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More on Moving AKA PCSing

This will be a long post, but I hope it will be helpful for the *new airforce wife* that wrote in!

I highly recommend going to any pre-move briefing available on your base.  Your husband most likely must go to this and spouses are encouraged to attend as well. 

I recommend a couple of books:  Today's Military Wife and Married To The Military.  There are many books out there, but these two books helped me a great deal, they have good information on PCSing and explanations of the entire PCS process.

There are also many internet resources available and I will list several:

Tips for a Military PCS Move, this list sums up everything you should do to PCSMoving Tips & ArticlesPlanning your military move and sidebars for all things PCSing Automated Housing Referral Network http://www.ahrn.com Relocation & PCS CenterMilitary LodgingMilitarymove.org SITES - Standard Installation Topic Exchange ServiceFor current $ rates on all things travel go to https://secureapp2.hqda.pentagon.mil/perdiem/TLE, TLA, DLA, what's that? http://www.airwarriors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5892Military DITY Move Guide Quick Resources 

Onto my experience and advice:

Make 10-20 copies of your orders, you will need them.  If your husband will not be there the day of the move or the day they deliver the goods to your new location, make sure you have a special power of attorney from JAG to act on his behalf for the move (this is very important if you will be moving alone due to TDY or deployment.)  Be sure you know what you will be getting for DLA and what your household goods weight allowance is.

I am a pre-planning fool.  PCSing several times has caused my OCD planning habits to worsen, that is for sure.  I begin going through the entire house room by room months before a move.  I call this my making weight allowance cleaning.  I go through and make piles to throw away, to give away, to sale in a yard sale.  I also separate all of my husbands pro gear from the rest of the house.

I then go through all paperwork and make sure I have everything of importance and file them and put them into storage bins or small filing cabinets that I can load into our car or uhaul trailer.  I have had things get lost during moves, so I never trust the movers with paperwork, things with SSNs or anything of great sentimental value such as jewelry, etc.  I always keep it with us.  This includes all of my husbands military paperwork, marriage certificates, birth certificates, passports, school records, tax returns and so on.  I either put all of these items in my car ahead of time or have one room of the house off limits to the movers with a sign on the door, PLEASE KEEP OUT, DO NOT PACK THIS ROOM! 

I also take down all pictures off of the walls, take down curtains and wash them.  I also throw dryer sheets into boxes or containers with my clothing and linens while they are being packed.  I never let the movers touch my undergarments, etc.  I always bag them up myself and then leave them in the drawers.  I also find it helpful to wash my silverware and put it all in zip lock bags.  Yes, I have OCD!!!

In the Do Not Pack Room you may also want to put a few pillows, blankets, an air mattress, a pot and pan, etc, anything you will need to stay afloat until you actually hit the road for your new duty station. 

One the day your movers come do try to have a few snacks and sodas, water or coffee available to them.  They will appreciate it.  You can also offer to get them pizza or something else that is cheap and quick for lunch, it is up to you.  If you have a several day experience, as in they pack you for 2 days and load on the third day, you do not have to feel obligated to purchase them food each of those days, but offering drinks and snacks is a nice gesture.

Take pictures or videos of everything and close ups if you can.  You can even video the movers while they are there if it makes you feel better.  I don't do that, but I do know many families that do.  Write down lists of all movies, cds, etc if your movers are packing these.  Also write down all of the serial numbers for all electronic items and if you have time, put a personal mark on them, DON'T use SSNs.  Keep these lists with you during the move.

If you feel the movers are not doing their jobs well or are being rude, showing up late, etc DO CALL your transportation office and let the transpo officer know.  That is what they are there for.

DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING that you have not read throughly, this is most important when the truck is loaded and the driver is in a hurry to leave.  Sit down and go over every paper, make mental notes of what they have written beside pieces of furniture, etc and write any rebuttals beside their writings, then initial it.  Also remember that  you can call and ask what your weight was if you are concerned about it and when you get to your next duty station, when the movers call you to set up a delivery date, you can ask them to reweigh your household goods if you wish.Other things to think about:

If you have animals it is best to crate them or put them out in a fenced backyard while the movers are there.  On the same pet note, I have found that most bases/posts do not have temporary lodging facilities that allow pets, so you must plan accordingly for this and it seems that each base/post has a different total animals allowed regulation for military housing.  An example is that we live on a post that allows 3 animals, we are moving to a post that only allows 2 animals so we had to let our friends adopt one of our dogs.  I hope that in the future there will be a military wide animal amount allowed per family in military housing and that more bases/posts will have temp lodging that allows animals, but until then, check out all of these rules in advance of your move.

Try to plan out your driving route and hotel accommodations in advance, especially if you have pets and/or children.  You are only alloted so many days of paid (after the fact) travel depending on the miles from your current location to your new duty station, your husband can ask about this when he files paperwork before your move.

Keep every receipt you get, food, gas, hotel, weight if you are hauling a trailer, storage facility at your new location, etc.  DO NOT count on DLA to cover the entire cost of your move and find out how many days you are alloted from the military in temporary housing.  They will only pay for so many days (on base or off) and if you don't get housing quickly, you will then begin to pay out of pocket for a hotel.  You will begin to get BAH, but that normally never covers the cost of extended stays in hotels.  It is good to look into housing in advance.  If you plan to live on post you can call the housing office in advance, they may or may not be able to project anything, but my experience has been to not buy or rent unseen.  Bad experiences there.

When you arrive at your new base your husband will file travel paperwork for reimbursements.  Be sure that you watch the paperwork and $$ that comes in, in order to be sure you have been properly compensated.  On occasion you will get more than you were supposed to and they will always want it back.  :)

I know this sounds stressful and is a lot to digest, but trust me, after you do it once, it becomes like old hat by the time the next move comes around.  If you have time and the means, take your time while driving to your next duty station, take an alternate route, stop and see something fun or interesting or even visit some family or friends.

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