It’s that time again: PCS (Permanent Change of Station) season. The time of year that a large number of Military families have yard sales, pack up and say “See you at another duty station” (because we don’t say goodbye). Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned mover, I have some tips to help you get organized and make the moving process a little bit smoother.
Tip #1 A yard sale is a fantastic way to get ready for a PCS. You should start getting ready for a yard sale a month in advance. If you are really busy you may need more time. Go through one room at a time. Touch everything. Clean it and sort it. Have boxes, stickers, pens and garbage bags in the room with you. This way, the things you want to sell go in the box with a price tag and things that just need to be trashed go in the trash bag. The things you are keeping go neatly back closets, drawers and cabinets. Some questions to ask yourself as you are sorting are:
Have I used this in the last year?
Does this item make my life easier, save me time, save me money, and fulfill an essential need?
Where will this go if I keep it?
Now, if you are not interested in having a yard sale you can still use this method as a way to sort through your things. Instead of tagging items you don’t want or need you can put them in the box and donate them to an organization of your choice.
Tip #2 Create a PCS Central binder. In this binder you need dividers and pockets. Sections in your book should include:
If you are moving overseas you will also want sections for:
A helpful tool for preparing and planning a move can be found at Military Homefront. Military Homefront’s Plan My Move creates a personal moving calendar with checklists, phone lists, to do lists and links to critical moving processes and information. You can also find budget planners, housing applications, household goods customer satisfaction surveys and much more. Print your personal “Plan My Move” and put this in your binder. The binder helps keep all those important papers together, neat and eliminates misplaced orders, phone numbers, etc.
Tip #3 I feel it is very important to plan last visits to family favorite places unique to the duty station you are leaving and to plan a “See you later” party. Moving is stressful. It’s important to take time to relax and enjoy each other. So, go visit those family favorites. Take some time to relax and remember the times and places that made that duty station special. Don’t forget to plan that “See you later” party. Use it as an opportunity to clean out your fridge while at the same time you celebrate great friends and good times.
Tip #4 I read Kathy Peel’s book The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Organized Home and she suggests a month before you move to:
Arrange for children’s school records to be transferred
Fill out a change of address form for the post office
Contact utility companies and other businesses you deal with regularly for final payments
Close local charge accounts and bank accounts
These are all very important tasks to take care of before the movers arrive. You need to be present when the movers are packing out your house and not running around trying to take care of these important errands.
2 weeks before you move, Kathy Peel suggests you:
Return borrowed items
Return books to the library
Get the car serviced
Collect items at the repair shop, dry cleaners and gym
I have a friend who moved and left several clothing items at the dry cleaners. Luckily I was able to collect them for her and send them in the mail. You don’t want to have that “Duh” moment when you get to a new place and can’t find that dress, shirt, or pair of pants you just bought or your favorite workout clothes!
A little advance preparation can help make a PCS move a little smoother and a little less stressful. So, take some time to plan and prepare for your next move.