By Julie Provost
If you are looking ahead to a PCS in the next few months, you might be getting a bit nervous. There is always so much to do to prepare for a move, even when it’s the military moving you. The good news is there are things you can do ahead of time, even before official orders have been cut. If you can get ahead of a PCS, everything goes a lot more smoothly for you and your family.
Unless you are going to do a DITY move, the military will come and pack up everything you own for your new home. Because of this, you might be worried about your most cherished items. Stories of personal belongings being broken because they were not packed correctly are rampant in the active duty community. To avoid this, you can choose to pack your valuables the way you want in the box or packaging you choose. The movers can then pack your packed boxes. Some moving companies will ask to see how you packed your items since they are ultimately responsible.
For seasonal items, it is recommended that you do this personal packing as you put the items away during the year if you know you will be pcsing before you need them again. So after the holidays, take all of your cherished ornaments and pack them yourself before putting them away for the season.
If you know a PCS is around the corner, start decluttering now. Get rid of what you no longer use and no longer want to keep. Go through clothing and get rid of anything you won’t need at your new duty station or that anyone has outgrown. You will have weight limits when you move which are even more restrictive if you are headed overseas. Decluttering before your PCS countdown begins will give you time to look through everything and decide what you really need and what you can get rid of.
Create a PCS Binder
You want to be organized during your transition, and the best way to do this is to make a PCS Binder. In this binder, you can keep all of your to-do lists and paperwork that you will need during the move. Sections to include: your orders, any contacts you have, POV shipping documents if you need them, travel documents, medical and dental records, veterinarian records, school information, and records or anything else you might need to have on hand as you go through your PCS. Having all this information in one place really makes things easy as issues or questions come up.
You want to make sure you have a photo record of a lot of your belongings. That way if something does get broken or stolen you have picture proof of what it looked like before the movers came. Spend some time taking photos and have them printed to have on hand ahead of time.
Once you know where your net duty station is, get going on the research! One of your first stops should be PCSgrades.com where you can look into on post and off post housing options, schools, moving companies and realtors. Their Area Guides and Out & About articles are a wealth of information about what people do for fun at your new assignment, groups to join and anything else you might need to know to be prepared. PCSgrades has a great review section with information submitted by our fellow military families. This website can help you learn more about your new duty station as well as assist you in finding a realtor to get you into a nice home.
As you prepare for your PCS, try not to stress. Make your to-do list and use these tips and resources. The more you can do ahead of time, the better. Let PCSgrades help you get started.
Author: Julie Provost is a PCSgrades Blogger Affiliate and a popular freelance blogger with over 8500 page views a month on her blog Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life. She enjoys life in Tennessee with her husband, a National Guard soldier and their three boys. Julie enjoys blogging, reading, photography and a good cup of coffee. You can follow her on Twitter @bloggingJulie.