By Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Director of Strategic Communications

We all have our share of horror stories when it comes to military moving!

Name the most disgusting item erroneously packed by your movers… for me it was used coffee grounds and of course, trash. For others, I’ve heard everything from wet towels to dirty diapers. I’ve caught movers raiding my fridge, lounging on my mattress in my front yard, and throwing out items that they’ve broken. Raise your hand (or have a drink) if you ever had packers show up late (or not at all).  Ever had packers get into a shouting match among themselves as they were packing your china? Or have you caught your movers throwing boxes down the stairs to the basement? That would be me!

Lessons Learned

With each military move, there are “lessons learned”. For instance, I won’t go into great detail but let’s just say after watching one packer go directly from using the restroom back to packing my kitchen without washing his hands, we now use gigantic ziplock bags to “pre-pack” all my kitchen utensils.  A packers’ bare flesh has never again touched one of my kitchen utensils.

My family’s last military move was by far the shortest, only 1½ miles up the road. We were moving from a rental to a home we purchased. It was by far the worst in terms of damage and overall angst. I think because we were only “moving up the road” the pack job left a lot to be desired. I found one box of dishes which had not one piece of wrapping paper! Instead two throw pillows from my family room were used as a buffer! Amazingly, nothing was broken! Go figure!

When I heard glass shatter in the moving truck, I asked one of the guys what shattered.

Mover Guy: “Just a light bulb.

Me: “You mean one of the bulbs I wrapped and packed into my car because light bulbs are on your ‘Do Not Pack’ list?

Mover Guy: Blank Stare

Total Recall

Just by reading about some of my family’s military moving experiences, you have recalled at least a half dozen of your own horror stories. But honestly in looking back, there were a few bright spots. Such as the packers who saved the kitchen for last so that I could get everything I needed into those sanitary Ziplocs. Movers who asked permission each time they went into the fridge for a soda or water despite the fact that I told them to help themselves. Or the packer who found two twenty dollar bills in the hallway and turned them over to me rather than shove them quietly into his own pocket. He made that $40 and then some back in a tip.

There are moving companies I would gladly call on again and others that I wouldn’t use if they paid me! And now PCSgrades has made it possible for you and I to share our moving experiences, the good, the bad, and yes even the ugly.

With the launch of the Moving Company Review platform, PCSgrades is giving military families a voice in the PCS process. We can now interact with and review the people and companies that move our household goods and our lives around the world.

Here are 7 reasons why you should go to and submit your review:

1.Every review submitted strengthens the voice of our community, providing a little more control for our fellow military families that has never existed in the PCS process before.      

2.Reviews from the military community can often provide peace of mind that your belongings will be treated with respect.

3.Thorough reviews can also highlight the shortcomings of a particular company, so you can better guard against them.   

4.PCSgrades Moving Company reviews can HELP you with your “choices” and yes, you actually do have some choice! You can always choose whether or not you want to DITY/PPM or partial DITY/PPM. In some cases, you can actually request to work with or NOT to work with a particular moving company (although still subject to DoD approval). If you read reviews about your moving company that indicate a history of damaged electronics, would you consider a partial DITY for your most precious electronics?                                                                                        

5.YOU can impact the future of the Military Moving experience! Many moving companies are very leery of online review forums. Legitimate reviews from verified military members in an open, third-party forum will have a much bigger impact than anonymous/un-verified reviews…and certainly more so than venting in a closed group on Facebook.       

6.You can arm Military/Veteran Support Organizations with unique and reputable data from your reviews so they can wield even greater authority when engaged in advocacy on behalf of military families everywhere.                                       

7.The PCSgrades review process is meant to encourage and reward positive behavior among the companies and professionals we all do business with. Our interactive review process allows participating companies and PCSgrades members to start a conversation through our messaging system. This is unprecedented. Reviewers have the option to ignore the message, continue the dialogue anonymously through the messaging system, or to exchange contact information and take the conversation offline. The choice is yours!

Help each other! 

Please go to and write your PCS story in a Moving Company Review. And spread the word! If we band together and document some of these horror stories, we can MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Carla Olivo has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel and their two children. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.