Military Spouse

50 Tips You NEED Before Your Next PCS Move

About to embark on your very first Permanent Change of Station (PCS move)? A seasoned pro at the moving game? We asked our Facebook community for the one thing they wish they knew before their last PCS. These are all great PCS move tips (even when some of them contradict each other) that are sure to help you before your service member receives that next set of orders. What would you add to this list?

1)  Make sure the coffee machine is packed in one box. Every piece was packed separately in different boxes during our last move.

2) When they call out the box numbers, instead of looking for each box on those bajillion papers just write the numbers on a blank sheet. Then on the lunch break take that sheet and then mark them off the bunch of forms. So much easier and faster.

3) I bought scrapbook paper in various patterns. I assigned a different pattern to each room. When the movers packed the rooms I taped that paper to the boxes according to the rooms it belonged. When they got to the house I taped a sheet of each of the patterns on the doors to the rooms. It made it soooooo easy for me and the movers to know where each box went.

4) Save more money beforehand! You will need more than you think.

5) You have the option to pay for extra insurance through TMO (they’ll try and discourage you!)… voila! YOU’LL GET BETTER MOVING COMPANIES/SERVICE and LO AND BEHOLD NOTHING BREAKS!

6) If you tip your movers before they start they take extra care with your stuff!

7) The one thing that really can’t be fixed/replaced will absolutely get broken.

8) You will need like 30 copies of your orders.

9) Don’t keep so much stuff out to carry with you! We had SO much stuff checked onto the plane. It was ridiculous.

10) Renting sight-unseen is a bad idea. Always.

11) Do not buy new furniture prior to your PCS move!

12) A DITY move is hard, yes, but 100 percent worth it. From Oklahoma and Texas to Nellis AFB. Nothing broken, nothing missing and we banked! The amount of money made on a DITY move that only took seven days (packing, loading, driving four days, unloading, unpacking) was so worth it. We’ll be doing it again in four months.

13) Pay the cleaning fee when you are leaving housing. Cleaning yourself for inspection is an added stressor that is not needed during an already stressful time.

14) Have a garage sale prior to the move and get rid of everything you can. Having less to unpack at the new house is a good thing.

15) Double check all cabinets and the storage under the stove before packers leave in case they missed something. And don’t forget the attic!

16) Prepare to be unemployed for a lengthy period of time. We would have budgeted for a much smaller house payment if we knew how long I would go without a job.

17) Take photos of all things before the packers arrive. That way, if you have to make a claim of missing/damaged items, you have before photos to aid in the claim process.

18) Check the packing list twice. Last move, the packers placed two smaller (hand woven afghan) rugs inside a third bigger rug. Only the big rug was on the packing list, and only the big rug made it, as the two smaller ones were not on the packing list or tagged with a number.

19) Over estimate for utilities in your new location when you are figuring your budget. It may cost more than you anticipated.

20) Extensively research the schools and choose housing based on that instead of the house or proximity to other things.

21) I’m a National Guard spouse. I thought our only option was a DITY move. I was seven months pregnant. I wanted to murder my husband when I found out someone could have moved us. Sometimes the extra money is totally not worth it.

22) Don’t sign the inventory sheet until you inspect every piece they have marked as damaged during the PCS Move!

23) Colored duct tape! A different color/print for each room. Made unloading the trucks a breeze!

24) Pack and move or ship important/valuable/irreplaceable etc. items yourself.

25) Photograph or video everything including the condition of the housing prior to move in AND after/during move out so they can’t try to charge you for stuff that isn’t actually damaged/missing after you leave.

26) When getting ready for the movers, empty out a closet then put things in the closet that you need after the movers leave. Like all your essentials and meds… then put a big X with tape and put a note saying ‘Do not pack.’

27) Call ahead to your next base for information about temporary housing, if your family center or command has a lending locker, and what all you can borrow. We brought a home worth of supplies and didn’t need any of it.

28) Make sure you take the “parts box,” not the movers. They lost our sons crib parts last move. So he was in a pack ‘n play for an extra week until they could find replacement parts. (Put all the parts, screws, bolts, etc., in separate Ziploc bags and label them… then take them with you.)

29) Do your research on crime in the different areas you are considering securing housing.

30) Research your job market before putting a certain duty on the wish list.

31) Save your Post Retirement move until you really need it. You only get one, but you can use it when you really need it.

32) Keep a copy of your family medical and dental records with you. Don’t forget the pets too!

33) Make sure you unpack and send all the boxes and paper with the movers. They will NOT come back and pick it up like they say they will!

34) Do research on the area you are moving to. Find out as much as you can.

35) Prepare, prepare, prepare. Organize everything before the movers arrive.

36) Have a PCS folder to keep all your documents and a file to hold all your bills to contact all the utility companies and have numbers at hand.

37) Scan all of your photos or take them with you.

38) If you notice the movers doing a less than professional job, contact the PPO right then and there and STAY ON THEM.

39) Make sure to ask your doctor for extra refills of medications before you leave. Ask for them in written prescription form, that way you can fill them when you get to your next duty station while you wait to get set-up with your new provider.

40) For those looking for employment after PCS Move, don’t forget to use your Family Support Centers and DOD resources.

41) When you move yourself, make sure you keep every receipt, no matter how small, and weigh the truck before you load and after you load. You might have your reimbursement denied for little things like that…leaving you to foot the bill.

42) To label each box while packers are in the process of packing to make sure 50 boxes are not labeled ‘misc.’

43) Watch the packers actually pack your stuff. We had irreplaceable items just thrown into boxes with no packing paper. Toys that were damaged because they were packed in huge boxes, request smaller boxes. There may be more boxes but at least your stuff will not be crushed by the weight of everything else.

44) Make sure to empty those trash cans before the movers arrive. They WILL pack the cans full of trash. Not fun to open when you get to your destination!

45) Ask a neighbor to watch the pets so you don’t have to worry about them running out the door, or worse, jumping into a box and meeting their demise on a moving truck.

46) Don’t delay getting to know other military spouses, or making friends in your new community. Use Facebook groups, family readiness and other base programs to meet new people.

47) Everyone has a horror story. Learn from these stories but try not to focus on everything that can go wrong.

48) Make sure to follow up with your previous utility companies about a month after you move and make sure all bills are paid in full. It is no fun to print out a credit report six months later only to find out that a $50 electric bill is now a bad mark on your report after you thought everything was paid and the bill was lost because of your change of address.

49) Don’t forget to take care of yourself by continuing physical activity and eating as healthy as you can during your PCS Move. Getting to your next duty station 10 pounds heavier and feeling sluggish because of your diet is not ideal.

50) Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. And if all else fails, buy some Dixie cups, a box of wine, order take out and find something to laugh about each day. This too shall pass.

Click here for more information on your next PCS Move!

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