PCS Move Part I

It was with a certain amount of panic that I realized on Monday that WE ARE MOVING THIS MONTH. Bill went to Transportation yesterday and, officially, the packers will be here in NINETEEN days.

For you non-military types, let me assure you that this is not nearly as big a deal as if we were doing it all by ourselves. I have no boxes to pack, really. Nothing to arrange, really. They come, they pack, they move. (Anybody want to provide the Latin for that?)

I thought I would chronicle the steps to a PCS move for those in the military, and also for non-military families too. This will be our 5th military move in less than 5 years, and we’ve gotten pretty good at it. May as well share the knowledge, right?

As I said, Bill went to Transportation and made the arrangements for the move. We always do what is called a “partial DITY” or do-it-yourself move. You have to tell them before you move that you want to do this. Then you have to weigh your vehicles at some point (empty). Many truck stops offer scales for a low fee (perhaps $5) and some military installations have scales for free. If you have a hitch, you can rent a trailer to haul stuff, or you can just load your cars to the gills. Even if all you put in your car is your clothes for a few days, it’s worth the money. They pay you for the weight you move, so you’ll have to weigh the vehicles again after loading them up (children don’t usually count as household goods, FYI).

Goal for this week: weigh vehicles.

Next, I picked a spot in my house where I can put things I do not want the movers to pack. Things like: the dog, our clothes and toiletries, sleeping bags, snack food for the drive, valuable paperwork, the laptop, other valuables. I picked the master bathroom because it is big enough to hold all that stuff, yet the amount of things to pack out of there is very small.

Goal for this week: declutter this bathroom and relocate any items in there I want them to pack to the other bathroom.

The packers will box up anything that is not nailed down. I now need to put things where they belong so that when I open a box it makes sense. Right now, on my desk, the pile includes a video, some books, a cookbook, some toys, my camera, coupons, CDs, bills, the lid to the container for Fritz’s Latin flashcards, kids’ artwork, and reference material that belongs to a friend. My life would be much easier if all of these things were put away properly BEFORE the move. I am resigned to some amount of decluttering AFTER the move, but things, especially things that belongs to local friends, should be put away first.

Goal for this week: put things already slated for “give-away” in the car for drop off at the thrift store tomorrow night. And drop them off, too. Make a list of give-away items for a friend who may need them.

Since it’s Wednesday, I think that’s quite enough work for this week. Stay tuned for more tips on moving your household goods 900 miles in less than three weeks.

16 thoughts on “PCS Move Part I

  1. My husband tells the tale of the movers provided by his father's company once packing up and moving the trash can… with trash still in it! Has anything like that ever happened to you?

  2. Charlotte,

    I had a similar experience with civilian movers who packed me up lock, stock, & barrel when I moved from Colo. to the East coast a half century ago.

    When I finally got my stuff out of storage & shipped East a few years later, I opened a box of kitchen stuff to find an ashtray still full of cigarette butts!

    I understand movers will pack up dirty dishes with food in them if you don't watch out!


    Can you use any boxes for the stuff you are packing yourselves? I have a bunch since I am getting ready to empty my craft room.



  3. Charlotte, most of our moves have been fairly smooth. The worst one was our local move (where they kicked us out of one house to demolish it and moved us across post). I had a big X taped over a closet door and a sign that said DO NOT PACK, and they did anyway. Had our PJs and toothbrushes. We didn't have a dog then. Now we put the PJs with the dog and we've had no trouble with that sort of thing.

    Mom, we're only moving clothes and toiletries and important documents, so I don't think we need any boxes. Thanks, though.

  4. Wow, this is pretty encouraging. I've only done a DITY (not fun!) and an OCONUS (complicated) before.

  5. Do you find that some of your stuff is packed in odd groupings? That would be a little annoying.

    I keep thinking silly thoughts that your dog must be phenomenal if he stays in that bathroom for one month all packed up with those pjs. 😉

  6. Yes, movers will pack up your trash. They don't care; they put blinders on and pack everything that's not nailed down.

    And, the odd groupings drive me crazy. They label things weirdly too. I'll find a whole box of towels in a box labeled nik-naks and there'll be one knick knack in there.

  7. My husband was in the Air Force. The most fun we ever had was moving home from Germany. The Air Force contracts with German companies to pack households. All of our boxes were labeled in German. If I was near the packer, I labeled in English also to help on this end, otherwise we had to translate and hope for the best. Good luck.

  8. Dale, I'd have a fighting chance with German labels. It was the ones labeled in Spanish I couldn't make heads or tails of (that was also the LOCAL move).

    RMT, OCONUS is one thing I have not done. Maybe someday. Our 1st military move was a DITY. Never again.

  9. A good friend is facing the possibility of an OCONUS move this summer to Korea with their 4 kids.

    Not being a military family, I can't really picture it. But having someone do all the packing sounds good — and would cost a mint to do as a civilian!

    Best of luck with the move! Thanks for sharing.

  10. How do you get the dog to stay in one place for 19 days? 🙂
    Seriously, good luck! Sad that you are going farther away, but seeing as we were only able to get together once, I guess it isn't that different.

  11. PICKING a spot is not the same as USING the spot, folks! I won't begin to assemble things to put there until the day or two before the packers come. That's when the dog will start to get cramped.

  12. I have to agree about the organizing everything well before the packers get there. It makes life so much easier on the other end (6 moves attest to this). I pack up the little stuff before they get there to speed things along since adding 6 movers to our house makes things too chaotic for more than 2 days.

    Speaking of stuff, I still have to return that nappy to you Michelle, maybe now wouldn't be the best time?

  13. When we did our one military move 20 years ago I was given the same advice about they will move anything including trash and dirty dishes. I locked in the car the stuff we didn't want moved. I wonder if they had partial moves then since we ended up with a car full of baby stuff(pack and play etc) from Texas to Ohio. I was also amazed at boxes that were really almost empty like a lamp shade in a box by itself.

  14. I was just teasing, Michelle. I knew that…sorry if I offended.

  15. why cant you be moving to ft lewis??

  16. Oh my goodness. May the Lord bless your efforts and give you peace.

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