By Guest Contributor and Military Spouse, Missy Lum
Using up the rest of our ink, I applied my carefully translated “Do Not Pack” signs on doors and cabinets throughout our German home. I stood back and examined my work. These signs were perfect. We were ready for the movers. However, when pack-out day came, we quickly learned our movers didn’t speak any German. They were Bulgarian and spoke perfect English.
Some tips and tricks are more helpful than others in this whirlwind of PCS season. We live and learn. Here are a few of my top tips and tricks for a PCS:
This one is a given, but it is still worth a mention. Items of sentimental value are not replaceable. Save your sanity and pack them yourself.
Do damage control.
Unfortunately, with multiple moves, damages are inevitable. Snapping a picture of the TV or other electronics while turned on with a date stamp the day movers arrive shows everything is in working order.
Keep paperwork together.
A 3-ring binder with document protectors and tabs contains our important documents like orders, leases, titles, birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, social security cards, legal documents, medical, school, and vet records. Not a fan of binders? Use a briefcase, portable filing cabinets, or expandable folders, but whatever you do, keep the paperwork together!
Plan out meals.
Eating out is expensive and unhealthy. It gets old quickly. Meal prepping doesn’t have to be complicated. Double up on meals prior to moving. Freeze the second meal with the instructions listed on the bag. No time for meal planning? Utilize a meal plan service delivered to the front door.
Organize the boxes.
Color coding moving boxes is a game changer and takes away the need for ground control. Once the packers have boxes together, place color-coded labels on each box. Upon move-in day at the new home, post a sign on each door that coordinates with the correct label. When boxes are unloaded, the movers know which box goes in which room.
Make the PCS count.
Put extra effort into the trip. Every 2-3 years we get a vacation. Take the time to make it count. Prepare surprise grab bags for kids during long car rides. Download audiobooks or podcasts the whole family can enjoy. See the world, explore, spend time together. Be present and intentional in the adventure.
Not every PCS will be smooth, but we’ve found intentional prep and planning can help the process and relieve some of the stress that comes with every PCS season. What tips could you add to this list?
Missy Lum is a proud Army spouse of 18 years. She has traveled the world with her favorite soldier, 2 amazing teenagers, and larger-than-life dogs.