Packing stuff and moving things over long distances can overwhelm anyone that has a pulse. However, military families eventually become experts in the packing and moving game because they gain experience packing and moving several times during a military career.
If this is your first Permanent Change of Station (PCS) or the 10th time you have moved for your military career, we have a few time tested tips to make packing and moving as painless as possible.
Organize with a Sense of Urgency
Nobody we have met has ever received a PCS order and jumped for joy. Moving is one of the things in life we like to put off until the last minute.
Don’t procrastinate when you receive a PCS order. Start shopping around for movers immediately after learning where you will next call home. The sooner you select a moving company, the more likely you will lock into a favorable moving rate.
Read the Fine Print
Reading a moving contract is like reading the fine print on a credit card application.
It can give you a splitting headache.
For a moving contract, you want to learn what items of yours is covered by moving insurance. You also want to know about how the moving rate is calculated.
Try to Move During the Off Season
Military members typically have little say on the timing of a PCS order. If you can avoid a move during the busiest time of year between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you will save a considerable amount of money and just as important, enjoy a lower stress level because the roads should be less congested.
Use a PCS Binder
Military members have access to several resources that help them organize moves. One of the most effective resources is a packing tool called a PCS binder. Inside of the binder, you can secure your orders and medical records, as well as important licenses and certificates. A PCS binder also comes in handy for storing the list of things you are taking with you to your new military home.
Optimize Packing Space
You can hire a moving company to pack your stuff or perform the packing job on your own. In either case, the goal is to use every inch of packing space to ensure a smooth relocation. Use smaller boxes for heavier items and larger boxes to pack lighter items. Try to use the original boxes for storing plates and glassware.
Use a Labeling System
Color coded labels represents effective organizational tools for military moves. How you identify each label is up to you. The point is to know exactly what is in a box or bag by simply seeing the type of colored label.
One final tip: If you have children-especially young ones-make sure to let them know about the move right after you receive your PCS order. It takes children much longer to digest such a life altering event.