12 Tips for Your Next PCS Move

Your first move may have occurred when you were single with few possessions. But your 5th move may see you with a spouse, two children, two cars, furniture for a three-bedroom house, and a trampoline for the backyard. We provided some tips on PCS move for first-timers earlier which goes into some detail about first steps, etc. (Contact a mover NOW, for example.) But this post is more about all those “little” things that you may not think about until… you sure wish you had.

Take a look below for a list of 12 tips to help you with any PCS move, whether your first or your fifteenth.  These are in random order.

1. There’s no such thing as too many boxes.

Start looking for boxes as soon as you even get a whiff of orders coming your way. Ask friends for extras. Head to your local moving store or home improvement store and purchase some. They are expensive, so don’t be afraid to go to a thrift store or grocery store and ask around.

2. Colored craft paper is your friend.

Take craft paper (the type schoolchildren use for classroom art projects) and designate one color for each room. Red for the kitchen, for example. Blue for the master bath. And so on. As you pack things up, tape the paper securely on the box (two sides, top, and bottom) with the name of the room in indelible marker.

3. Make several copies of your orders.

Thirty copies are not too many.

4. If you won’t be living on base at your new station, stay in a hotel before renting.

Never rent a place sight unseen. Just. Don’t. You don’t know the neighborhoods, the schools, etc. If possible, visit your new station before the actual move and talk to the station’s support/relocation center for tips on what neighborhoods are worth looking into. The center no doubt also has some rental realtors available for you to contact.

5. Get rid of as much as possible before your move.

Whether you’ve been meaning to get rid of stuff or not, a move is a terrific time to get rid of the extras in your life. Who needs two coffee pots, three skillets, and three pairs of snow boots when you’re moving from near Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania to Camp Pendleton, California?

Purge, purge, and purge some more. Hold a garage sale if you’re so inclined (hold two!), or take it all to Goodwill, but the more stuff you divest yourself of, the less you’ll have to ship and the quicker you’ll be able to pack and  unpack.

6. Take photos of everything.

This helps you keep track of things and will help you sort through boxes if you have a feeling something’s missing once you start unpacking.

7. Videotape or photograph the exterior and interior of the house/apartment before and after you pack.

Doing so help you show your landlord/base housing how the dwelling truly looked in case you’re accused of causing damage.

8. If moving yourself (DITY), keep every receipt. Even if it’s for just a couple of dollars.

Doing so ensures you receive reimbursement for all of your expenses. Those $5 and $10 costs added together can mean hundreds of dollars spent. You want them reimbursed.

9. If doing a DITY with a truck you rent, weigh it before and after loading.

Write the weights down and keep the documentation with you as you move.


10. Take your pets to the neighbors or vet/boarding house while packing.

All the activities will be stressful for the animals. Open doors could mean they run outside with no leash.

11. Once you’re in your new place, contact former utility providers.

You want to make sure all bills have been paid. Call the utilities in your previous PCS after about four weeks in your new home and double-check that you did pay all bills in full. Not all mail is forwarded and there’s always a chance a bill went to your old address. You don’t want a black mark on your credit record.

12. Decide if you will drive or ship your car(s).

Each option has its pros and cons. Once you decide to ship your vehicles to your new PCS, contact Ship A Car, Inc. for an estimate. We’ve transported cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc. – just about any type of vehicle – for more than 35,000 customers, including military personnel and their families.  Call us at 866-821-4555 for more information.