If you or your spouse works for the military, then you are familiar with the reality of a military PCS (permanent change of station) move. Sometimes it seems that you just get the boxes unpacked and it’s time to re-pack everything.
Though moving repeatedly can be a chore, there are things you can do to make a military PCS move a lot easier.
Tips for a stress-free military PCS move
Experienced military wives (and husbands) know that a successful military PCS move takes planning and organization. Military families don’t have the luxury of taking months to pack up their belongings. To get through the stress of a military PCS move we are offering the following tips. Whether your first (or 10th) military PCS move, in order to make it a good one for everyone in the family, consider the following:
1. Pack a PCS survival kit.
You may have to lay out a lot of cash for rent, deposits and utilities as part of your move, leaving you without a lot of cash for the first couple of weeks at your new home. Crystal Cavalier, the 2011 Army Spouse of the Year, advises filling plastic totes with essential items like bed linens and pillows, toiletries, toilet paper and cleaning products. These items can be taken with you and used until all your household items arrive.
She also suggests taking small electronics to keep your kids happy until the cable is installed and remembering to pack paper plates, cups and items for your pets. Cavalier also advises filling a cooler with sandwich fixings, drinks and snacks so you don’t have to eat out until the refrigerator arrives. Tips like these can help relieve the stress of a military PCS move plus save you a few dollars in the long run.
2. Start planning your PCS move as soon as possible.
Your first PCS move is not a time to procrastinate. You want to start making plans as soon as you get the orders. Report dates vary, but can be as soon as two weeks after getting your orders or as long as five months. In most cases, you (or your spouse) will have to report sooner rather than later. Preparing for your PCS move as soon as possible can help you manage unwanted stress.
3. Pack important papers yourself.
Family documents, your orders, any prescriptions, your passport and so forth should be packed ahead of the movers arriving at your house. You should take these items with you so you know where to find them.
4. Hook up with the orientation office at your new base.
Moving to a new location can be stressful, especially if you’ve never lived out of state. Most U.S. military bases have orientation offices you can access online that have all kinds of practical information, ranging from housing information, weather, and childcare services.
5. Get rid of the stuff you don’t use.
If this is your first move, you may still be hanging on to things that you don’t need or use. (By your second PCS move, you’ll have streamlined your possessions.) Use this opportunity to donate that third toaster you got as a wedding present or those baby clothes your kids have outgrown.
A Military PCS Move with Red Ball
Red Ball is proud to support our military families. We understand the special concerns and needs of military families, and continue our commitment of offering quality service to military members. Just as we have done for thousands of military families, our goal is to make your move hassle free and help you transition to your new home as easy as possible. Thank you for your service to our country.