6 Life Changing Military Move Tips

6 Life Changing Military Move Tips

Moving is hard. The emotional toll of saying goodbye to family and friends is hard enough that you don’t have to add the stress of actually moving to realize that picking up your life and starting over isn’t easy. 

After moving multiple times, I have found there is a science to the moving process. The saying goodbye process is more of an art that changes each time we drive away. But these tips have made at least one part of the move…the moving your stuff… easier.

Start your PCS planning early!

Waiting to the last minute to organize your timeline, packout plan and new living situation is THE WORST plan. If you want a stress-free military move you need to start planning ASAP.

Join the PCS Pay-it-Forward support group for your new base for candid feedback, advice, and insights from local military members. Find your base HERE.

This connection can provide emotional support, practical moving tips specific to the location, and help you establish a social network before you arrive.

Purge Before You Go

Maybe you want to follow Marie Kondo and see what things spark joy or go room by room cleaning out the toys, clothes and more. No matter what method you use, the fact is we all have things hidden in a drawer, closet or maybe the boxes from the last move (just me?) that we don’t need anymore. Getting rid of as much stuff that you won’t need at the next assignment is a great way to start your moving process.

Be Prepared to Prep

Movers won’t pack things in original boxes so if you have something valuable that you want to move in the original box you have to do it yourself. You also need to take apart your entertainment display, remove pictures from walls, put things that you want together close to each other. If you can disassemble furniture before the movers arrive it can protect it from being damaged.

Label, Label, Label

The moving company should label all your boxes, but if you have ever gone around while they are packing or opened boxes on the back end of your move you often find weird labels for your stuff. Having a sharpie in your back pocket to label boxes as the movers pack your stuff can be helpful. I also go through each room after the movers have left to ensure that the description matches the room you are in.

If you know where you are moving you can also label boxes by colors so that when you move to your new location you can put a color on each door making it easier for the movers to know where to go. I wrote 1 st floor, 2 nd floor, and basement on as many boxes as I could to try and make life easier.

Keep Important Documents Handy

Pack personal documents like birth certificates, passports, and PCS orders separately and keep them with you during the move. This ensures you have easy access to essential documents when needed, avoiding potential delays in processing at your new base.

Use Your Phone To Document Belongings and Condition

Before the movers arrive, photograph electronics and other valuable items to document their condition. This provides clear evidence in case you need to file a claim for damages made during the move, ensuring you’re adequately compensated.

Pack a First-Day Box

Include essentials like toiletries, chargers, snacks, and a change of clothes in a clearly labeled first-day box. This box will help you maintain comfort and functionality as you unpack the rest of your belongings.

Understand Your Entitlements

Familiarize yourself with your entitlements and the claims process for lost or damaged items. Knowing this information helps you address issues more efficiently and ensures you are fully aware of the compensation available to you.

Visit Your New Station

If possible, visit your new duty station before moving to get a sense of the community and housing options. This visit can reduce uncertainty, allowing you to plan aspects of your move more effectively, such as school enrollment or commute times.

Secure Valuables

Personally transport irreplaceable items or valuables like jewelry and family heirlooms. Keeping these items with you minimizes the risk of loss or damage during the move.

Plan For Pets

Make early arrangements for pet travel, including any necessary vaccinations, travel crates, or special accommodations. Early planning helps avoid last-minute hassles and ensures a safe and smooth journey for your pets.

Start Using Your Perishable Stock Pile

1-2 months out start using up the food in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. One creative idea is to have no spend weeks where you rely on just the food in your home. You might need to get creative to make meals that work, but you might find something you didn’t know you had. Be mindful of how long it takes to use up items. Stop buying larger bulk items up to six months out to ensure you don’t end up having things you can’t take with you.

Set Aside Space

We always use a small bathroom to hide things we don’t want the movers to pack. It can be anything from our suitcases to blow up mattresses to valuables we want to move across the country. Label the room don’t pack and shut the door.

Be Flexible

Things likely won’t go 100% like you plan so being flexible to what comes next is always my number one moving tip.

What are your best moving tips and hacks?

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