Moving Tips – If You Can Get Past The Crazy

I recently received a tip about a new app developed by the Department of Defense to help people have a smooth move.  Called “Plan Your Move,” the app generates a calendar of tasks that you need to do.  Sounds great, right?

The tasks themselves are mostly reasonable, but the timeline that the app generated for me was absolutely ludicrous.  To the point where my family sat around the table and I read things out, and we all mocked the dates they recommended.  We’re moving from Europe to the US, and some recommendations for our move include:

Six weeks out- tell family about the move,

Four weeks out – begin home sale process, if you own,

Three weeks out – begin saving Sunday newspapers for packing material,

Three days out – help kids find age-appropriate books about moving,

and, truly the most amazing thing I can even imagine,

One day out – relax, tomorrow is pack-out day.

Seriously?  On what planet does the designer of this app live?  If I followed this calendar, there would be utter and complete chaos because nothing would be done when it needed to be done.

Now, here’s where I recommend turning lemons into lemonade.  Make your own calendar, and take the tasks listed on the app-generated calendar, and start tracking on when things actually need to happen.  Then, add all the things they’ve forgotten, such as:

  • Starting eating down the contents of your pantry (my recommendation: six months before your projected rotation date, if you don’t have an idea on orders before then.)
  • Have pet vaccinations and examinations scheduled as necessary for your particular move (starting as early as six months.)
  • Research and act upon passport and visa requirements.
  • Double check that you understand the PCS allowances.
  • Request copies of family medical records, particularly immunization records.
  • Verify procedures for notifying landlord and/or housing office.
  • Make sure you have enough suitcases in good condition.
  • Have vehicles serviced and cleaned, if necessary.
  • Take measurements of large furniture to make planning easier at new house.
  • Upload copies of all prescriptions, including eye prescriptions, to cloud-based storage.
  • Go through clothes and lost socks.  Consign, donate, and throw out as appropriate.

I’m sure you have 1001 and one more things that should be on this list.  Please add your suggestions in the comments.  Eventually, I’ll make a completely comprehensive list of everything you could possibly need to do when PCSing.  It will help everyone who will ever PCS in the future, and that’s a good thing!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • KScott

    Very true. I will add that given the dizzying number of websites, downloads, broken links and no one to talk to (no real briefing), you really need to start early because you don’t know what you don’t know. This is my first PCS, and it is overseas. I’m bewildered by the sheer number of websites. How do I know they are current? What if a link is broken? who do I call with a question if the website doesn’t make sense?

    • Kate

      KScott, I’m sorry that you aren’t getting good information. Have you checked with your local base family support center (Airman and Family Readiness Center, Fleet and Family Support Center, Army Community Services, or Marine Corps Community Services? Every base should offer moving classes and they are usually helpful. Also, feel free to reach out on Facebook groups or military-themed forums. There is a lot of help available out there!

      Good luck on your move!