Our goal for this month was to help you master whatever your PCS throws your way. Here’s all the awesome knowledge we put together for our Master the Move series in one convenient spot!
We’ve all heard some crazy things about military life when it comes to what to expect about PCSing. Here’s some of the most annoying questions you’ve fielded and interesting tidbits and stories about moving!
“Have you found a place yet?”
Yes, because that’s so easy to do when you’re 2000+ miles away and can’t really do anything till you either check in with housing (off post) or wait for housing on post. So looking on Internet has to suffice. ~ Carrie G.
The biggest pet peeve I had while planning my first PCS (and it was OCONUS at that!) was when people would tell me, “it’ll be okay.”
I know, that doesn’t sound like a very offensive thing to say, but they didn’t realize that things would only “be okay” if I got done the one million things I had to do in a 2 week period all by myself! Add in the time difference when trying to contact my new post, the lack of information about getting my dog’s paperwork together, and general moving stress about uprooting my entire life…I was a mess! Thankfully everything was okay in the end, but I’ll never say that to another family in the midst of a PCS! ~ Army Amy
“Well, we found the [insert name of your favorite piece of furniture]…” or “Where did the box with the PS3 go?”
Seems to happen every PCS, and yeah, the sticker for the box was stuck under the bathroom sink. Box came in and out without us knowing. I wasn’t so upset PS3 was gone, but the hours of gameplay! [nerd, I know] ~ Bobby M.
How much we’ll hate our next duty station.
Even if its the worst place ever, it’s not helpful to have to hear that after we already have orders! ~ Anne C.
My Aunt said “I know those military movers they are always in your business. But pack your personal pleasure items in your suitcase.”
OMG how does she know? I guess that means lingerie too. ~ Whitney M.
If looks could kill…
My husband looked me dead in the eye and said, “Why are you stressing? You just put things in boxes.” And that explains why we can’t find anything from when he packed his barracks room! ~ Kaitlyn
What’s your weirdest PCS advice or story? Share it with us below!
For families enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), PCSing is extra stressful due to the clearance procedure. The theory behind medical clearance for EFMP is that the military member and family will be protected from relocating to an area with inadequate medical services. Unfortunately, in practice the medical clearance becomes an extra stressor for EFMP families.
By the time the stress of actually moving sinks in (Where are we going? Where are we going to live?) the only thing left to worry about is the moolah to make it happen.
Now I have to be honest with you, when it comes to PCSing, I let DH handle all that mess. I’m an anxious person and it freaks me out when other people handle my things, so it’s best for everyone’s nerves that I stay out of the way. I do handle the bank accounts though, so I just make sure to keep awesome records of expenses and receipts, and make sure hubby filled out all the paperwork (and turned it in).
One thing you may have to do as a military spouse is move by yourself. And if you have PCS’d before you know moving with the military can be quite the task. And when you’re not the service member it can be even harder. Here are some tips to get prepared for a solo move.
7 Ways To Make Your Solo PCS A Breeze
1. Make sure your POA is up to date and correct.
You should do this before every long separation. But especially if you think there is a chance you could come down on orders or you could be offered a different home on post or if you want to move out of your current place, and are just waiting for the right home, because the right home will always become available when it’s inconvenient.
2. Take help when it’s offered.
You don’t have anything to prove. You aren’t less of a powerhouse because you needed help with the kids or moving huge furniture.
3. Make a list, and check it twice.
Moving in my family is always a team effort, so when I did it on my own there were some things I forgot to do, but could have totally avoided if I had made a list. They were things I knew needed to be done, but Boris usually took care of them for us (like for some reason he has always been the address changer).
4. If you are moving yourself (sometimes called a DITY move), shop around for moving companies, moving trucks, and people to help you move.
See what option will be best for your budget.
5. Use this opportunity to get rid of things your spouse is hoarding that drive you crazy, when you think about dragging them around from place to place.
Really, does he need that book on using Windows 98? Don’t forget to go through your own stuff too.
We all know that if something can go wrong it usually will. Breathe. It’s Murphy’s Law. It won’t be the end of the world. Go with the flow. It always magically works out in the end.
7. Get a second set of eyes.
When the movers come, it’s hard to keep track of all the activity. Make sure you have a trusted friend who can help you keep an eye on all the packing.
And whatever you do…do not move your piano across town while playing it, like Vanessa Carlton.
