7 ways to prep for an upcoming PCS

Two movers holding a couch with a family sitting on the couch
Two movers holding a couch with a family sitting on the couch

7 ways to prep for an upcoming PCS

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Moving season is here, and the logistical balancing act is about to start. It’s easy to procrastinate — especially when new episodes of your favorite Netflix show are calling. Here are seven helpful hints to help you cope with your impending relocation.

The purge is real.
Congratulations! You’re the lucky recipient of a brand-new assignment! Once you’ve received notification, start combing through the rooms of your house. Go through closets, shelves and drawers. Anything that hasn’t been used within the past year should fall victim to the purge. Do you really need that G.I. Joe that’s broken in half? Donate or trash the things that you don’t use or need anymore.

Once you’ve sorted through those items, set aside the items that will go into your unaccompanied baggage (express shipment), the main household goods shipment and the non-temporary (long-term) storage. We usually designate a corner in the living room to our express shipment. Items going into long-term storage will be noted with either a special color-coded dot or a sign if it is a large piece of furniture.

Schedule appointments as soon as you can.
If you’re heading to an overseas location, you’ll need a medical clearance. The sooner you make this appointment, the better. If you have pre-existing conditions, your clearance will most likely need to be approved by the gaining installation to verify facilities are available to handle your medical needs. If you’re already overseas, check your out-processing requirements. Some overseas bases also require a medical clearance to leave.

If you have furry friends, check the requirements of where you’re moving. Most animals will need wellness exams, current vaccines and health certificates signed by your veterinarian. If you’re heading to an island (Hawaii, Guam, Japan or the U.K.), there will be a lengthy quarantine involved. If you’re in the Kaiserslautern area, contact the Veterinary Treatment Facility for more in-depth information regarding moving with a pet.

Become one with the copier and scanner.
Having a copy of your medical and dental records on hand is a great way to help out your new doctor, especially since it can take a few weeks or even months for your records to arrive to your new duty station. If you have a pre-existing condition that flares up or need a medication refill, your new medical team will be able to verify the information via your copy.

Many schools are now giving parents the option to hand carry their child’s school records. This cuts down on the wait time for the new school to receive the records, and it also saves parents the hassle of having to remember the address and telephone number of the previous school. If you’re unable to hand carry school records, be sure to have a copy of the last report card your student received.

The internet can be your best friend and your worst enemy.
Ah, the internet. Chock full of information and opinions, it can be your greatest resource when moving. Do your own research, but rely on your instincts. It’s easy to get excited about the new and unknown (or try to find the bright spot in the place that you were least expecting to go). Everyone has different experiences and opinions. Form your own. It’s easy to get overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) by the amount of information out there. When your brain is about to check out, take a break, nosh on some popcorn and watch a movie.

Butter up your movers with food.
Moving week has finally arrived. The sea of cardboard has invaded, and strangers are packing up your cherished items. Leaving out snacks, having an ice chest with soda and bottled water, or offering to pick up some lunch is just a nice thing to do. It’s not required, but I like to think that by taking care of our packers and movers, they’ll take care of our stuff. Plus, it also helps clear out the fridge.

You can’t take it all with you.
Now that the moving truck has been loaded, you’re left with a counter full of cleaning supplies, a fridge with perishables, and possibly some open bottles of wine. Invite your neighbors over for a fridge and pantry raid. Most friends and neighbors will happily accept, and you won’t have to waste perfectly good food (or wine). Once you’ve cleaned your house for the last time, donate your cleaning supplies to neighbors or other friends that may be moving shortly after you.

Adjust your attitude as necessary.
Moving is stressful. Things will go awry, and your orders may change or even get cancelled. You may have one lone packer for two days, or an entire herd. Life, as you’ve known it, has been turned upside down. Remember to laugh. Laughter can be truly cathartic and healing. The boxes and cardboard will eventually disappear, and everything will fall into place — even if it’s not on your prescribed timetable.

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