As PCS season, draws near, I’ve reached out to experts at my current base and future base to pick their brains on what tips and tricks have worked best for them. Moving can be daunting, but having a few tried and true methods can make this PCS season a breeze.
Using vacuum bags for our clothes was very helpful for the movers and for us to separate our winter clothes from our summer clothes. It helped us keep from unpacking everything at once.
Have a bin that stays in the car with you that has enough plates, cutlery, cups for the family. Also pack one pan and a cooking tool (I’m a fork for everything kind of gal but maybe you’re a spatula person!) make sure you include a roll of paper towels, some rolls of toilet paper, and soap for hands and dishes.
If you don’t use it get rid of it.
Put towels and bed linens in a large suitcase! That way the packers either load it like that or wrap it in brown paper. Either way it’s easy to spot when unloaded and you don’t have to search for a box which actually holds all your towels and linens but they couldn’t just label it as such.
Make sure your dishwasher is empty on packing day and clearly mark what you don’t want packed. We usually put it in a closet with a “do not pack” sign.
Take a video of your electronics working. Turn the TV on, use your blu-ray, turn on your microwave, etc. Helps with claims showing prior condition if your things get damaged.
If you are driving (especially if you know you will be in a hotel for a while) pack your slow cooker/ instant pot with your most used spices inside. Put your suitcases in the car when the movers come so you know they’ll fit and won’t get packed by accident. Save the receipt for any high value item. Save it digitally in a cloud storage if possible.
Bag the small things. Use one or two gallon size bags to bag up kitchen utensils, desk items, small toys- anything that can fit in a bag. This prevents movers from wrapping one spatula in 7 pieces of paper. Plus, keeps everything clean from paper dust. Just open the bag and dump it into the drawer at the new location.
Even though they label boxes…..buy colored duck tape and create a key….pink-daughter’s room, blue-kitchen…etc. After they pack….go back and place color tape to corresponding room on the boxes. In the next location, put up that key and maybe color tape on the door of the corresponding room. Makes it easier for the movers and you aren’t guessing where the boxes go based on their labeling. If you have moved enough times you know what I mean…..finding underwear in a box labeled kids toys is a What the heck?! moment of military moving…..lol.
If you are doing a DITY move, pack toilet paper and a shower curtain, bath towels and personal items in your car. When you get to your new location and a house is available, you can spend the night before you are able to unpack your trailers.
If taking two cars, take some walkie talkies to talk between cars so you can jam/ coordinate stops still while driving.
Waterproof, bedbug proof mattress bags… You never know the condition of the other loads your items are being transported/stored with.
If you have pets and are doing a CONUS move, make sure movers don’t pack their beds. Travel with their beds in your car to make the travel and move easier, when something familiar is there already pets stress less If you have cats, get a med/large dog kennel. Cats and liter box in the kennel in the car make travel a ton easier.
Leave sentimental items such special memories (babies cord clip, babies first outfit, pictures, antiques) with your family or send it to them in a separate package, so they can take care of these items till you are back from overseas as an example. We did it and thank God nothing got lost. Also pack important things on your own, which includes fragile items.
Put apple tags in your shipment.
Best thing I ever was told: put everything you want to keep in one room with a huge sign on the door saying DO NOT PACK! 2nd best thing: Don’t leave trash in your trash can, they will pack it and 3-6 months later you have a nice trash can full of moldy trash to unpack.
I like to print my own colored labels and put our name, email and phone number and then stick one on EVERY SINGLE THING!
If TMO is picking up your stuff really focus on the abbreviations of their packing slips. They sometimes mark items as damaged /soiled etc that are in good conditions. Take pictures of your items, if possible, if you are getting to to pick your stuff up. Also, pack all your sentimental stuff with you in your car. Expect broken stuff. And don’t become too attached with your furniture.