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21 Genius Tips for a Smooth PCS

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Thanks to Tiffany from Seeing Sunshine for today’s post! We’ve only ever PCSed as a DITY (do-it-yourself), so I am so glad that Tiffany is here sharing all of her newly discovered knowledge!

Saving this for our first PCS!
My husband, Travis, and I just experienced our first PCS – a non-DITY move – a couple of months ago. Part of our things went to Korea for him, and the rest of our household goods were moved to Indiana where I’m living until he gets back. We learned a lot during our first non-DITY PCS, and I want to share with those things with you. I hope my advice and tips can make your move a little less stressful.

First Things First

Someone will come to “inspect” your home before the move. They are coming to see how much stuff you have, how many rooms you have, what type of furniture you have, etc. Be sure to show this person each room and any extra storage you have such as a garage, basement, or attic. This is the best time to ask any questions you have. If this is your first time doing a non-DITY move, let this person know and ask for tips. They will be happy to give you the information you need.

[Tweet “Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know what’s going on with your PCS. #milspouse”]

The movers will not take liquids, food, candles, batteries, or lighters. You’ll have to pack those separately and take them with you. Be sure to ask the transportation office which things the movers won’t take. Each moving company may be different.

Find out what your weight limits are. Fill out any paperwork required. The transportation office is your new best friend.

[Tweet “Weight limits are important for a PCS. Know what yours are. #milspouse”]

Before Moving Day

Sort through your things and get rid of anything you don’t use anymore. Clothes that don’t fit? Sell them or donate them. This is a great time to get rid of clutter and do some simplifying.

[Tweet “Get rid of clutter before you PCS. Sell, donate, or throw away items. #milspouse”]

Pack your suitcases or things you’ll need while moving and put them in your car or in a cleaned out closet or bathroom. Mark this area as “DO NOT PACK.” Pack things you’ll want at your hotel or for your first few days at your new place. Be sure your purse, wallet, and car keys are in the “Do Not Pack Room.”

If you don’t want your movers to see your underwear or other personal items like lingerie, pack those up yourself and keep them in your car. Some people might not mind this, but I felt weird having strangers pack up my underwear! I packed all of those type of things myself and put them in our car before the movers showed up.

Keep some cleaning supplies out if you need to clean your apartment or house after everything is moved out. Don’t forget to schedule your move-out inspection with your landlord if you need to.

Clean. Clean. My movers mentioned that they were impressed by how clean we were and appreciated it. But I wish I had remembered to clean my microwave and under the couch before the movers came. It’s embarrassing to have them go through all your stuff if everything is dirty.

Be sure you have your dishwasher emptied or things might be left behind. Also, be sure you take out your trash. I’ve heard from lots of military spouses that they forgot to take out their trash and it was packed!

[Tweet “Empty your dishwasher before the movers arrive so your dishes move with you. #PCS #milspouse”]

Group things together if you want them to be in the same box. For instance, if you want all your photo frames in one box rather than split up based on room, group them all together in one spot in your house.

Take all your wall décor off the walls. I just set them on the floor up against the wall. I kept all my wall décor in their rooms so they could be packed by room. You can place them all together, though, if you want. Your packers will not take things off the walls, so you need to do this.

Saving this for our first PCS!

Take down all your curtains. You can pack them in large plastic bags to keep them from getting torn or stained during the move. Pack up all the hardware as well – place them in Ziploc bags and mark them. Your packers can pack the curtains and hardware together in a box for each respective room.

Make sure you separate your spouse’s military gear, also known as pro gear. Keep this stuff in a separate pile because it will not be counted toward your household goods weight.

[Tweet “Keep “pro gear” separate when packing for a PCS– it doesn’t count towards the weight limit! #milspouse”]

Use up all your groceries – especially frozen or refrigerated items. You can’t take these with you, so stop buying groceries and instead use as much as you can from what you already have. You can pack your own pantry items or condiments if you want to take those with you.

Many people advise you to photograph your belongings – anything valuable or easily damaged. Make sure you take pictures of these items working and include the date on the photograph. You may also want to write down serial numbers for valuables. We didn’t do this during our PCS, and we had no problems. But some people have had problems and suggest doing this. If you do, be sure you keep all of that documentation with you during the move. Don’t let the movers pack it.

Be sure you take any liquids out of any room and don’t let them be packed. My husband had a small container of all-purpose oil that got packed along with his tools accidently. When I was unpacking in our new home, I smelled it! Yes, it leaked and was all over everything.

If you have a junk drawer or containers with loose items inside, you may want to group those items together in bags. The packers just dump these containers or drawers into the box and everything gets mixed up. I was not happy when I realized that while unpacking. So save yourself some time by keeping your items together so they can pack the sealed bags. It will make unpacking much easier!

Moving Day

If you have children or pets, you may want to have someone babysit during moving day. People are running around boxing things up and moving furniture out, so children or pets could get in the way. Having them stay with a friend or neighbor could be a great idea.

Feed the movers. Not everyone does this, but we wanted to. The man who loaded the moving truck and moved all our stuff to our new house was so nice. We wanted to help them out for taking good care of our things. We bought them pizza and had bottles of water for our packers and movers. When we arrived at our new house, we made sure we had donuts and bottles of water for those moving our stuff off the truck and into our new place. I know they appreciated it. If you don’t want to do food, at least have water available.

[Tweet “Keep your movers happy: feed them for lunch and provide water. #PCS #milspouse”]

One thing I didn’t like about the non-DITY move was that the packers didn’t mark the boxes the way I would have. Of course, I can’t expect them to read my mind! I suggest taking notes. Pay attention to what goes in each box and write down the number. Or ask if you can mark some of the boxes too – if your packer seems nice and open to that. You don’t want to seem like you are taking over their job!

One thing I loved about our non-DITY move was that the packers have large boxes for your clothes that hang in your closet. The boxes have a bar across the top, and they keep your clothes hanging all through the move. It’s great!

I hope these tips help you during your move! Be sure to follow my Pinterest board PCS Tips for more advice. Happy packing friends!

Tiffany Stroud blogs at Seeing Sunshine about faith, family, military life, and homemaking. She is an Army wife who lives in Indiana while her husband is stationed in Korea. She is working on updating her farm house and showing hospitality to her neighbors. Tiffany loves Jesus, ice cream, and traveling, especially to places with a beach. Follow her on Facebook or Pinterest.


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