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    Pro PCS Tips From Seasoned Milspouses

    When you're preparing for an upcoming PCS move, you're probably researching packing tips and checklists, including the detailed guides found right here at MilitaryByOwner.  

    Whether you're a newbie to the moving game or a seasoned pro, tapping into the wisdom of experienced military spouses can make a world of difference. These spouses, who have navigated countless moves and accumulated decades of experience in military life, are sharing their best lessons learned and essential tips to enhance your moving process.

    Explore some tried-and-true PCS tips and tricks from seasoned military spouses to help streamline your upcoming move and make the process as easy as possible!

    Pro PCS Tips From Seasoned MilspousesPreparing for a PCS Move

    • Artwork and Wall Hangings: Gather these items in one room weeks before the move. This signals to movers the need for special boxes and ensures these items receive careful handling.
    • That HHG Weight Allowance: Every ounce counts when you’re close to going over the limit. Clean out nooks and crannies in desks, junk drawers, and storage closets, and discard or donate items you don't need. Keep in mind that books are major weight-busters and quickly add up. Outdated or info easily found on the internet must go. Organize the items you don't want to move and hold your best garage sale ever
    • Hidden Items: Double-check under beds, behind furniture, and other hidden spaces for forgotten belongings. It's easy for items to get misplaced during the chaos of packing, like one spouse’s ornamental sword that unintentionally traveled from under the couch to the kitchen boxes.
    • Shipping Valuables: You may want to entrust a trusted friend or family member with your wedding dress, family heirlooms, delicate items, and priceless photos. If you're mailing them, insured shipping will give you more peace of mind.  

    woman putting clothing in donation boxPhoto from iStock.com/Gumpanat

    Packing Strategies

    • Wrap Furniture: Ask movers to use commercial-grade plastic wrap for dressers and drawers (or do it yourself beforehand) to save time and reduce the need for additional packing materials. This also keeps smaller items secure during transit. You can pre-wrap piles of small, loose items like markers, pencils, puzzles, socks, and games yourself so they're not all individually packed. 
    • Donation Piles: Establish a donation pile not only before you leave but also at your destination to avoid cluttering your new space with unwanted items.
    • Special Containers: Storing dry goods in secure plastic containers avoids messy spills and streamlines the moving process. Movers should have no issues placing these containers directly into boxes.

    moving wrapping furniture with plastic wrap in living roomPhoto from iStock.com/AndreyPopov

    On Moving Day

    • Non-Packables: If you're driving to your next duty station, consider taking along belongings that movers won't handle, like your precious wine collection. Use any leftover bubble wrap from past deliveries to cushion these items.
    • House Cleanliness: Don’t stress about cleaning difficult or hard-to-reach areas like under washers, dryers, and other spots we all struggle to clean. Movers have likely seen worse.
    • Mover Meals: While you're not required to feed movers, it's a nice gesture. A deli sandwich platter from the commissary or local grocery can be a refreshing change for your movers and will be much appreciated. 
    • Handling Personal Items: Keep a mental or actual list of sensitive items you wouldn’t want the movers to see, handle, or possibly take selfies with. Either take them with you or pack them yourself to ensure privacy and avoid an awkward situation. One military spouse recalls when she forgot an unmentionable and later found it wrapped in her pillowcase.
    • Candles: Have the movers ever refused to pack your candles because they'll melt into the rest of the box? One resourceful spouse wraps her candles in plastic wrap and never has trouble getting them to the next town.

      couple drinking coffee on couch surrounded by moving boxesPhoto from iStock.com/Olga Demina

    Other Considerations

    • Coffee, Coffee, Coffee: Label the box containing your coffeemaker so you can quickly set it up in your new home—essential for coffee-dependent parents!
    • Furniture Placement: One spouse suggests drawing a rough room diagram on graph paper to show where you want your large furniture and heavy items placed. Tape it up in the room to guide movers efficiently and eliminate the need for constant direction.
    • Going Away Parties: What’s a PCS without a going away party? Share the wealth and invite friends over to clean out the refrigerator and freezer. Guests might be treated to frozen lasagna or the last keg of home-brewed beer. After feasting, let your invitees shop through half bottles of cleaning supplies, open boxes of rice, and other items too valuable to toss out.

    While you must adhere to your moving company's guidelines, these tips from experienced military spouses offer flexibility and practical solutions for a smoother PCS. For more comprehensive information, including moving yourself, moving with kids and pets, travel advice, and more, continue exploring resources like our free PCS guide below. 

    Download Avoid PCS Move Wipeout E-Book

    Main image from iStock.com/Dejan Marjanovic

    Jen McDonald


    Jen McDonald

    Jen McDonald is the Content Editor for MilitaryByOwner Advertising. She's a longtime writer, the author of the books You Are Not Alone: Encouragement for the Heart of a Military Spouse and Milspouse Matters: Sharing Strength Through Our Stories. Jen is also the host of the Milspouse Matters podcast, and has written hundreds of articles and essays which have been published in other books and numerous publications. She was a military spouse for 30 years and is the mom of four, including one son in the military. One of her happiest roles now is being a grandmother. She and her veteran Air Force husband have been stationed all around the world from Europe to the Pacific and won’t count how many houses they’ve lived in because that would be too depressing. Her passion is encouraging young military spouses and regularly sharing about topics like military life, parenting, homeschooling...and now grandparenting! See more from Jen at her site, Jen McDonald and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram , and Pinterest.

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