PCS = Piece of Cake…and Stuff

Its been about a month and a half since we left our last duty station. THAT’S IT. I feel like it was forever ago, so mayhaps that’s why I feel like packing, moving, organizing, driving across country, and unpacking was so easy. Its like having a baby- after a while you forget how much the pregnancy and the beginning stages of that new little life SUCKED, so then you have another baby and then you’re like, “Oh yea, THIS SUCKS.” So right now I’m thinking PCSing was easy, but I know the next time we PCS I’m going to be cursing like a sailor on the USS PCS Blows.

Given this was my first “real” PCS- where they come and pack up your stuff, move your stuff, and then put it all in the new place- I learned some things. Maybe to those more “seasoned” spouses you’re like, “What a newb…” but that’s ok because maybe the things I learned will help some of the other spouses out there getting ready to move.  Below are listed some things that I found useful as I look back on our PCS experience. These aren’t your typical “watch your movers and record what they damage/lose” but rather things that you kind of find out just from experience.

  • Get to know your movers-  I don’t mean take them out on a date first, but learn their names and talk to them for a few minutes. They will be more careful with your stuff and more likely to help you out when you need it.
  • FEED THEM- I think this is one of the biggest things for anyone who comes to do a long-term (a whole 8 hours or days/weeks project at your house). People get cranky when they’re hungry so offer to get the guys some lunch and have some drinks and snacks ready. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive- Walmart sells 2 liters for a $1 each, and a pack of cookies for $2 from their bakery. Get some pizzas for lunch and you’re all set for both the movers and yourself to eat something during the long day.
  • Organize before they arrive- Get things placed together that you want to go in the same boxes. Talk to the movers and let them know that you piled things specifically to go together. They will be really grateful for any extra help they can get if you’ve already done some of the “packing” for them. And if you’ve talked to them and fed them, chances are they will help you out.
  • Color code for the unpackers- I actually learned this tip from a friend who is getting ready to PCS, and she found it on USMClife.com. Color code your boxes  according to room after the packers have packed but before they load everything onto the truck. Colored tape seems like the best option because its bright and easy to spot. When you and your stuff get to your location, you can let the unpackers know which room is which color. You can even add a little piece of tape to the entryway of each room so they can easily find it. Be sure whoever organizes the house (usually the wife- let’s be honest here) does this because there is nothing more annoying than to find out that your husband told the unpackers to put any “linen” boxes in the downstairs living room and then you have to move everything upstairs after they leave….just sayin’
  • Set apart a room for non-packed items- You usually hear this through the grapevine, but whatever items you are taking with you- whether it be paper work (TAKE YOUR IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS INCLUDING BIRTH CERTIFICATES, PASSPORTS, AND ORDERS WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!) or luggage, set it in a closet or emptied room before the movers get there and let them know the room is not to be packed. Even put a little sign up on the door if you can.
  • Pre-package and soaps or liquids- Now, most moving companies will tell you they won’t take any soaps, liquids, etc. BUT I pre-packaged everything I had that was liquid, whether it be cooking oils or shampoo by taping the top shut, wrapping it in bubble wrap, and then putting them in plastic bags, and the movers actually took them that way, probably because they didn’t have to do as much work to pack it. This might not work for you, but its worth a try if its important enough.
  • Hanging clothes don’t travel well- Anything that is hung up in a closet goes into a wardrobe box where it is literally just hung back up on a metal rod in a standing box. What usually happens is that through the travel, all those clothes fall off the hangers and end up on the bottom of the box. So then you have dirty clothes that you have to not only rehang, but also wash first on top of unpacking everything else in the house. To prevent this from happening, place your hanging items in trash bags like the picture below, and when you unpack you will have clean clothes still on the hangers! I did this and it WORKS. All I had to do was grab the bagged clothes, hang them up, and take the bags off. It literally took me 15 minutes to do our whole closet.

Image courtesy of The Wicker House

  • Wrap it up- The worst part of unpacking “loose items” is just that- they end up everywhere inside the box and it takes forever to reorganize. So anything that is loose- like silverware, cooking utensils, and your junk drawer items- pack into Ziploc bags. It will save you a ton of headache on the otherside.
  • Don’t leave a screw lose- If you have particular wall fasteners (like for curtains), screws, picture hangers, etc that belong with certain items, put them in a baggie and tape them to the item they go with. Otherwise you will never EVER find them.

Of course, make sure you do the typical things like video tape or take pictures of all your items to be sure that if anything gets damaged you have proof that they weren’t like that when they were packed. Watch your movers closely and don’t be shy to ask them to do things a certain way- ITS YOUR STUFF.

I have pinned quite a few blog articles on Pinterest that have some other moving and PCS tips, so click on the Pinterest button on the right to follow me and look under the board  titled “MilSpouse” for more moving tricks.

Do you have any PCS/moving tips? If so, leave a comment below! All of us military spouses stick together so help a sista out and give me some more inside scoop.

If you need some tips about traveling with kids in the car, or just in general, check out my board on Pinterest labeled “Traveling. With Kids.” Most of the tips/games are for toddlers because, well, that’s what I have. Plus, the older ones just watch movies so they’re easy and if you have a baby….well, good luck because you are at the mercy of your offspring. If you need some tips on flying with a toddler, click here. Baby? Click here.

Be sure to check out my meal plans from last week and this coming week (it will be up Wednesday!). If you have any recipes you’d like to share, leave a comment on the page or email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com.

Peace out homeslice.

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4 thoughts on “PCS = Piece of Cake…and Stuff

  1. My husband and I are facing our first PCS at the end of they year and I am not looking forward to it. Although I think we might go with the DITY move rather than TMOing everything. Guess we will see which is the best deal. Not gonna lie, I kinda like the idea of someone coming packing up all my stuff lol

    • I have to say that there are both pros and cons to doing a DITY move vs a TMO move. The pro to a DITY is that you may be able to bank some extra cash. The con, obvi, is that you have to do stuff yourself. We did a DITY move when we moved me out to my husband after I finished school and it was alright- probably because most of my stuff was in storage and I only had a one bedroom apartment. I hated driving the UHaul though! We also packed up our stuff when I went home during his first deployment and I HATED it. We only had a two bedroom but we had some decent furniture then and things got scratched, damaged, etc, and we had to pack it all ourselves which is such a pain. Now with a bigger house (aka alot more sh*t) plus a kid in tow, I wouldn’t do a DITY move if someone offered me free Starbucks for life. But if its just you and the hubs and you don’t have alot of stuff and/or stuff that you really don’t want to get damaged, then go for the DITY. I think every military couple needs to experience it at least once! Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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