Stressful Moves Lead Military Spouse to Create New System

moving boxes with stickers
(Photo Courtesy of C.C. Gallagher)

When a permanent change-of-station move (PCS) forces yet another career change, sometimes it's time to make it a bold one. That's exactly what military spouse CC Gallagher did. More than once.

After a forced resignation due to a move from Washington, D.C., to Fort Carson, Colorado, Gallagher started a consulting business. Then, she was hired as a defense contractor and worked with spouse employment through programs like the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) and Military Spouse Transition Program (MySTEP).

Working both her consulting business and a full-time job, she found herself on the edge of burnout when it was time for yet another PCS.

After her family's latest move to the Fort Bliss, Texas area, Gallagher decided to focus full time on her consulting business -- and more specifically on the Stressless PCS Kit, which she developed.

putting color coded stickers on moving boxes
(Photo Courtesy of C.C. Gallagher)

"I was so frustrated with previous moves," she said. "As a working spouse with young kids, I couldn't read what was on the boxes, didn't understand the process for marking things as damaged."

So she created her own labeling system. The goal was to create a better overall experience by increasing the organization and efficiency moves.

The Stressless PCS Kit, which is now in production, comes with labels, door hangers, instruction sheets and a room chart. It allows a family to have more control over a process that can feel uncontrollable. And it gives the moving crews a little more accountability.

Gallagher created the system and used it during a move. Then friends asked whether they could have one too. "We found a problem-solving product that others could use -- all out of frustration," she said.

The Stressless PCS Kit has the entire process laid out and ready for you. It's printed, curated, organized and shrink wrapped, giving you everything you need to move. With 240 labels and 12 door hangers, the process is pretty easy but makes things much more efficient.

information sheet on stressless pcs kit
(Photo Courtesy of C.C. Gallagher)

Here's how it works: Start with the color-coded room sheet and pick a color for each room. Then, add the labels to the boxes in those rooms. When you get to your new house, put the door hanger with the matching color on the door of the room those boxes will go in.

The kit can benefit anyone doing a move. One spouse used it for a DITY from Washington, D.C., to Fort Bliss, Gallagher said. This spouse's parents helped with the move, and the system set them up for success.

Another military spouse moved from California to South Korea and used the kit for multiple shipments and storage. The family found that the icons and colors on the stickers were a huge help in overcoming the language barrier.

Gallagher herself used the kit on her last move from Fort Irwin, California, to Bliss, saying it changed everything. "I love operations and procedures," she said.

When the truck arrived at her new home, she had put out the door hangers and walked the crew through the house.

"The colors added another layer to identify where everything was going. Now they are not having to move things multiple times -- less frustration overall," she said.

Since January, 70 kits have been sold, filling a need Gallagher knew was there. "The goal is to get it to military families for free," she said.

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--Rebecca Alwine can be reached at rebecca.alwine@monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebecca_alwine.

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