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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): The Closet Issue

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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Location: United States

After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Closet Issue

If you are not going to be moving on post and will live on the economy...anywhere in Europe....you're going to see one glaring omission in most homes....no closets....yes, no closets.  Sometimes you won't see light fixtures or kitchens either.  When renting a home or buying one from someone else, these things are not included.  I never researched why this is the case, cause doesn't it just seem to make more sense to have that already included so you have less stuff to move from house to house or apartment?  I bet there is some rational there, but for once, as a half European, I don't get it.  I guess that's where I am more true to my American side....I love closets!  So what do folks do about it?

Thankfully, if you are over here with the US military or government, you'll be issued wallockers.  Yes, they are the same kind you saw in basic training, minus the mirror:-) This is what they look like.

In Belgium, we are authorized one wallocker per person in your family (although at one time, the military member had two).  As soon as you sign the contract for your rental home, you can arrange delivery along with your other loaner CFMO furniture items.  Please keep in mind that everything other than the wallockers are to be used temporarily, until your household goods shipment comes in.  I know even recently, we were able to keep all this stuff, the duration of our tour.  Now, I think they are trying to keep costs down and loan them out as originally intended...temporarily.  So, they'll bring in those wallockers, slap the pieces together and there you have it.  I've found that I can only keep one season's worth of clothes in there at most and of course my husband refuses to give his up...I know, shocker.  Lately, the off-season clothes, I've been putting away in one of my large old suitcases and then switch when I need to.

Now what else can you use to store your clothes?  One of my favorites is to go Trocing to find that hidden gem.  I just recently bought a wonderful wardrobe for about 100 euro with an antique mirror on the front (see pic at beginning of blogpost)....love it!  I tried to buy one the size of our wallocker, in hopes that it'll make it through the multiple moves we still have in store for our family.  I also see wonderful 10 foot high and heavily carved pieces ala Louis XV style...many with double doors...but alas, I just can't bring myself to buy one just yet...in case it won't fit into a future home.  These Troc stores also have modern stuff, and I even found an IKEA bartable and chairs at one...exactly what I was looking for.  Go to the main Troc site (they also have stores in France, Germany, Netherlands and elsewhere...and don't laugh...many Shapians know which Trocs specialize in what type of furniture or knick knacks and antiques).  You can then narrow the results down by store or by type of piece (wardrobe, dresser, etc)....all in English too.  The one up near Antwerp is a heavy favorite around here.

Of course many of us also love IKEA.  The closest branch is about 40 minutes away in Anderlecht, a suburb of Brussels.  In fact, I know some young mothers who also use the IKEA as a break from their kids....they go on a weekday (cause weekends are too crazy and full)..drop their kids off in the play area and then have a chance to just hang out, have a coffee....lunch or just take a break from the kids...Oh, I said that already:-)

We do have a few other popular furniture stores here.  Here are a few that people seem to like and recommend.  As a sidenote, Europeans have different bed sizes than our traditional American sizes (twin, full, queen & king)...check before you buy.  For example, the furniture stores in St. Vith do have American sizes.  They also gear things towards Americans with high prices, heavy sales tactics....although you do get the VAT tax off and military discounts.  Just ask....some people love those stores because you can get quality stuff of what you really want...and others, think it is still priced too high.  Go check it out for yourself...you can at least tour the Battle of the Bulge area while you are there and make your trip worthwhile.


Recommendations:

Belot Furniture, 27-31 Chemin de Nivelles, Soignies 7060

Weba in Mons

MK Mobel
Hunningen, 48
4780 St. Vith, Belgium
Tel:  080/22 84 77
Fax:  080/22 67 29
Email:  info@mkkrings.com
Hours:  Tuesday-Friday 8am-6pm
Saturday 9am-6pm
Sunday 10am-6pm
Closed Monday (except American Holidays)

Moebel Center in St Vith

Of course, if you are as cheap as I am....you're going to hang onto a few wardrobe boxes the movers brought your stuff in....you know, the ones like these.



Ours are tucked away in a very back hallway and labeled, so should we ever need them, we can find our formalwear and things we don't have the guts to get rid of just yet.....they are dust-free and out of sight.

How do you deal with your clothing storage?

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2 Comments:

Blogger edith said...

How do you get your Troc stuff home - especially from the one up by Antwerp? Do they deliver down here?

February 20, 2011 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Thankfully, we have a minivan and many of pieces can be taken apart (like those wardrobes). If you ever want me to go w/you, just let me know. It's amazing what fits in there!

They do deliver, but anything other than the local one is outrageous. I asked out of curiosity at the Charleroi one, and they wanted 100 euro cause it was outside their delivery area:-(

Otherwise, my neighbor has a truck, and I've seen him help people out too...

February 20, 2011 at 11:59 AM  

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