Moving is a big part of military life. The process may seem overwhelming, but these tips will help you make your move as easy and pain-free as possible.
1. Decide what kind of move you want
You can opt to have a do-it-yourself (DITY)/personally procured move or a government contract move, in which the military hires someone to move your things for you. Figure out which type works best for you because each requires different planning.
As soon as your orders arrive, go to move.mil to start the PCS process.
Gather the following items:
- Power of Attorney
- Multiple copies of your orders
- Personal identification records such as your social security card, birth certificate, and passport
- Compile these items for yourself, your dependents, and your pets and keep them in a binder for easy access.
3. Understand move restrictions
Some companies won’t allow you to pack liquids. (This is almost always the case for OCONUS moves.) Get prohibited items out of the way before the movers arrive. Have a party to use and give away what you can’t take with you.
4. Document your valuables
Keep an accurate record of your possessions in case there are mishaps. Pay special attention to high-value items such as electronics, jewelry, or artwork. Try to keep these things with you. Take photos of the items, and keep a spreadsheet of the serial numbers and specifications. Should something go missing, you’ll have the information you need to file a claim. Try using a household inventory app to make tracking your belongings easier.
5. Get some Ziploc bags
Even though you may not be able to box things up yourself, you can still put smaller items into Ziploc bags. Seal things like flatware ahead of time so that they will be clean and ready to use at your new home.
6. Pack things you’re carrying with you in advance
Make sure that you have the uniform items, clothing, documents, medications, and toiletries that you’ll need when your household goods are in transit. Check to be sure that everything fits into the space you have before the movers leave.
7. Create an “Open First” box
You can request that movers pack certain items together. Include blankets, pillows, a shower curtain, towels, and any other things you might want to keep with you. Great Guys Moving suggests keeping these essential items in a separate place in your home so they don’t accidently get packed along with the rest of the shipment. You can drive these things yourself to your destination so you’ll have things to get you started in your new place.
8. Know your weight allowance
Military personnel is given a weight allowance based upon their rank and number of dependents. If you think your belongings weight too much, have a yard sale or make donations. Being over your limit is expensive.
9. Make it an adventure
Turn your move into a chance to experience new things. Make a bucket-list of activities you want to do in the days leading up to your move. Research your new home, and figure out where you want to explore first.
With a little planning, you can take the stress out of long distance relocation.