Most military families take advantage of the moving services provided. In this, our second and final military move, we opted again to move ourselves. When you are doing the packing, loading, unloading and unpacking yourself, you're very motivated to minimize the volume of stuff you bring. Forced to examine every object in our Georgia home during the packing process, we turned up in New York with just what we needed - and what our new, smaller space could comfortably accommodate.
You also have a lot more control than you do when you hire movers. We chose our move dates, for instance, and unloaded the truck in an order that made unpacking easy - breaking down and exiting boxes as we went to make space to maneuver in the apartment. You can do that when you're not paying an hourly fee.
One of the things we did that made for a smooth move was to order new furniture instead of bringing our old things with us. Obviously, this doesn't always make sense financially. When we left our DC apartment for our house in Georgia, we took every stick of furniture we owned. In downsizing, however, we found that the proceeds from our estate sale exceeded the cost of ordering a few essential pieces (a new mattress set and 3 chests of drawers). Our coffee table and 3 occasional chairs accompanied us on our journey - but they took up very little space on the truck. We saved a lot of money not having to transport major pieces up the coast, and we were thrilled to have our new pieces delivered to the apartment rather than having to move them ourselves.
We were sad to trade in our antique wooden dressers for pre-fab Ikea ones, but the new look works well in our contemporary-sty;e apartment. We didn't have to worry about damaging our furniture and there's actually a lot more room in these drawers than in our old ones.