Have you ever handled a PCS alone? How did it go? What are your best tips for success?
PCS season is a whole new level of “busy.” It’s Busy: Level 1 Million; It’s “busy” on steroids.
So, how on Earth do you find time to workout when you’re packing boxes, deep cleaning the house, and keeping the kids (and pets) entertained? And then, overseeing the moving process, living out of a hotel, and keeping everyone sane?
While you’re busy getting ready for the packers to come, make sure you don’t forget these easily forgotten moving tasks every military family needs on their moving checklist!
After being married to the Army for 15 years and 7 moves, I have compiled this moving checklist that keeps us on track, makes sure all the details are taken care of, and eliminates things from being overlooked.
10 Easily Forgotten PCS Tasks on Your To-Do List!
1. Make sure to have your electricity, Internet, cable, and any other monthly household bills turned off.
2. Return your cable box and cable modem to your cable company. I can’t tell you how many people we have heard of that forget to return their cable box.
3. Cancel all gym or club memberships that you have.
4. Complete a change of address through the post office. Even if you do not have a new address, make sure to forward your mail to a friend or family member.
5. Refill all prescriptions before you move. You don’t want to run out of medication during a moving process.
6. Have your dentists’ and doctors’ phone numbers on hand.
7. Research new duty station for possible housing, schools and sexual offenders. By doing this ahead of time, you will have an idea of where you want to live before you get to your new duty station.
8. Make sure you have copies of any and all medical, dental, school, and veterinary records. Don’t forget to ask your salon for hair care and color records, too!
9. Return all borrowed items to friends and neighbors. I have loaned things out and never saw them again.
10. Properly dispose of hazardous chemicals. Certain chemicals cannot be thrown in the garbage and have to be turned into the chemical recycling center.
PCS Tip! Remember to contact your Rental Insurance company with Your new address as soon as you get it.
This moving checklist is a great tool to use before your packers show up. You can start preparing for your move well in advance and minimize your PCS related stress!
I sat beside my husband during a seemingly never-ending “welcome” program. As part of in-processing at our new duty station, we listened to a parade of these short informational spiels about the different programs and services available on post. The last person to present ended with her interesting approach to a warm welcome.
Her tone was sarcastic and the other soldiers and spouses in the room laughed uncomfortably. Had she really just acknowledged this post’s reputation as being less than ideal?
Over the time I’ve been a career coach, I’ve come to notice several key factors that help increase the odds of military spouses being able to transport their careers safely from duty station to duty station.
I like to call these factors the career “bubble wrap” because they provide a certain cushion that helps protect our fragile military spouse careers from breaking, cracking, falling apart or mysteriously disappearing like household items all too often do.
The more of these things you have as a part of your profession, the more likely you are to have a career that will safely travel. But, just like in any move (and anything ultimately related to the military lifestyle), there are never guarantees.
I’ve been an army spouse for over 6 years now, and we have moved 4 times. Each time we move, we tend to add something new to the mix: kids, dog, more stuff…you get the idea.
Over the years I’ve gathered tricks and tips from veteran spouses and my own experiences.
Here are my top ten tricks and tips for PCS Season:
10 Easy Tips to Make Your Next PCS a Smooth Move
Hang curtains in your closet so they go into the wardrobe boxes and can be easily found.
Empty “junk” drawers or drawers with small items into gallon ziploc bags and then put the bags in the drawers.
Stock up on dry goods and paper products if you are moving to a remote location (one without a Warehouse store).
Beg, barter, pay someone to watch your children/pets while packers are packing and loading.
Always pack your vacuum last so you can clean as they empty your house.
Triple check trash cans before they are packed.
Empty your Keurig completely before it is packed. Or, better yet, just put it in your car and carry it with you.
Put all the important files and what you want to travel in the car. IN THE CAR! Before the movers get there.
Buying your packers/movers coffee or lunch is really worth the expense to have them take better care of your things.
Breathe! We (collective we) have been doing this for years. Remember the things you learn and pass them on to the next person.
Rebecca Alwine has been an army spouse for over 6 years, is the proud mother of two young children, and an active volunteer in the military community. She is also a facilitator for the new Dept of Labor Employment Workshop that is part of the 5-day Transition Process for all military personnel who are separating/retiring. She enjoys running, Crossfit, reading, and puzzles. Catch up on her blog and follow her on Twitter at @armywife1229.