PCS or permanent change of station. For the vast majority of military families, this happens at least once in an enlistment. For career military it happens more often.
Besides a deployment, this is one of the biggest changes in a military families life. It means often moving across the country or world, leaving behind friends, schools, jobs, and an area you’ve become familiar with. Then there is the physical act of moving – packing and sorting and boxing up things that found that perfect niche over the years you’ve spent in a home. I don’t know about all of you, but it seems the longer we are settled somewhere the more things we accumulate that wouldn’t really fit anywhere else. Often times, we don’t even know where we’ll be living when we move (like here) so once we get in things just have to work.
Rented or owned, apartment or house, each move includes the same basic details. Even if you choose to have the military move everything for you, there is still a process that all of us go through. The military has a weight limit based on family size, and then there’s facing those things that you just can’t bear to pack, unpack, and shove in a cupboard to not use for the next 4 years.
I’ve moved 9 times since we’ve been married, not all for the military. Nonetheless, I’ve got a pretty good idea of how to organize, clean, sort, and pack quickly and efficiently. Here are some tips to help get you started.
- Have a spring cleaning every 6 months. Things tend to accumulate that you just don’t “see” anymore, so twice a year, open up the cabinets and the closets and pull out stuff you haven’t used and won’t use again.
- Organize things into labeled boxes. Having more kids and want to keep those clothes no one is wearing? Sort by months or year and then label. When it’s time to move, they’ll be ready to throw in the truck.
- Donate or sell your stuff. Many military bases have base-wide garage sales that go on. If not, think about hosting your own or giving your stuff to a charity like Goodwill. A plus side is that your already overflowing trash bins from cleaning won’t continue to get bigger with things others could use.
- Think about advance storage. Are there things (seasonal, old clothes, unused furniture, etc) that you could box up and put into storage before you move? It keeps it out of your way and ready to go.
- If you don’t want to take appliances, or want the money from selling, be sure to find a place that has all of them you do need included. No point in selling your washer for $300 only to have to buy another for $500 because your new place won’t provide one.
Make sure to look over both old and new leases carefully. If you’re renting out your home, decide who is responsible for lawn care, outside maintenance, etc. Have a plan for your stuff leaving before you do, or arriving before/after.
What are your tips for getting a home ready for a PCS?