4 Organizational Tips For Your First Deployment As A Single Soldier

Getting ready to deploy can be intimidating for any soldier, but even more so if you're new to the military and don't have a spouse back home to hold down the fort. One way to take control of your situation and eliminate stress is to make sure you get your life organized before you deploy. This will ensure that you spend your deployment focused on your job instead of tasks back home that you forgot to take care of. Here are four organizational tips to try:

Rent a Storage Unit

A storage unit is a must-have during a deployment. Instead of stashing all of your belongings at a buddy's apartment or your parents' house, and perhaps annoying them in the process, you can securely and neatly store everything you own in a self-storage unit. This is especially important when you have furniture you love, since your family and friends are unlikely to have the space or inclination to store your couch, bed, etc., and you don't want to start over with no furnishings when you return from deployment. 

You will rest easy knowing that your things are exactly where and how you left them, instead of worrying that someone you know is "borrowing" or perhaps even throwing out your belongings. Storage facilities even offer automatic payment options, so you won't have to worry about attempting to pay your bill from your deployment location. When you return home after your deployment, your belongings will be right where you left them and ready to move into a new place or onto a moving truck if you are transferring to a new base. Contact a company like Allen's Transfer for more information.

Create a "Deployment Binder"

Creating a binder of neatly organized paperwork and documents and then leaving it with a close friend or family member you trust can make life much easier once you're deployed. Some things to include in the binder are:

  • An emergency contact list.

  • Chain of command for back home—which soldier your family should contact if there is an emergency, and who they should contact if that person is unavailable or has since deployed, etc.

  • Bank account and credit card account information in case you unexpectedly need your trusted person to help transfer funds or pay a bill while you're away.

  • Most soldiers also include a copy of their will as well as their military life insurance policy.

  • Copies of important documents like your social security card, military ID, and passport.

  • Unit and deployment details.

Make Arrangements for Any Pets

If you managed to snag off-base housing instead of living in the barracks, you very well may have a dog, cat, or other pet. It is unfortunately very common for pets to end up in animal shelters when their military owners deploy, but this is unnecessary and sad for both you and your pet. Instead, make arrangements for someone you're close to (and who loves pets and can reasonably accommodate them space and lifestyle-wise) to keep your pet while you are away.

If you can't find a responsible friend or family member to take in your dog, there are actually organizations to help you find a volunteer to foster them while you're away. Be sure to leave clear instructions regarding vet visits, food, treats, walks, etc. You should also leave them enough money to feed and care for your pet while you're gone, including a bit extra in case there is an emergency. Don't forget to bring their bed, toys, leash, and food and water bowls.

Set up a Savings Account

If you only have a checking account right now, this is the time to set up a savings account. Deployment pay and deployment bonuses can quickly add up, especially in a situation where there are few opportunities to spend money. Set up automatic transfers to savings for a percentage of your pay each month. You may be surprised by what a nice nest egg you return to after your deployment.

By taking the time to follow these tips, you can head to your deployment in a more calm and organized state of mind.