By Allyson Miller, Army Spouse
I am a Virgo who is married to a Logistics officer, so it should come as no surprise that we own a label maker, all of my spices are in alphabetical order and we have a moving checklist. Although we add to our checklist with each military move, somehow, we always end up forgetting something.
Halfway between Fort Lee and Fort Knox, I realized I had forgotten our son’s medical records. I accidentally left my glasses prescription at Fort Leavenworth. And I can’t tell you how many times we’ve ordered items from Amazon, only to have them ship to our old address.
There’s a reason most civilians don’t move every few years – it’s a lot of work! Even if you remembered to pick up the kids’ immunization and medical records, got the cat vaccinated, filled out the change of address form and made an inventory of your high-value items, did you retrieve everything you’ve loaned out? Check to make sure none of your credit cards will expire while you’re traveling? Pick up all the dry cleaning?
Don’t Cry Uncle!
I am currently one week out from the packers arriving and if it wasn’t for the PCSgrades checklist, I probably would have thrown my hands in the air and gone out for margaritas.
Additionally, with every prior military move we’ve had at least 3 months between receiving our orders and moving. This time we had less than 30 days. So, when I saw the moving checklist, I printed it and immediately stuck it in my PCS binder.
After first glance, I felt a little faint as I realized we had bypassed most of the bold-faced categories: 3-6 months before your move, 2 months, 1 month. We were 3 weeks out and there were a lot of boxes to check off! It helped that this is a CONUS move, although we are literally moving from sea to shining sea.
“Your Checklist Saved my Life!”
Use a PCS Checklist
I had to start somewhere. So, I flipped to page one, 3-6 months before your move, and started working my way down. We didn’t have 3-6 months, but if we were about to forget something, it was better to know now.
Ya Gotta Love Military Moving!
As it turned out, I had already done most of the 6 month, 3 month and 2 month tasks. But I always panic in the last few weeks. In the mad rush of picking up records, getting the oil changed and dropping off another pile of donations, I forget the other details. Put a checkbook in the PCS binder. Assemble the first night box so we aren’t ripping into boxes in search of the paper towels. And now I’ll download a Mover’s Notice. This lets our moving company know up front we’ll be reviewing their performance on PCSgrades after the move is complete.
The PCSgrades checklist addresses CONUS and OCONUS moves. Additionally, it is thorough without being overwhelming. It has helped keep me on track and calm. I know that if I feel like I’m forgetting something, I can just refer to the list. PCS moves are barely controlled chaos but at least now it’s organized, barely controlled chaos. And that’s good for everyone, even a Virgo and a Logistics Officer.
“I believe strongly in what you are all doing at PCSgrades and I believe that the only way the moving experience is going to improve is by using our own voices to rate REALTORS ®, moving companies, and landlords.”
Allyson Miller is an Army spouse, mother of one and a blogger for The NeighborGood, a blog that focuses on finding and sharing the experiences that make each duty station unique. The Miller Family is currently stationed in Los Angeles, where they have developed a new appreciation for Cali-Mex cooking and how to navigate the 110 freeway.