Thanks to Katie from The Katie Show for sharing her expertise when it comes to PCSing. Having only done it once myself, I’m not the moving expert that most military spouses are. Katie definitely is and she tells it like it is. No fluff here.
Moving is an exciting time! A new chapter is about to unfold with a string of unknown opportunities ahead of you. What will your new town look like? Where will you work? What will you do for fun? There’s so much possibility in this phase of fresh, new adventure. If you are a military family, then moving, or PCSing as it is called, is a regular occurrence that can come with some stress for families.
Everyone is looking for some PCS tips to help get through it all! For me, I have moved more times than I can count. From being back in Australia moving to different apartments nearby or moving interstate on my own, to moving overseas on my own to now having going through a PCS process (which was a month’s notice to move overseas), I can confidently say that I have a few tips under my belt that will be able to help get you through your move. I’m so happy to be able to share these PCS tips with you guys and hope that they can make your next transition as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Prepare as early as possible
Read: Get your shit together.
If you know you will be moving in the near future then start getting yourself organized early even if it is just a little each day. It is entirely possible to remain working full-time while organizing your move and still enjoying your weekends as long as you know how to prioritize your time. Getting yourself organized early will help you avoid a hectic rush at the last minute.
Things you can do early, even if you are awaiting orders or a leave date, include deep cleaning your house, arranging any house repairs you may need, downsizing your belongings, purchasing any items you may need for travel, updating pet vaccinations, arranging photocopies of important documents, canceling memberships you don’t need and tying up any other loose ends.
This goes along with being prepared but it’s a good idea to start putting some money aside for your transition because moving comes with a lot of hidden costs. Having a little money aside for the move is going to help reduce stress for you because you will know that you are prepared for whatever comes your way. We all know that first trip to the grocery store is a big one right? Add that to other costs like car rental, house deposits or traveling costs and you can see why it’s important to have a little saved aside for the move.
Be like water and go with the flow
Plain and simple: plans will change.
Then change again.
And maybe then change back to the original plan.
And you know what? That’s just something you have to expect because it’s the nature of the beast. It can be frustrating, but there’s no need to sit and complain about it because it’s not an impossible thing to manage. All you need to do is simply plan as best you can for what you know (not what is meant to be happening) and be able to adapt with the changes as they arise.
Share the workload
There’s probably going to be a lot going on during your moving time so remember to work as a team to get everything accomplished. If you split up the workload and share it, you are going to get through everything much quicker. My husband and I always split everything up so that we were accomplishing two tasks at once.
When I was at vet appointments with the dogs, he was with the movers checking off our belongings or when he was shipping the car, I was cleaning the apartment. To me this is a common sense time management skill, but I see with military couples there is often a need to always be doing everything together. This is understandable because you spend so much time apart, but when you’re trying to move house that’s just going to slow you down.
Enjoy your home
The whole move shouldn’t be all stress. Remember to enjoy the time you have left in your town and say goodbye to it so that you move with a little peace. Go and visit your favorite places, eat at your favorite restaurants, spend time with your friends and drive around to soak up the views. This way, once you say goodbye you will have a sense of closure and be ready to move on to the next chapter– this is even easier if you made the most of the last few years you have been living there. Nothing is worse than seeing people trying to enjoy their town in the last month of living there!
With so much going on it is really important to communicate with each other to make sure you are both on the same page. Keeping each other up-to-date on what is getting accomplished each day is going to help make sure everything is accounted for in your long to-do list. It’s kind of like a daily recap meeting with each other:“OK, today I’ve done this, this and this and tomorrow I’ve just got to do this and this.” It’s also just good teamwork to have good communication skills. It allows you to help each other when there is a lot going on and also have those “Yeah, we are a badass team” moments when you are getting it all done.
Get out and about
Once you get to your new town, don’t hide in the hotel room or your new house. What good can possibly come from that? Start getting out and about to see what’s in your new area ASAP. Social media is a great way to get inspiration if you are a little stuck– things like joining Facebook pages for your area or searching hashtags on Instagram can be a huge help in addition to regular googling.
Naturally, with a move you are going to have a lot to organize at first, but remember you don’t need 24 hours each day to do that. Take a break from unpacking to find a nice local coffee shop, use the weekend to look around the town or find nice parks to take your kids or pets. Finding some neat things in your local area is going to help your transition get started on a positive note instead of focusing on the negatives of what you left behind.
Do you agree, disagree or have any other tips for getting through a PCS transition?