Let’s look back on when you first joined the military. What are some of the first things you were taught? Beyond the “yes, sir / no, sir” and other basic responses (five, if you went to the Naval Academy), one of the first things we learned was how to put all of the bags of gear and uniforms they just gave you into a teeny little locker. Over the years, this has not changed.
My father still folds all his clothes the same way the Air Force taught him in the 1960s, and thus, I still fold my shirts, shorts, and socks the exact same way I learned at Annapolis twelve years ago. Habits stick. Routines stick. There is a reason why so much of what we do in the military goes by a checklist and people are able to rattle off items without a second thought. It saves time and saves lives.
Your deployed life will be infinitely better if you are organized and and are able to establish a good routine. No one likes living out of a suitcase / duffel bag / sea bag. Here are items you will need to get you organized:
- Clothes Hangers
- 3M Command Damage-Free Hanging Hooks
- Tupperware three drawer containers (before shipping Tupperware to your deployment site, talk to people that are leaving, they might have storage items they don’t want to take back home. If not, Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond will ship to APO addresses, Container Store will not.)
- Closetmaid fabric drawers, in both the regular and mini sizes (minis are great for my toiletries, lotion; the larger bins are perfect to put workout clothes, socks, uniform t-shirts and more. You can them flat to ship home.)
Don’t forget to add some color to brighten up your room.
1. Non-Slip Shaped Hanger Storage Device by MAWA | 2. Closet Skinnies Flip Flop Hanger | 3. Gena Pedi Feet To Go Kit | 4. Sterilite Large 3 Drawer Cart White | 5. ClosetMaid Cubeicals Light Purple Mini Fabric Drawer | 6. Earth Therapeutics RX3 Manicure Pedicure Deluxe Kit | 7. Birchbox Skincare
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get organized, get into a routine, and get ready for whatever your job has in store for you.
1. All those tricks and tips they taught you in boot camp, OCS, ROTC, use them. You will be able to put all five bags of gear into one locker. Ever had to switch out your spring / summer and fall / winter closets back home because you were short on space? It’s the same concept. And on the bright side, you don’t have nearly as many pairs of shoes to deal with.
2. Storage containers: Find ones you like that work for your space. It helps you be more considerate of the other people you live with because no one wants someone stepping through their stuff with dirty boots. You also don’t want to put your clean clothes on the floor. Who knows how many years of dirt and nasty germs are caked into the ground? If you’ve got space for your clothes in a closet or wardrobe, use your storage containers for your beauty supplies, snacks, care package goodies, etc.
3. Clean your face every day: I know every beauty expert says this, but they’re generally referring to making sure you take your make up off before you go to bed. I am telling you that in the morning and at night you need to clean your face. This means full on washing, a scrub, cleansing wipe, Biore pore strips, toner on a cotton ball. It doesn’t matter which products you choose, your skin will thank you.
4. Pick a day where you can set aside some time for you. There will be times where you will be frustrated, annoyed, angry, disappointed, or dejected. You may just want to stab someone with a fork. Take 15-30 minutes for yourself each week. This could be for shaving your legs, plucking your eyebrows, using a face or hair mask or painting your toenails. I don’t care what you do, as long as you carve out the time for you. Make THAT part of your routine. Indulge yourself. You deserve it!