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Military Family

Tips for PCS

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Prime PCS season may be a few months away for most military families, but you never know when Uncle Sam will send your loved one home with travel orders in hand (just ask me how I know). It’s never too early to start thinking about organizing your next PCS.  And even though you may be using the contracted movers to pack and ship your HHG, you’ll still need a packing plan in place.

Here are three tips to help you prepare for your movers and make unpacking on the other side a bit easier:

  1. Make a “Go Room”:  Completely clean out one room in your home (try a smaller room like an office or dining room).  Use this room to store all of the HHGs, paperwork and clothes you’ll be bringing with you during the move.  Be sure to keep your Travel Orders and any other important paperwork in here as well.  Remember, you may not have your HHG’s right away at your new station.  You may want to bring along a couple of dishes or pans as well as sheets, just in case.  Another great benefit of the “Go Room” is seeing everything you plan on moving yourself all set out in one area.  This will help you avoid any surprises on moving day (no one wants to discover they don’t have room for everything in the car after the moving truck leaves).
  2. Hang “Do Not Pack” signs: Yes, your movers will do a quick walk-through before packing up your HHG’s.  Yes, they will forget that you told them not to pack your bathroom items.  Unless you’re hovering over the movers and directing them, they will pack everything and anything in sight.  (And I mean everything-including trash cans full of trash.)  Make signs alerting the movers to avoid packing a room.  A simple “Please do not pack this room” taped on a closed door is sufficient.  We hung them on our bathrooms as well as our “Go Room”.  Just make sure everything you want packed is out of those rooms before packing day.
  3. Bag up small items:  Storage bags are your best friend during a PCS. Sure, Mother Nature might not love you, but your sanity will.  Buy storage bags in several sizes and bag up anything loose.  I bagged up everything from our kitchen drawers (silverware and tools) to the kid’s toys.  I must have used at least twenty bags on the kid’s stuff alone.  And you know what? It was worth it to unpack their playroom and not have to dig through a box of Legos and puzzle pieces.  This may have been my biggest sanity-saver of them all!

The simplest, most basic steps can save you big headaches during your PCS.  Try these three tips during your next move and you’ll be PCSing like a pro!

Ashley is the owner and author of MamaOfAllTrades.com, a glimpse into her imperfectly perfect life as a USCG wife and work-at-home-mom to two.  In addition to running her own site, Ashley connects brands with consumers as a Social Media Community Manager.  She’s also a social media addict with a Twitter problem and spends as much time as possible traveling and watching baseball.