I cringe a little every time I see a wife post on a Facebook page something like, “Okay ladies, first PCS here, what do I need to know?”
I don’t internally shirk because it’s a bad or inappropriate question, only that it’s so dang open-ended. Most of us seasoned wives can give you hours of tips and advice on a variety of different parts of a PCS.
I internally lift a silent prayer for each of these wives because there are two things I know: 1. no amount of information is going to really prepare you (especially if when you run into unexpected snags), and 2. no PCS is ever the same. They all present different challenges and stress.
One thing I know for certain, I have never gotten through a PCS, put every moving box out for recycling, hung every picture, and wiped my brow to say, “Whew! I am so glad I slapped that move together and winged it.”
Organization and preparation is, truly, the key to making a move as stress-less as possible. It’s not to say that you won’t have hiccups and frustrations along the way. Trust me, sweet sister, you will and more than likely, at some point, the frustration will boil over to an argument/fight with your service member (not that I know from experience or anything).
But I promise the light at the end of the tunnel is a little easier to see when you have your proverbial “ducks in a row.”
The best preparation I can do for a move is to make sure I have everything I need in one central location. I have two systems I use. One for moves where we are driving and will have our own personal vehicle and the other for moves like an OCONUS. I’m going to share both of these handy systems with you and hope you can use them too.
Most of our moves have been CONUS and we have been able to drive a vehicle, so we do a partial DITY (do it yourself). We move some of our own things and have the Army pay a moving company to move the rest.
I bought this hanging filing cabinet 12 years ago at Target and have used it for every move to date. As soon as we know we are moving, I pull this bad boy out and update the files inside. I have section for our orders (I always make 8-10 copies, trust me on this). I always have folders for our housing clearing and any paperwork for the upcoming housing that we may need.
A folder is designated for moving paperwork (the movers should give you a copy of your HHG information) as well as the weight paperwork when you have weighed your vehicle. I HIGHLY recommend having the moving company give you, in writing, the estimated weight of all your household goods as well. It can be a very costly miscalculation mix-up if they make a numerical mistake on their end.
I have a hanging folder for any medical information for myself and the children and, if you have pets, a file with all their veterinarian records. When we are doing a partial DITY, we also have a fire-safe box we carry that includes all our birth certificates, marriage license, titles, and insurance paperwork as well social security cards and our passports.
(If you thought this was good information, you won’t want to miss Part 2! I’ll be sharing my OCONUS system!)