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Top 10 PCS Mistakes

PCS moves are a minefield of potential problems -- "I wish I would've knowns" and "why did we do thats?" Facebook photo

PCS moves are a minefield of potential, problems "I wish I would've knowns" and "why did we do thats?"

We want to help you avoid some of that stuff.

That's why we asked some readers who have been there and done that to weigh in with their biggest PCS mistakes. Be glad they made them ... so you don't have to.

1. Tackling the do-it-yourself move at the wrong time. We all know there's a season for everything -- and the same thing goes for moving yourself. Readers said that "the time" is not while six months pregnant or alone with potty-training toddlers.

2. Forgetting that anything can change in a moment. When the military tells you you're moving somewhere and finally issues those orders, it certainly seems definite. One reader learned the hard way that may not be true. Even orders to Alaska can be changed at the last minute ... AFTER you pay out of pocket to ship a car and buy cold weather gear. 

3. Not getting a hard copy of your medical records. Sure, the clinic says your medical records will follow you to your next duty station. But you don't want to find out that they did not after you've already moved five states away. Avoid this one by hand-carrying yours and your children's records station to station.

4. Renting out your home from far, far away. Whether by choice or by need, military families often find themselves with a rental property on their hands. Although buying a home while in the military is a decision that has many pros and cons, one thing is certain: Renting it out later from across the country or world is a major pain.

5. Heading back to work too quickly. Military spouses know that if you have the good fortune of finding a job, you should definitely not turn it down. But jumping back into work too quickly after her PCS, before she and her family were settled, one reader said, was her biggest mistake.

6. Not knowing where your pets are. Military movers based near Fort Campbell, Ky., told that if people aren't careful to locate and contain their pets before the packers come, they can get accidentally boxed away. You read that right -- your pets can get packed into boxes.

Once, they said, their team of movers was shrink wrapping a couch for long-term storage in a warehouse before an OCONUS move when a giant python fell out of the bottom. Turns out, the snake had escaped its tank and the owner didn't know where it was when the packers arrived. Yikes!

And then there's the story of the retiree family whose cat survived three months in a moving box before making it safely into their new home. Do not let this happen to you.

7. Letting the movers transport the furniture parts. Many readers told us something they all learned the hard way -- if all of your furniture parts go into a box, and that box is the one that disappears, you're in big trouble.

They said they wished they had taped the pieces to the furniture they belonged to. Our advice? If at all possible, move the parts yourself so you know they won't go missing or fall off the place where they are taped.

8. Forgetting to empty the trash before pack out. The rumors are true. If you don't empty it first, the movers will pack your trash can with whatever is in it. Gross!

9. Putting too much faith in careful moving. Several readers told us of times they put too much faith in the movers' ability to not break or hurt their furniture or valuables. No matter how careful a mover is, stuff is going to get bumped, scratched and maybe even broken. The best policy? If you really don't want something hurt, don't make it a part of your mobile military life.

10. Not doing enough research. One reader wished they had looked for reviews on their future landlord. A reputable rental website doesn't mean the landlords are good people.

PCSing is hard work and it won't always go perfectly, no matter how hard you try. Listening to the advice of people who have experienced it before can help you avoid major PCS mistakes.

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PCS Amy Bushatz

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