• Allie and Ryan

    Allie & Ryan

  • Allie and Ryan 2

    Allie & Ryan

  • Allie and Ryan 3

    Allie & Ryan

  • Ryan and Allie 4

    Allie & Ryan

  • Ryan and Allie 5

    Allie & Ryan

Saturday, February 26, 2011

10 Tips to Help You Get Organized for a PCS by Renee

Renee was one of the first people to contact me about guest blogging! Her posts are always very informative and I definitely am bookmarking them in the back of my mind for the future. We all know PCSing is part of the lifestyle, so here are some helpful tips to make the process easier! You can read more at her blog here. Thanks Renee!

Moving comes with the territory when you are part of a military family. I grew up in the Air Force and by the time my dad retired when I was in high school I thought moving was something everyone did. My older sister, who already had several moves under her belt by the time I was born, was tired of moving and leaving her friends at that point. No matter how many times you move, it is stressful. It is relatively easy when it's just you and your spouse. It gets exponentially more complicated as your family grows and your career progresses. Kids seem to come with a lot of stuff. And as they shed the need for baby swings, strollers and car seats, they start to get real opinions about leaving their friends and routines and starting somewhere new. And as your career progresses, you may need to take assignments that are fantastic for your career, but not so fantastic for location. By being organized and planning ahead, you can minimize the stress on you and your family during a PCS and concentrate more on the transition ahead.

1. Meet with your transportation or personal property office first.
As soon as you have orders, make an appointment. That appointment will not only cover the options available for your particular move, but will jump start your planning. You will also be given your maximum allowable weight limit, which is based on things like rank and number of dependents. The government will not pay to move anything beyond that limit.

2. Decide how you plan to move.
The least stressful way to PCS is to have the government find, hire and pay for a professional moving company to pack and move you. Another option is to do the move yourself (called a DITY move). The government will reimburse you for 90% or more of what it would have cost them to hire a company to move you. That means, if you do it right, you can actually make money with a DITY move. You get to decide how to move -- you can hire a company to do it or use self service movers or rental trucks and do the labor yourself. It is also common for families to do a partial DITY move, which means having the government handle the bulk of your move and handling the rest of it yourself.

3. Include the family.
Make sure everyone knows when your move date is, how you plan to move and what they need to do to help. Including kids on decision making, when possible, also gives them a sense of independence and confidence at a time when they may be feeling a bit anxious about the changes ahead. If you plan to do a DITY move, make sure everyone is on board. It's not worth the money you may make if you all hate each other by the time you make it to your new assignment.

4. Make a moving checklist.
If you are doing a DITY move, your checklist will be your moving bible. Following it will lead you down the path to a smooth move. If you are having the government handle everything, there are still many details you need to take care of. Write everything, no matter how obvious, on your checklist. When the chaos of moving sets in, it is easy to forget even the simplest of tasks.

5. Start a moving file.
Put everything moving related in one file folder. As you know, there is always a lot of paperwork when you move with the government. If you lose receipts and invoices, you can't get reimbursed for those expenses. Keep everything, along with your moving checklist and a copy of your orders, in one folder.

6. Collect all your personal paperwork.
Put all birth certificates, passports, vaccination records, medical records, car title and other important personal paperwork in one file. Decide how you will move it and where it will be on moving day (you don't want the movers to put it on the truck). Assign one person to be in charge of the file during the move.

7. Review your budget.
Being comfortable with your budget is vital for a DITY move, but important even if the government is handling everything. Although you will be given a moving allowance, you will end up paying for things out of your pocket and waiting for reimbursement. Make sure you have cash on hand and in your account to handle those expenses and anything unexpected that might pop up while you travel to your new assignment.

8. Lighten your load.
Regardless of how you plan to move, you do not want to waste time, money and energy moving items you no longer need. Anything you move will have to be unpacked and stored somewhere in your new home. Donate those things to a worthy organization, pass them along to someone who could use them or hold a yard sale.

9. Organize for packing and develop on unpacking strategy.
Even if the government is handling all your packing, you want to make sure things are organized logically. If you have had them handle a move for you before, you know that the moving teams come in like a tornado and pack things up as they see them. Take some time to organize each room, so it's not a big guessing game when you unpack. Decide what rooms and items you will tackle first when unpacking, so your family has some breathing room.

10. Take photos.
Take digital photos or video of all your belongings, so you can reference them if you need to make a claim for lost or damaged items.

1-800-PACK-RAT is a moving and portable storage company that has proudly helped families with their military moving and storage needs between deployments, when they PCS and when they retire and separate from the military.

Call one of PACK-RAT’s Military Moving Specialists at 1-800-MLT-PACK or visit http://www.1800packrat.com/partners/militarymoves for more information.


  1. Thank you so much! We are about to move and have no idea where to start. We turned in our housing app for the new duty station but other then that - nothing! AH! We still have two months before we move but I feel like we need to be doing SOMETHING lol!


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