Staying Organized During a PCS

organized during pcs

Staying Organized During a PCS

Moving can be an exciting and stressful time for military families, that is why it is important to stay organized during your PCS. Each PCS is different, and a little planning can go a long way in making your transition to a new home easier.

Research

Research while you wait for your orders to be finalized. Don’t commit to anything until you have orders in hand. Research areas that apply to your family, so you know what to expect before arriving at your new location. Areas of research are:

  • Schools – Contact the school liaison officer for school-aged information.
  • Community – Connect to spouse and base social medial groups.
  • Childcare – Look into child-care options for emergencies or free PCS childcare requirements.
  • PCS Entitlements – Know your pay entitlements, so you can plan and save.
  • Automobile – Review information such as vehicle registration/inspections requirements, and driver’s license requirements.
  • Housing – Keep the cost of living in mind while deciding to live on or off base.

This is also a good time to utilize PCSgrades to get reviews on base housing, schools, realtors, moving companies, and more.

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Get Organized

You will need to keep track of multiple checklists, documents, expenses, itineraries, boxes, and packing lists so getting organized is a necessity. The Stressless PCS Kit can help to organize your household goods. For documents and everything else check out this PCS binder guide. Important areas to organize are:

  • Important documents – Birth/marriage certificates, social security cards, passports, titles, military orders, auto information, and pet records.
  • Children – Get copies of school paperwork and Exceptional Family Member Program paperwork. If you are moving OCONUS, check out the DoDEA for information and resources for parents and students.
  • Household Goods – Take photos and catalog all of your things, especially items that are valuable or breakable.
  • Tricare – Check information and resources for medical and dental services at your new location.
  • Sponsor – Request a sponsor at your new base, they can help with local information.

If this is your first PCS or you are feeling overwhelmed and need help, Millie Scouts can help. They consist of military spouses who have PCS experience and are ready to help in all stages of your move.

Plan Your Move

Once you have orders in hand you can start planning your move and making the necessary arrangements. Your “Report no Later than Date” will give you a travel deadline. Important areas to plan for are:

  • Housing – Pick where you want to live and submit necessary applications and paperwork. Read lease agreements carefully.
  • Household Goods – Make an appointment with the transportation office (TMO) to coordinate your move type and arrange transportation/shipping for your vehicle.
  • Check-in Procedures – Know the check-in process at your new base.
  • Passport – Make sure your visa and passport information is up to date if traveling overseas.
  • Travel – Decide your travel dates, how you will travel, and where you will stay en-route and upon arrival.
  • Mail – Place your mail on hold once you know your move out date.

If you need further help to plan your move, visit move.mil to get information & resources relating to your specific type of PCS.

Getting Settled

Unpacking and exploring the new area are not the only things you need to accomplish at your new location. Make sure to accomplish these important tasks first:

  • Employment – Check with the base employment office to find a job and get information on reimbursement for re-licensing or re-certification.
  • Address – Update your address for all of your accounts such as banking, investments, phone, auto, and insurance to name a few.
  • Vehicle – Register your vehicle and update your license, make sure to check military exemption policies.
  • Utilities – Setup or transfer utilities as needed.
  • Mail – Make sure to let the Post Office know your new address.
  • Household Goods – Notify TMO of new address for household goods delivery and remember to file a claim if you need to report damaged or missing items.

Preparing for and planning for a PCS can be stressful, so don’t do it alone. Check out our PCS Checklist, or to get a customizable checklist for your next move go to Plan My Move provided by Military One Source.

 

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About the author

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Lori Waddell serves as Co-director of an emergency response COAD in Montana, a freelance writer, and an Air Force Key Spouse. She is passionate about empowering communities and individuals through knowledge and resources. She currently lives in Montana with her husband and two children.