If you have been following this series on moving, you have already gotten started on your moving lists and you’ve heard about the moving notebook my family has prepared and kept for each of the military moves we have experience. So, what’s the big deal? Not only will I tell you what we include in our notebook, I will try to explain why. These are not intended to be a comprehensive list, this is a list of examples of things we have found handy to have access to either before we move, during our trip or upon arrival but before we have time to unpack any boxes.
1. Medical Contact Information
2. Immunization Records for Children
3. Emergency Contact Information for children
4. Housing Contract/Information
5. Moving Budget Spreadsheet
6. Information about your new job.
7. Church options in your new location
8. Military: Travel/Move Orders
Did you notice the business cards in this picture? These business cards are for realtors on both ends of our move who were taking care of the sale and purchase of our homes. Another business card is for my husband’s new boss. If you don’t like this method of using the notebook cover, you might get a business card holder. Include business cards for your doctors, dentists, realtors or rental agent, new bosses, old bosses, basically any person you might need to contact during your trip or before you unpack your boxes and find your address book at the new location. Maybe you have these contacts in your iPhone, but maybe you don’t because your iPhone just got a whole glass of tea dumped on it and you haven’t backed it up in a while.
Why would you want to have your immunization records? It’s possible your child will step on a rusty nail in the Grand Canyon on your way across the country (for instance) and you might like to save that child the pain and hassle of a tetanus shot. Or, it’s also possible they will get a weird new virus on arrival and your new pediatrician will want to start a file. Either way, having a minimum of basic immunization records will be helpful.
Why would you want medical contact information? This is probably really obvious. I like to have the name and number of each of our doctors in case someone needs quick access to our medical records before we unpack. In fact, we take copies of our medical records because we are a military family but if you don’t want to do that you will at least need contact information.
This image shows an “index” page my husband made for one of our notebooks. Here’s why we keep track of a “moving budget”. Staying on track financially is really important when you are traveling because it is so easy to overspend in this situation. Having an idea of how much you want to spend each day in print, and keeping track of how much you are spending will keep you from ending up in a big hole when you arrive. For military families, keeping expenses below the daily allowance is easier with tracking.
In the unlikely and tragic event that you (the parent) are killed in an accident during the move, having emergency contact information may or may not help the authorities get in touch with family members. But, put it there for peace of mind anyway. And, if you have older children let them know.
Organize your moving notebook and make sure it is in a safe place so it doesn’t get packed. You might even think of more things to put into the notebook. Other things I have had in my notebook include window measurements for the new house, paint strips, an inventory of the items we have with us in the car, an inventory of our books, cds, and videos the movers have on the truck, pictures or video of all our furniture items in case of damage, and video of our electronic appliances working right before they were loaded onto the moving truck.
A similar just for instance story about immunization records actually happened to me. During one move as a child, I had a rollerskating fall while the movers were loading the truck, and I split open my chin. My dad took me to the ER and my mom stayed home to supervise the movers. (My mom doesn’t do blood if she can help it.) Since my medical records were at home and not in the military facility, they couldn’t verify that I was up to date on my shots. My dad just told them to go ahead and give me an extra tetanus booster.