Two and a half weeks past our household goods delivery, and I am wondering why in the heck we own all this furniture and general household stuff. As I contemplated a missing piece on a lamp that wasn’t used at our last home, I had the thought that I would be a lot happier if we had fewer home furnishings.
If you’re newer to the military, this may seem crazy to you. However, people who have PCSed more than a time or two will relate to my frustration. You can rarely predict the size or shape of your next home, so buying furniture is a bit like playing roulette. A table that is absolutely perfect in your current home might end up sitting in the garage post PCS. Let’s not even talk about things like a German schrank, a pool table, or a anything that resembles a built-in unit.
Thankfully, there are some financial benefits to these shopping problems. As a person who has moved from biggish to tiny to big to small to huge to big but with small doors and staircases, I’ve become really good a spotting flexible pieces of furniture. Those IKEA expedit bookcases can hold food in the kitchen, clothes in the bedroom, and books in the living room. You can even turn a tall one on it’s side and put it under a window, or put a TV on top. A dining room buffet similar to a bedroom dresser can serve a wide variety of other purposes as well, including front hall table, kitchen linen storage and school supply chest. Individual chairs and love seats are way more flexible than sofas. (See my upstairs hallway for confirmation, as it currently has a three seat sofa parked there while I figure out where else I can try to stash it. I’m getting tired of climbing over.)
Also, being flexible helps you to embrace the value of second-hand furniture. I am willingly accept discards from families moving to smaller places, and I’m glad to share my excess with people who have suddenly found themselves with more space than stuff. Thrift stores become your shopping friend, and a deeply discounted half-sectional might be just right for a year or five.
You can even recoup a little of your furniture losses if you resell some pieces that are extra in your new house. I am seriously considering posting a few bookcases and said sofa on a local resale site. They are a bit PCS worn but that would mean cheap goods for a prospective buyer.
If you can try to resist the urge to buy that amazing TV cabinet, or patio furniture, or sturdy, chunky farmhouse table, you will find that your moving will be simpler and your pocketbook will be lighter. Eventually, you’ll leave the military and all that stuff can come live in your house, and you’ll have the money ready to pay for it.