Military (moving) maneuvers

Posted by on February 3rd, 2016


One thing is a near-certainty for anyone who makes the military a career.

Permanent Change of Station – or PCS – are orders to move out of your home at the drop of a hat, and relocate. For most, it’s not a move-up, but a move out, to somewhere far away and likely in a different time zone.

While everyone faces many of the same challenges when moving, members of the Armed Forces are conditioned to accept certain truths associated with doing it quickly and under orders: Some stuff is bound to get broken, and not everything can be expensed.

However, many of the following tips can be used to great effect by anyone! You don’t have to be military to move with military precision!

House on a diet

Don’t keep packing and unpacking the same items every time you move. Stash some of your infrequently used items in storage.

There’s a great way to minimize the amount of storage you’ll need, since you never know when your next move will be. It’s called getting organized!

Adopt a habit of going through your house and getting rid of an item or two every day. Get rid of everything that is broken, used up or totally processed.

Recycle often. If you don’t have time for a yard sale, make a drop off at the base thrift store, or any thrift store, once a week. Sell some stuff online.

Personal expenses

When making a move, most military folks can get the price of moving covered by professionals on a Government Bill of Lading (GBL). But some prefer a Personally Procured Move, or PPM, and doing the work themselves.

The government will pay you up to 95 percent of what it would cost to have professionals do it, and it allows you to take responsibility for the safety of your stuff.

Designate a “no-pack zone” in the house to pile up stuff you plan to move yourself. Make sure you tell the movers. Maybe even put it behind closed doors or put up a little “keep out” sign.

Weigh your vehicle both empty and full so you can get reimbursed for items you move yourself. It’s easier to do before you leave than when you arrive at the new house.

Getting ready

If you always have a “moving plan” in the back of your mind, it can lessen the impact. Create a helpful binder to hold all the paperwork you will need. You better believe you’ll be asked for it.

This paperwork should include your written PCS orders, birth certificates for each family member, social security cards, mortgage docs and rental agreements.

Putting valuable personal information in a secure place should be a no-brainer for everyone by now. But if you’re squeamish about important papers and valuables that can’t be replaced, it’s okay to hand-carry them.

Build excitement about the new location. It’s especially important the kids have specific tasks so they feel like they are a part of a “team.” Get everyone involved as participants instead of spectators.

One of the nicer things about moving is the fresh starts – not only in a new community, but with your laundry, as well. Wash and dry all your sheets and blankets, and don’t use them again until you get to the new house. Pack them away in special plastic bags designed for the job, and wait for the movers to arrive.

Moving your family is going to be nerve-wracking enough without how – or even where -Tiger and Fido are. Unless they absolutely have to be taken along on the move, take the time to arrange kennels for nervous pets.

Help them help you

Make a list of the items and serial numbers of all of the valuables you ARE allowing the movers to take care of. Make sure to take pictures, and video (with timestamp), if possible, to prove electronics were in working condition.

Save packing time and trouble by using large plastic zipper bags to hold small items you don’t want touched, separated or lost.

Don’t tell the movers you mistrust them. In fact, ply them with food and cool drinks to keep them happy.

Last but not least, consider setting aside part of your dislocation allowance to hire a cleaning company to clean the place you’re leaving. It will save stress on your mind and your back.

New orders

Another part of getting settled into your new home is hooking up Internet, TV, computers and other electronics.

Scout available service ahead of time. Even if there is a very limited list of providers in a particular area, it’s much easier if you know your options.

Hooking up your computers, video games, DVR and DVD players can suddenly be an extremely daunting task. Now how did that wire go? Need tech support?

There are many services and box stores that offer help with tricky hookups.

Permanent Change of Station can become “Pleasant Change of Scenery” if you plan properly!