Military Moving: Sell It or Save It?

Two men loading furniture onto a moving truck.

When moving, especially after having settled for a period of time, going through your belongings and packing them up can magnify just how much stuff you own. From boxes stored in closets, to bags full of miscellaneous items, people tend to accumulate tons over the years! And the prospect of moving your possessions to a new location can be overwhelming and often frustrating. Being bogged down by possessions can make an already stressful time even more overwhelming.

If your belongings are causing you stress, it might not be worth the hassle to keep them. It's not necessarily about giving things up, but more about finding a way to understand what items actually benefit your lifestyle and personal style. Having a plan, and minimizing items that you have to pack and move can actually make the process more painless.


Whether you are working with the Transportation Management Office (TMO) or pursuing a Do It Yourself Move (DITY), a move with the least amount of pressure and stress is always the preferred route.

So let's see where and how you might be able to trim some of your extras to make PCS a little bit smoother, and the moving truck a little bit lighter:

As you begin... Categorize Your Possessions

When you move to a new place, what's the first thing that you unpack? Likely, it's the thing that you use most frequently. It can give you insight into what items you prioritize. Categorize the things you know you'll use, or that you have used in the last 6 months. Some things aren't worth toting around simply because you've always done so before. Moving can be a great motivator to look at what kinds of things have benefited you most so far, and which ones you've outgrown or lost interest in.

Along the same lines... Question Each Item

If there are items that you question keeping, don't put off making the choice to get rid of them.  In fact, taking the time to take stock of and reassess your possessions can be therapeutic. Even if you do choose a TMO move, doesn't mean that everything needs to go in a neat tidy package. Ask yourself questions like, "when was the last time I used this item" or "do I use it frequently enough to justify taking it with me?" Letting go of some items can be difficult, but it can also feel liberating.

As you ask those questions... Be Tough

A main reason why people hold on to so many possessions is the "what if" scenario they play out in their mind. 'What if I need this at some point in the future...' kind of setup. One of the best ways to decide if an item is worth keeping is to think about the last time it was actually used. When we rediscover items, it's natural to become 're-excited' by them. But it's a good way to judge whether we really need them by looking at the timeline of their use, and to consider selling things we don't often use.

An easy area to get started... Get Rid of Duplicates

It happens - we can't find a particular item at the moment we need it, and so we go ahead and buy a duplicate. All of a sudden, we have 3 teapots and 5 can openers. There's no better time to streamline items than a move. Choose the most functional or most often used of your duplicates and then donate or sell the rest.

If costs are a concern... Compare Cost of Replacement vs. Cost of Moving

If you're ultimately driven by the cost of having to replace items you sell or donate before you move - you might be surprised. Since there's a weight limit for TMO moves, heavier items can take up a chunk of your allotted weight. It's a stress to consider re-purchasing an item that we already bought once, but it might actually be cheaper in the long run.

Before you sell something... Research Whether You'll Be Able To Replace It

A great reason to keep something is if you know you won't be able to replace it, or find it in your new location. It's perfectly reasonable to hold tight to items that you know are irreplaceable, or difficult to acquire. If you're unsure about the resources or potential to buy the item in the future, then keep it. PCS can be stressful, and being able to create a sense of home or comfort is essential as you re-settle. Keeping items that will be important to you, and that aren't easily replaceable will help on the other end of the move.

If you decide to sell or donate... Check Out Places To Post Sales

Some places to start with are Craigslist and Facebook marketplaces. Also, networking with those in your area can be a great way to 'upcycle' your belongings, and ensure they go to someone else who might be able to utilize them.

If you rely on these tips, you'll be able to make your move in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. And your budget as well as your financial future will thank you.

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