Most families groan when orders are posted because (let’s face it) PCSing can often be a frustrating hassle. But let’s be honest, if there’s one thing military families know how to do, it’s move! If you’re a little nervous (or just need inspiration) for your next move, don’t worry– here are 12 important tips that can make your PCS more organized and less chaotic:
Banish disappearing, dog-eared papers and the frustrating question, “What did we do with that?” by creating a moving binder for the move. Grab dividers and create sections for financial information, to-do lists, packing lists, the moving company (if you’ll have one), and logistical information from the military and your new home. Bonus points: hang onto your binder after your PCS and keep it handy for the next one!
Spend time before your move going through your closets, basement, and attic and getting rid of things that are broken, outgrown, not useful, or not trendy. If you have time before your PCS, sell what you can online or at a yard sale. What you can’t, give away. What you can’t give away, recycle or throw out. If you have boxes you haven’t unpacked since the last PCS, go through them to make sure priceless family heirlooms or memorabilia are not in them and then get rid of them. Chances are, if you haven’t unpacked it since your last move, you don’t really need it. (This is especially important if you have a certain weight limit you must be under.)
Literally start off fresh in your new home by packing washed, clean linens, clothing, and kitchenware. You’ll be so happy you spent the time when you start unpacking on your first day at your new house and can slip into a bed with clean sheets and use clean towels to shower.
Take pictures of all of the important, expensive things that will be packed and moved by the moving company. If anything is broken or ruined during the move, you will need to present evidence that it wasn’t broken before the move. Make sure your photos are time stamped. For computers and TVs, make sure that a website or channel with the day’s date is projected on the screen. For speakers or other equipment that needs to run to show that it is working, take video! If you’re not sure how to put things together (like the wires in the back of your wireless router or TV), take photos of that too, so that later you’ll be able to reassemble it stress-free.
Ah, the remote: such a small thing that creates so much frustration if it can’t be found. Make sure that you keep track of where it is by clearly labeling it or even packing it in your first night box.
You’ve probably heard about keeping the movers sated… but the packing crew needs a little love, too. Treat the people who are handling your stuff well—have water or other drinks on hand and treat them to lunch or breakfast if you’re able.
Packers will literally pack everything that is not labeled “do not pack.” That means, yes, even your garbage. Avoid a nasty surprise in a month or two by making sure that the garbage cans are either labeled “do not pack” or the garbage isn’t in them.
Most movers will not pack liquids, batteries, and candles. Know how you’ll handle these items (Throw them and buy others? Move them yourself?) ahead of time.
DITY (Do It Yourself) moves catch a lot of flak… but make sure that you investigate your moving options before you dismiss them out of hand. DITY moves are a great way to move for short distances (and it is possible to save money on your move) with the added bonus of knowing exactly where everything is packed and stored.
Take photos of how you left your rental or base housing in case you are later responsible for damages that you did not incur. When you move into your new place, take pictures of all of the rooms and any areas (like cracks or stains) that might present problems in the future. And of course, never sign off on your rental sheet until you’ve carefully noted all issues that you’ve noticed with your new home.
As with everything in life, make sure that you read the fine print of all documents before you sign and date them. When it comes to the moving company, do not let anyone pressure you into signing the inventory sheet until you have inspected everything that needs to be. Now is not the time to be timid.
PCSing can be intimidating and nerve-wracking, but it can also be exhilarating moving to a new place with the possibilities of new friends, new adventures, and new opportunities! Even if you’re not excited about the move, try to keep an open mind and find the good in everything. A positive attitude will help make the PCS even smoother.