We all know an upcoming military move or PCS (Permanent Change of Station) can be stressful for everyone in the family. I have found the easiest way to relieve my stress is by obtaining as much information ahead of time and being organized. Hopefully this list of PCS Tips will help relieve your stress and make your move go smoothly.
PCS Tip #1 - Scan all of your Important Documents - Scan and keep them digitally on a separate disk or in a cloud storage system, just in case.
PCS Tip #2 - Get Stuff Out of the House – If you aren’t having the packers move items, such as china, jewelry, suitcases etc, then get them out of the house. Good options for these items are in your car, an empty closet or bathroom (but make sure you shut the door and place a huge sign on the door saying don’t pack this stuff.)
PCS Tip #3 - Hide Personal Items (things not being packed) - Place small items like your wallet, keys, and cell phones in an appliance such as the refrigerator or oven, but don’t forget to remove them and take them with you after the pack-out. This is just a simple place to put them so the packers won’t accidentally pack them up.
PCS Tip #4 - Designate an Area – Place your decorative and breakable items together in one room (usually dining room), and take all the pictures off the walls and put them together in one room to be either mirror-packed or wrapped and boxed. The more you can do to sort/label/pre-pack with bins or bags, the smoother the unpacking.
PCS Tip #5 - Bag Everything – Use Ziplock bags for everything! Put all loose items from kitchen and desk drawers in ziplock bags. Then you can just toss them into the drawer in the new house. Another tip is to take the nail or hook from each picture, and put it in a sandwich baggie and tape it to the wire on the back of the picture or the back of the picture itself. Then there is no need to hunt for the right nail or hook when you arrive at your new house.
PCS Tip #6 - Organize Dressers - Put all your clothes that are in dressers in separate garbage bags, or clear recycle bags with a dryer sheet and label which dresser drawer they go into ( ex: baby, top drawer underwear and socks). Otherwise packers will dump everything into boxes until the box is full. Do the same with extra towels and linens.
PCS Tip #7 - Organize Closets - Zip tie hangers together in bunches of 5-10 hangers. Place in wardrobe boxes. Once you get to your final destination, pull hangers out of box and place in closet.
PCS Tip #8 - Buy your own Plastic Wrap- If you have items in plastic bins wrap the bin with plastic wrap before they get there. This way they won’t accidentally pop open during the move. You can usually buy the moving plastic wrap and dispenser at Staples or Home Depot.
PCS Tip #9 - Save your Toilet Paper and Paper Towel Tubes- Put all your cords to electronics in the left over cardboard tubes and labeled them. It will make setting up the entertainment system super easy
PCS Tip #10 - Throw out the Trash – Empty the trashcans and wash the trash cans before the packers show up. Tip: Ask the movers to make a tall box, then you can tape trash bags on the inside and put the trash can in that box.
PCS Tip #11 - Clearly Mark Everything – Use colored duct tape to designate which room each box goes to. *NEW* (new tip added) Print your name, cell # and GBL (long serial number). This way if a box gets lost in the move, hopefully the person who finds it will call you.
PCS Tip #12 - Ask for Extra Boxes- Ask the packers to leave a few extra boxes for your bedding and other last minute items you will need for overnight before they come to pick up your stuff.
PCS Tip #13 - Designate an “Open Me First” Box – Write on an empty box the words “Open Me First”. Inside this box should contain paper products, soap, towels, sheets, a pot and pan, and anything else you will need the first day you get there. If your stuff is going into storage, then take this box with you.
PCS Tip #14 - Watch Them Pack – Be polite and kind to the packers, but let them know you are watching them. Walk around to each room and speak to them. Walk next to them as they are loading large pieces of furniture so you can help them navigate the walls. Stand outside next to the truck as they are loading heavy furniture. Don’t annoy them but kindly ask them if there is anything you can get them.
PCS Tip #15 - Disconnect the Washer and Dryer – Make sure there isn’t a load in the washer and dryer, then disconnect them at least 48 hours before you move so they have time to dry out.
PCS Tip #16 - Take Photos of Everything – Make sure you take photos of all your belongings especially those items labeled on the pack out sheet as “scratched”.
PCS Tip #17 - Get Help - Have a friend over to help if you feel overwhelmed. Hire a babysitter to keep the kids occupied so you can watch the movers.
PCS Tip #18 - Check Stickers - Make sure that everything has a sticker on it before going onto the truck.
I hope you find this list helpful. Now get excited about your next duty station and start looking for things to do. It will help you get excited about exploring your new military town.
Do you have a PCS Tip to share? Please help us add to your list by commenting below!
- Download our FREE eBook: A complete and updated list of Top 20 PCS Tips