I am excited that Cort is sponsoring this article, because I absolutely love the opportunities they provide to our military members to save money. Did I mention yet I am frugal and have an expensive empire-building habit?
We are currently embarking on our fourth PCS in six years. So, I can tell you that the worst part of moving is trying to arrange drop-off and pick-up with the movers. I don’t know about you, but after struggling to find a house, getting to the new duty station location, and being without my stuff, all I want to do is unpack and have life get back to normal. Right now, we are on our third visit to Whidbey Island, since we are not big on site-unseen visits. At this point, I am super ready to be done with this process and settled in our newest location.
Sometimes settling down is easy — all you have to do is make a phone call and your stuff is on its way from storage, or you’re lucky enough to get a door-to-door move. Other times, it means waiting for months as your stuff is shipped OCONUS…and this is when things get uncomfortable. These HHG shipments can take 90 days or more, and that’s if there are no delays (and we all know how PCS seasons goes).
Nothing is as fun as living on an air mattress that half-deflates itself every night. On the other hand, trying to gather furniture from Craigslist (or buying new items) can be time-consuming, expensive, or both. And then you have the issue of figuring out what to do with the furniture when all of your other stuff arrives.
While you do get an express shipment (and airlines are nice and allow you more than the traditional moving allowance), unfortunately the allowance is not enough to smuggle your kitchen table, mattress, or most other must-haves for survival.
Some bases are awesome and have a lending closet to borrow from until your items arrive. But while a few bases have tons of items, others have none. So if you’re anything like us (who seem to spend all of their time at small bases), you end up scrambling.
Well luckily, in today’s time, we do have some options.
How to Live Like Royalty While Waiting on HHG Shipments
1) Couch Surf
The husband and I totally did this for months when we moved out to NAS Lemoore in 2013. While we really appreciated strangers (who became dear friends) putting us up, it is difficult not having your own space when you are in a new area. On the other hand, we made great friends who introduced us to the area quicker than we would ever have been able to do ourselves. Plus, the price was awesome!
2) Stay at the Lodge
We did this for two weeks before we started staying with friends. While this is totally doable, it does get expensive and lodges fill up (so always overbook ahead of time, because it’s easier to cut down on time than add it), not to mention that, with larger families, a one-room place can get small very quickly.
3) Borrow From Lending Closet
Many large bases, especially those that are overseas, have a lending closet you can borrow from while you wait on your furniture. This is perfect, as you are able to get everything you need for free until your stuff arrives.
Unfortunately, not every base has a great lending closet, and none of the bases we have been stationed to has had this, to my knowledge.
This can be the cheapest or most expensive route, depending on what you find. I know I have been able to find $200 sofa sets, but there have also been times when I struggled to find a sofa for less than $800. In addition, you have to furnish an entire house. I don’t know about you, but that hurts my back just thinking about it! This is great for a few pieces, but furnishing an entire house (and then having to get rid of it later!) is a lot of work.
5) Renting Furniture
This is one of my favorite options. CORT delivers the furniture, stages it, and picks it up. All you need to do is live there. So easy, and so worth it.
While staying out of your home is definitely an option for those of us with large families or pets (3 in our case), getting into our home as quickly as possible is definitely our first choice. Our crazy, furry little ones are loved by us, but their 7 a.m. antics and adorable bouts of playfulness (also known as tearing around and acting crazy) can wear down our welcome quickly.
In our younger years, crazy was fine. But as we are getting older and less tolerant, our goal is to get into our house right away with as little effort as possible. As cheap as stuff can be found on Craigslist, I know that I won’t want to be hauling furniture in and out of our truck (and we are lucky enough to have a truck). So, the next time we are in an empty house for a long time, CORT is definitely going to get a call! The ease is totally worth it to us.
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Elizabeth Bennett Colegrove says
Thank you!! Glad you liked the blog!! I definitely recommend you signing up for the newsletter so you get all the updates to the cool new programs coming out this year!
Great article. I like to call air mattresses “raincoats” as sometimes you arrive at morning no longer on an air mattress but wrapped in something that resembles your raincoat.