10 PCS lessons learned

Family sitting on couch smiling and laughing surrounded by moving boxes.
Family sitting on couch smiling and laughing surrounded by moving boxes.

10 PCS lessons learned


There are a plethora of PCS (Permanent Change of Station) advice articles out there, but after reading some of the cringe-worthy moving experiences shared by fellow military families, I realized that a few small changes can greatly increase the success of your pack out.

Here are a few non-traditional PCS lessons learned:

  • Make sure all trash is out of the house or it will get packed (this includes trash from the lunches you may provide for the packers).
  • Never allow the packers to make a “parts box”. It is best to keep the assembly pieces with the piece of furniture it belongs to. (If possible, place parts in zip-top bags and attach to furniture).
  • Request the packers don’t tape anything to the actual furniture piece, removing the tape may cause damage to the pieces.
  • Get rid of food items that will spoil if they get packed from the refrigerator and pantry. Chances are, they will get packed and NO ONE wants to find a bag of potatoes after being in storage.
  • Pack your own jewelry prior to the arrival of the pack out team. Put your important and irreplaceable jewelry in a safe place labeled DO NOT PACK.
  • PETS - Know where they are and keep them far away from packing activities-especially cats!
  • Throw away your plungers and toilet bowl cleaning brushes (buying replacements for these items is much better than finding them packed with your bed linens).
  • Don’t assume the packers will not pack the opened liquids or hazardous chemicals. Its best to get rid of them prior to the pack out or place the liquids you do want packed in zip topped bags (that way if they do get packed and leak, the damage will be minimal).
  • Speak up. If you feel uncomfortable with how something is being handled or packed, don’t be afraid to say something.
  • Get help. This can include hiring a babysitter, asking a neighbor to watch your pets, or calling a friend to be an extra set of eyes during packing. The extra help will greatly increase your chances of a successful pack out and lower your stress level.

Here are some things you CAN do if your pack out is not going as planned:

  • Call your TMO (Transportation Management Office).
  • Take photos of the packing job (it’s a good idea to have photos and video of your belongings before the movers arrive), especially high dollar items.
  • Label the boxes with your contact information (4 Ways to Prevent Lost Boxes).

Do you have a PCS lesson you learned the hard way?

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