You Got Soft Orders – What Now?

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So you got tentative orders to move to a new duty station, aka soft orders.

Basically, you know that you’re moving, but you might not know exactly when or even where yet.

What do you do now? After all, these orders are subject to change.

Read on for six different ways to prepare for an upcoming military move while you’re still on “soft orders”.

Start to declutter

This is the PERFECT time to start going through all of your belongings. Yes, ALL.

Take it nice and easy. Focus on one room or area at a time.

When you do, ask these kinds of questions as you sift through your things:

  • What is this used for?
  • Do I need this?
  • Am I saving this for something? What?
  • Would this be better off donated?
  • Is this trash?

Create three piles. One to keep, one to donate, and one to throw away.

You could also use this set of printable pages to help you effectively declutter.

The best part about this is that no matter where (or when) you move, this will benefit you!

Create an inventory sheet

An inventory sheet is basically a giant list of everything you own.

Regardless of where your orders send you, having an inventory sheet will be a huge benefit.

In the event that you are robbed or your belongings are damaged, an inventory sheet is what you’ll reference back to when processing insurance claims.

When doing a HHG move or a partial DITY/PPM, the movers are required to have an inventory sheet of your belongings, and will create one if you don’t make it yourself.

However, having your own inventory sheet will give you peace of mind, no matter how you chose to move.

Here is a great printable to help you know what to add on your home inventory sheet.

Gather important documents

Theses include all birth certificates, marriage licenses, social security cards, passports, medical documents, car documents, home information (title, insurance) or rental information (rent agreement, insurance), and anything else that is important to you.

If you don’t already have a system for organizing these documents, start by dividing them by type of document using this super cute & cheap folder/organizer.

Research your new area

Don’t go too crazy, but it doesn’t hurt to do some research about where you may be headed.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • What are our on and off base housing options?
  • Where is the nearest hospital?
  • Does my town have [insert favorite store]?
  • What is the main attraction in the area?
  • How far is the nearest airport?
  • How long of a drive/flight is it from here to my family?

If you want more help learning about your new area, or need help doing this research, reach out to me!

And of course, if you don’t yet know where you’re headed, you can just skip this rec 😉

Don’t make set plans yet

Before you start booking plane tickets and hiring movers, WAIT.

DO NOT make any purchases, big or small, pertaining to your move until AFTER you have received hard orders.

You will not be reimbursed for any purchases you make that need to be cancelled due to altered orders.

The chance that you’ll actually go where your soft orders send you is unknown.

Looking into travel costs and potential homes is just fine! But don’t start making solid plans until you know for sure your destination and date.

Hurry up and wait

This is a common phrase in the military. There’s a lot of waiting around to hear what’ll happen.

Receiving soft order can be so exciting! As long as it’s somewhere you’re excited about…

Remember that soft orders are just that – soft. Tentative. Subject to change.

For the milso that is super excited to move, it is absolutely ok to be excited. If you’re anything like me, you want to pack up your home right away and tell all your friends.

Just remember that soft orders can change.

For the milso that wishes to move anywhere but there, it is perfectly ok to not be excited. You don’t have to love everywhere you go. Or even like it.

Just remember that soft orders can change.

For more validation, especially amidst conflicting feelings & emotions about military life, I have the perfect book for you!

Military life can be overwhelming. You are not alone, and you CAN do this.


Feeling all the feels about moving? Check out these moving blog posts & helpful resources!

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