Related Spouse Articles

Military Life 101

  • job fair
    Military Spouse Employment 101
    Military.com
    While the military will always throw a monkey wrench in any best-laid plans, your career doesn't have to be one of them.
  • (Photo: U.S. Department of Education)
    Military Spouse Education Help 101
    Military.com
    Good news for you: Being a military spouse can actually make some parts of going back to school easier.
  • (Photo: U.S. Navy)
    Military Life 101
    Military.com
    Military life has a lot of nuts and bolts. You know, the little things that make up just an ordinary day.
  • stack of one dollar bills
    Military Spouse and Family Benefits 101
    Military.com
    Don't know exactly how to get your military spouse and family benefits or want to know more about what they are? Read on.
  • Movers at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, load up a truck with household goods. Jose Ramirez/Air Force
    Military Spouse and Family Moves 101
    Military.com
    Whether you're an old pro or new to the military moving game, there's stuff to learn about PCSing. Here's our easy PCS 101 guide.
  • (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie)
    Military Family Deployment 101
    Military.com
    Preparing for deployment can seem like an uphill battle. But we've been there. Here's what you need to know.
  • Military family
    Military Family Life 101
    Military.com
    Military life is not easy, but we've got your back. From marriage to kids and parenting, we have the resources you need.

How to Save Your PCS From Meaning Packed, Cracked and Smashed

Movers at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, load up a truck with household goods. Jose Ramirez/Air Force
Movers at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, load up a truck with household goods. Jose Ramirez/Air Force

I'm not sure how we did it, but we somehow managed to get off-schedule with our moves. We're Thanksgiving movers. That's right: You're roasting turkeys, hanging stockings, trimming trees, and we're moving out of third-story walk-up apartments in -- inevitably -- the snow.

Big perk: We aren't doing it in 90-degree weather. (Although for our next move, we will be. Thanks, Florida.)

So while the rest of our friends are getting orders and planning their moves, you'd think we'd be sitting pretty. After all, we haven't moved in -- count 'em -- 16 months. We are downright HOMESTEADING.

But here's the sad, sad truth: We are still dealing with our last PCS. It's evident in every room in our home. Because around here, PCS means more than Permanent Change of Station. It means Packed, Cracked and Smashed.

Packed: Everything I own. All of my personal belongings on this Earth. I know those shouldn't matter and it's only the stuff of the heart that counts, etc., etc., etc., but you know what? The people who say that didn't have their coffee maker broken. I need my coffee pot. I need it not broken.

Ditto anything that helps me distract my kids so I can actually finally unpack this one last box that is still staring me in the face every time I enter my bedroom. I'm looking at you, lost box of Beloved Children's Toys that mysteriously vanished. Did anyone accidentally get our box of Play-Doh, alphabet magnets and pool toys? Please, forward it to Florida.

Cracked: Lamps. Chairs. Bookcases. Glasses and plates, de rigueur. Things you actually didn't know were physically capable of GETTING cracked? Those things get cracked, too.

Smashed: So much. So very much. Every single table we own, right along with my completely naive hopes and dreams that we might settle as-seamlessly-as-possible into our new home and new lives. 

Mwah-hah-hah, Murphy laughs. 

But! Your PCS doesn't have to be like that. Seriously. It's possible to come through pretty unscathed. Here's how:

Game plan the packing. Pro tip: Color-coordinating your labels helps a lot.

Get your checklists up and running. Timelines, responsibilities, budgets -- you name it, get it in writing. That way, there are no extra last-minute surprises. (Because there are always last-minute surprises, so let's avoid the ones we can.)

Do not dig yourself into a financial hole. Hint: The PCS may be a great moment for a mid-move vacation, but drive past the Ritz and head straight to La Quinta or someplace else that gives you a military discount. (Plus, La Quinta will let Fido stay, too!) 

In fact, do everything you can to save money during your PCS. There are a lot of free money management tools at your fingertips, and this is the time to start using them.

If you're letting the movers pack you, make sure you do a serious walkthrough before they come. Here, actual military movers tell us what they wish we would do before every move. Hint: It doesn't mean you have to be super organized. In fact, there's some merit in waiting until after the move to organize at all. Just don't let your boxes rot unpacked like I've done mine. ((((cringes at sight of last unpacked box in corner))))

Invest in little Ziplock bags. Use them to corral all the odds and ends of your furniture so you don't find yourself ordering a packet of shelf pins on Amazon a year after you've moved so you can finally re-assemble a bookcase in your kid's room. Definitely not talking from experience here.

Don't try to hide your most valuable possessions in a safe and fail to list them on the valuable items list because you're worried about the movers stealing them. LIST YOUR VALUABLE ITEMS.

Prep the kids. Try to set the right stage, attitude-wise. Your school-age kids will want to know about making new friends, and your toddlers will need their own special help

Avoid the easy oversell to your teenagers. They're like dogs -- they smell fear. Be honest, even when it means "yeah, so, this isn't ideal." Because guess what? You're still doing it. File it under "Things You Can Hate Me for Later." 

Embrace the whole "home is where the military sends you" attitude and find the right way to display it in your home. Daydream about how to make the new home as cozy and just-right as possible. We're very fond of throw pillows.

Whatever you do, don't PCS in a tornado. I mean, not only will your throw pillows not do well, but it could really upset the whole easy-moving-process goal. We know a wife who's done it though -- and she came out unscathed.

I'll take that as proof that there's nothing a PCSing military spouse can't handle.

Sorry, Murphy.

Related Topics

PCS Family and Spouse

Military News App by Military.com

Download the new Military.com News App for Android on Google Play or for Apple devices on iTunes!

Featured VA Loan Articles

  • VA Loan Closing Costs: An Added Benefit
    Besides the advantage of requiring no down payment for qualified VA borrowers, there's also a distinct advantage for the borrow...
  • White suburban home.
    IRRRL Facts for Veterans
    Military.com
    IRRRL stands for Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan,also known as a "Streamline" or a "VA to VA" loan.
  • US Map Showing High Cost Counties
    VA Loan Limits for High-Cost Counties 2017
    Military.com
    The VA loan limit for 2017 is $424,100. But it could actually be substantially more if you buy a home in a high-cost county. Se...
  • Get the FAQs on VA Home Loans
    We've answered 16 of the most frequently asked VA Loan Benefit questions. View them now to get a quick understanding of your be...
  • Top 3 VA Home Loan Tips
    There are numerous advantages to having a VA mortgage. A VA mortgage loan can be guaranteed with no money down, in some cases u...
© 2016 Military Advantage