How to Prep for a PCS Before Orders


Butterflies in my stomach. A tightening in my chest. A insatiable desire to use Google. Obsessively creating check lists.

I'm on the cusp of our next PCS.

If you're like me, the beginning of the PCS process feels like standing on the edge of something large that you can't quite see. All the options are before you, and it's pretty definite that you'll be going somewhere ... but not definite enough to start really preparing for it. After all, researching school districts for 20 different location options is probably a waste of time.

But still, I feel like I need to prepare somehow. So what can I do? Here are three ideas.

Three ways to prepare for a PCS before you know where you're going:

1. Start the great PCS purge NOW. Why wait until the week before the movers come to sort through your stuff? Right now is the perfect time to tackle your clutter without feeling rushed or stressed. And if you decide to sell that clutter, doing it now means you have the time to make sure you're getting the most you can for it.

Sit down and make a plan for going through rooms. Commit to viciously and relentlessly tossing stuff you don't need or haven't used since your last move. If it's in good condition, considering consigning it at your on-base thrift store or listing it on a local online sales page or Craigslist.

If you've got a lot of gently used clothing, look into a service like TredUp. Stores like Clothes Mentor (for adults) or Once Upon a Child (for children or maternity) will also give you cash for gently used clothing.

If you're long on patience (unlike me) a garage sale may be more your style. If that's the case, carry around some labels or masking tape and a sharpie as you purge. Take a moment to price every item that hits your "sell" box now -- it'll be a lot easier and less overwhelming than doing it all at once later. Here are some other tips for a great yard sale.

2. Hit that bucket list. When we PCS we make a bucket list of all the things we want to do in the area before we leave it. And while we are good about working through it, inevitably some stuff just doesn't happen.

But with a PCS in view, now is the time to do that stuff. Visit that museum. Go on that camping trip. Hit that theme park.

3. Appreciate the good stuff. After months of proclaiming that I cannot WAIT to get out of this place, it wasn't five minutes after I heard we are moving that I thought "wow, I'm going to miss it." So instead of focusing on the things about this duty station that I do not like, I'm going to spend the next few months diving as far as possible into the things I love.

I'm going to take time to hang out with local friends. I'm going spend time on our favorite walking trail.  And I'm going to eat a ton of beer cheese dip at our favorite local restaurant.

What's on your before-you-can-really-do-much PCS checklist?

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