What started out as a temporary gig after serving in the Marine Corps turned into a post-military career ― several of them, really.

When he wasn’t busy moving furniture, Jesse Gartman was traveling the world after leaving the Marines in 2006. During a trip to Colombia, Gartman’s future business plans came into focus: Instead of being a mover just to pay the bills, he would start his own company and hire veterans to staff it.

And so, in 2011, Veteran Movers NYC was born. Gartman hired more than a dozen veterans, earned major media exposure, and eventually sold the business late last year to Roadway Moving Co., where it has been rebranded as Veteran Movers Powered by Roadway, with Gartman, who deployed to Iraq as a rifleman, as general manager.

Plans call for expansion outside of the New York metro area, though Gartman’s movers already handle cross-country moves to and from that region. Roadway does nearly 6,000 moves per year nationwide.

Home HQ asked Gartman for some packing advice to share with fellow Marines and other service members prepping for a personally procured move this change-of-station season. Some pro tips to consider:

  • Know your essentials. Put together an “essential kit” for items you’ll need to access right away, like medication, toiletries, pajamas, and even underwear.
  • Don’t skimp. “Always use sufficient bubble wrap (or newspaper) when packing glasses, cups and dishes,” Gartman said via email.
  • Box smart. Don’t rely on “flimsy, think boxes” to protect your dishware. If you can, pack them in plastic bins.
  • Think ahead. If you can move on the weekend to avoid traffic, do it. If you have some flexibility, don’t forget to check the weather — and don’t move in the rain unless it’s unavoidable.
  • Take stock. “Donate or give away things you do not need anymore,” Gartman said. Have some moving-related or other expenses to cover? Unload the items you don’t want to move via eBay.

Learn more about Gartman’s company here.