Whether its your first military move or your tenth, PCSing is stressful! Of course there’s the obvious questions to answer like: “Where will we live?” “What’s the area like?” Do they have good schools?” But there are a lot of fine details to cover too. “Anybody know a good dentist?” “Where’s the best dog park?” In addition, emotions play a huge part in each & every relocation experience; excitement, anxiousness, joy, loneliness, frustration & relief are just a few…that you’ll probably feel all at once!
Planning, packing, unpacking & adjusting to your new community can take up to several months. All combined, the ladies of Crawford Team have spent years coordinating our families’ moves over the course of our husbands’ careers. With each transfer, you’re guaranteed new experiences, opportunities, friendships & life lessons that you’re bound to appreciate. So…What are some ways to help make the transition smooth?
- Particularly if you are moving during the peak summer months of May to August, start the process as soon as possible; ie as soon as orders are in hand. You may find it easier to secure the pickups & delivery dates you want if you are proactive. The website Military OneSource provides a great online resource which “provides you with access to information about your entitlements and benefits, to points of contact, checklists, planning tools, and information on education and employment. Read more about “Plan My Move” at http://apps.militaryonesource.mil/MOS/f?p=PMM:ENTRY:0
- Do a Property Inventory. The easiest way is to take a recording & go from room to room, taking note of all of your belongings. Be sure to get those serial numbers! Go through your home and be aware that you may not want to take everything with you. This was always especially hard for my kids. Any one else have a “special rock collection”? Plan for specially items, like a piano, to be moved on their own. As your date approaches, you’ll want to rope in items that have been lent out, give-back the ones you’ve borrowed and start doling out the houseplants, etc that you decide don’t need to make the move.
- Create a PCS Binder. Use it to store all of your important documents; including, but not limited to birth certificates, powers of attorney, packing checklists, calendars with important dates. Keeping everything in one place can be a lifesaver!
- Notify all parties of your change of address. Particularly if you are PCSing across the country or out of the country, be sure to notify your bank about your move! You might be ready for a break but no one wants to take it stranded at a gas station waiting for the bank to identify your credit card charges as non-fraudulent! Yikes!
- “You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends.” Military families know all too well how much we appreciate, rely on & adore our family-friendships. We share holidays, birthdays, and deployments; celebrate weddings, births, and homecomings; and hold each other up. These friends will offer their help…and mean it. From watching your kids &/or pets while the packers are there, to cooking dinner or just offering one last hug…Take it!
- Understand that no two moves will ever be the same. Whether you’re going over seas, cross-country, sea/shore duty, etc…the sooner you learn to go with the flow, the better! Embrace your new community and the family will be happier for it! If you’re working with a real estate agent, they can be a big help, as well as your Sponsor, Fleet & Family Support Center (or other base family service) and even Social Media! You will find all sorts of play-groups, networking alliances, advice chat rooms & more with military families in the same boat…so to speak.
There’s a lot more questions to be heard, answers to give & advice to be shared. When it comes down to it, take a deep breath, do your best, remember not to sweat the small stuff, and give lots of hugs. A little planning and a lot of positivity will take you a long way!