donations, you can take a tax break for those items (just keep your receipts!)
Military installations have lending closets that are equipped with major necessities for families to borrow before household goods arrive or before you purchase items for your home. Extra pots and pans or other basic furnishings are what lending closets need and rely on donations to help incoming and outing families. Contact your losing installation’s lending closet to see if they could take some of your excess weight — and help incoming families in the process.
In addition, several installations have thrift stores that benefit the community. An item can help another military family looking for what you’re donating. Local shelters and other outside thrift shops like The Salvation Army can be an avenue for donating unwanted goods as well. For larger and items that can be incorporated in the home (think building material furniture and reusable goods), Habitat for Humanity has a resale store that helps the efforts of the nonprofit organization.