18 Ways to Prepare for a PCS

PCS stands for permanent change of station. As the years pass by it can feel like permanently uprooting yourself.

Whether you are moving yourself or have hired movers, we can all agree that packing is not fun! Moving can be excruciatingly stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. I have interrogated my fellow military spouse friends as well as intertwining my own personal success tidbits.

Without further ado, I give you a list to help make moving stress-free.

1. Purge. Clean out all the closets, empty out the drawers, and toss things in your pantry you haven’t eaten since you moved in. It will feel very therapeutic to cleanse your house of excess unnecessary items.

2. Donate the purge. I try to aim for a women’s shelter, a local church charity house, homeless shelters, and those yellow metal world donation boxes. Salvation Army and Goodwill are backup resources as well.

3. Yard Sale. If you want to rid yourself of big furniture and don’t have the time or effort to move items, you can always have a yard sale. Post-wide yard sales are amazing! Military people have great taste. I have definitely scored some hot finds on my yard sale adventures.

5. Compile together all the pictures, frames, and any decor you have hanging on the walls in one area so that when the decor is packed it is packed together. Or, if you hired movers, they will pack them together. (I used my dining room table as a HUB.)

6. Gallon Ziplock bags are your friend. Socks, undies, and intimates can go in these. It keeps them organized and less awkward for the movers. I also put my jewelry in Ziplocks. And, for those like me who dislike rewashing the dishes, I use the gallon bags for utensils so I don’t have to rewash everything.

7. Dollar stores for the win! I purchased clear plastic bins with the lids from Dollar Tree and put all my makeup, nail polish, products that the packers won’t pack, or things that won’t travel well in them.

8. Kitchen trash bags are also handy. I bagged all my clothes and my family’s clothes in scented trash bags. I poked a hole for the hanger part to protect against odor or leakage from other items and so they would smell fresh at the destination.

9. No cross-contamination. No moving things from room to room. If you want furniture from a specific room to stay in that room, put it on the bed along with all the small stuff. Then it will be packed together.

10. Clean out the junk drawer. We all have one. If you don’t, I’m impressed. Teach me your ways! If you hired movers, they will pack it. I have opened boxes to find trash that I didn’t throw out. True story. Also, if you’re moving you will feel incredibly frustrated when you open this insanely random drawer.

11. Take the trash out before they pack. Read number 8. It makes sense now.

12. Have a “no-entry closet/area” clearly marked where movers do not enter. If you want to go the extra mile, get red tape, make an “X,” or, if you have small children, borrow their red washable marker.

13. Keep valuables and the clothing you need to wear/toiletries in the no-entry room.

14. Leave toilet paper full in the housing bathrooms.

15. Take pictures of your sensitive items and valuables/furniture before they are packed.

16. This is debatable, but I hired a cleaner a week before we moved to deep clean. Once the house was empty, I re-cleaned the house. I have been (knock on wood) never charged so far for moving out charges from three separate locations.

17. Housing repairs. Most rentals or on-post housing companies will provide you with touch-up paint. Take advantage of that in case there were nicks on the walls. Buy your own blinds. Those white blinds always tear, so it’s easier to replace them than to have housing replace them and charge you for it. Try and fix as much as you can inside your home yourself.

18. Take a photo in front of your old home before you hand over your keys. It will be incredibly sentimental when you look back. Pat yourself on the back; you made some beautiful memories and made this place your home.

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About Rachel Motta

Rachel has been an Army wife for 6 years. She and her husband are at their third duty station with two little girls and another girl on the way. Currently, she is a stay-at-home mother and loves taking in all the perfect and cray-cray moments of motherhood. She has volunteered in the Army community in many ways but the biggest role was being an FRG leader for a year-and-a-half. Rachel is a licensed cosmetologist, chocolate fiend, avid runner, Kansas State University Wildcat fanatic, and a serial yoga pant wearer.

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