We will try to help you prepare for your first PCS move. Even though surely you know what it is, just in case we should mention what PCS move is. PCS move is a move between one duty station and another. It can also be between your final duty station and home of record upon retirement or even discharge. PCS is a short from Permanent Change of Station. In some cases, you will be allowed to relocate with your family and in some, you won’t. We will write as if you are allowed since that is the best-case scenario of course. But if the leave is short usually the family stays put. Sometimes the military relocates for only a few months. In that case, you don’t want to disturb the family especially if you have kids.
As soon as you find out about your relocation
When you find out about your move you will also get all the details about the exact location and the rest like a time frame and is your family moving with you. From then on you can start with the preparations. The approach will be very different if you are going away for only a few weeks or months or if you are moving for a longer period of time. You should know that the military pays for the relocation in both cases. You are entitled to a certain sum of money that should cover the relocation and travel expenses. Chances are you will be notified about it right away.
Preparations if you are moving for a longer period of time
If you are going to stay for a long time like a few years for example you will need almost everything. You might not need some big appliances (like a fridge) and they will be waiting for you when you get back but everything else will go with you. So you need to start packing as soon as possible. Look for people who can help, in Florida, you can find a lot of reliable military movers. They can help you with packing too!
Before you start packing
This is a great way to prepare for your first PCS move. We are talking about decluttering of course. Chances are you will have more relocations like this so get rid of everything you don’t need and you don’t use. You cant move everything with you all the time. Unnecessary items need to go. You can sell them and earn some money or you can donate them and lastly, you can recycle if nothing else is an option. Also, try downloading one of those moving apps. They can be quite helpful when it comes to preparations, organization, and even packing. Did you know that some moving apps can help you find some reliable military movers like Big Man’s Moving Company? Most of the moving apps are free so there is simply no downside for downloading a few and trying them on.
Packing for your first PCS move
Don’t be nervous, this is similar to any other relocation. We have some tips for you to make things easier :
- gather all packing materials you already have and see what else do you need
- buy packing material
- bubble wrap is a great solution for breakable items
- consider renting plastic bins instead of buying moving boxes
- make checklists of everything you plan to bring with you (that way nothing will be forgotten)
- pack small and fragile items first
- work your way up
- pack by room because that will make unpacking much easier later on
- label all the boxes that will also make unpacking easier
Preparations if you are moving for only a few weeks/months
You obviously won’t need as many things to bring with you. Also if you have family chances are they will be staying behind. You will need all your clothes, shoes, toiletries, some basics for food preparation and such but many things will be left behind. Packing will be much easier in this case. Packing clothes is a no-brainer. If you buy some vacuum bags for clothes you will be saving so much space. That can be a good tip for you.
Kids need to prepare for your first PCS move as well
If you have kids you need to prepare them whether they are coming with or staying behind. Even if they are very young you should explain to them exactly as it is. This is your job, this is something that is necessary for the moment but it won’t last forever. If they are coming with try including them in the packing process so they can feel like they are included too. Sometimes PCS is out of your and their control and they might feel upset. It’s ok and you should validate their feelings. Try being honest. Tell them you are not happy that you need to relocate too but this at least you are all together and you will easily find new friends and new exciting things to do in your free time.
Yes, there is such thing as PCS season. It starts 15 of May and continues through 30 September each year. The peak of the season is between Memorial Day and July 4th as you can expect. Chances are your relocation will happen during that time. If you have any questions, your superiors will answer them and explain to you the details of your future relocation. The best we can tell you is that the only way to make this easier on you (and your family if they are coming with you) is to hire professional movers. Let them deal with logistics and heavy lifting.