A PCS (permanent change of station), comes with many benefits but it also comes with its own struggles if you aren’t prepared for it. If you’ve received orders that your family will have to relocate there’s no need to panic. Just follow our simple PCS moving guide for a smooth transition into your family’s next adventure! Do bear in mind that this guide is specific to those undergoing a CONUS (Continental United States) PCS move.
DECIDE IF YOU WANT TO HAVE YOUR MOVE ORGANIZED FOR YOU OR IF YOU WANT TO DO A PPM (PERSONALLY PROCURED MOVE)
You will have the option of having the military organize and plan the move for you or taking the reigns and having more control over your move. There are benefits and downsides to both.
- If you decide to have your move scheduled you request your pickup and drop off dates through your TO (transportation office). This method is less flexible to your personal schedule but alleviates the work of having find and schedule movers and packers yourself.
- With a PPM (personally procured move) you can decide when the packers and movers come and go plus if you’re savvy and don’t end up using your entire budget you can even make a little money. For detailed steps on a PPM check out this handy guide!
DON’T ACCUMULATE MORE STUFF BEFORE YOUR MOVE
Do not make the mistake of going shopping before your PCS move. Just don’t do it. You may be tempted to buy pieces for your new place or clothes to fit the climate that you are moving to but do yourself a favor and wait until you get there.
GO THROUGH THE HOUSE AND TOSS ANYTHING THAT YOU HAVEN’T USED RECENTLY
If there is something that you haven’t used in the past year and it doesn’t hold substantial sentimental value, toss it or donate it if possible. If you have a box that you still haven’t unpacked from your last move, definitely toss it. There’s no point in spending time, money, and effort packing and transporting things that you don’t need or want.
DOCUMENT EVERYTHING YOU OWN
Your phone is going to be your best friend. Take photos in each room and organize your pictures into folders by room. Photos are essential because unlike doing an itemized list you can also accurately document the condition of your belongings.
SET ASIDE YOUR ESSENTIALS
Don’t pack up everything. Leave the essentials out so that you have them on hand, especially since your delivery might not occur right when you arrive. You’ll probably leave out your loungewear but keep out things like business clothes as well, in case you have a job interview after you arrive. You also want to set aside important documents, jewelry, a few toys if you have kids, and toiletries. Check out our blog on first night essentials for more ideas!
BEGIN THE PACKING PROCESS
During the packing phase the most important thing is keeping your belongings organized. Ensure that your packers are putting items in groups depending on what they are, such as keeping all of the tools to make coffee together. Another huge step is labeling each box with detail. These little steps will make your unpacking process so much easier because you won’t have to root through boxes to find things.
IF YOU HAVE KIDS MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE THEM IN THE PROCESS
To kids, moving can be like the idea of having their world turned upside down. Sit down with them and explain where you’re moving and why it’s happening. Give them the opportunity to say goodbye to their friends and let them know that moving to a new place can be exciting and fun. After the move, make an effort to set up playdates and outings with neighbors.
KEEP A DETAILED LOG OF ALL YOUR RECEIPTS AND PAPERWORK THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS
Make sure that you keep track of all of your receipts, invoices, and paperwork throughout the process. Whether that be digital or paper logs you don’t want to lose track of them.
DON’T PUT OFF UNPACKING ONCE YOU ARRIVE
One of the best things that you can do is to get settled in as quickly as possible. You’ll probably be tired by this point in the process but it will help your new place feel like home and it will lessen the chances that you end up leaving half of your boxes unpacked for months on end.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR NEW NEIGHBORHOOD AND HOME BY DOING FUN THINGS
Making the most of the exciting parts of moving will make the process so much easier. The first night you get to your new home try a local restaurant and plan out all of the things that you want to explore over your first weekend there.
After receiving orders that you have to move, remaining organized is the key to an easy PCS move. After your move, focus on the positive aspects of moving to a new place and the promise that a fresh start holds.