As an active duty serviceman, dealing with your first Permanent Change of Station (PCS) can be a transition fraught with stress and frustration. Here are a few tips that can take some of the stress out of your PCS relocation.
1. Decide How You Want to Move
There are a couple of ways you can handle the moving process. One option involves taking advantage of the Personally Procured Move (PPM) program, also known as the Do-It-Yourself (DITY) move. With PPM, you'll be responsible for your packing and moving arrangements, plus you'll have to track your expenses on your own. The upside is that the government pays 95 percent of what a government-managed move would cost and you get to keep any surplus that's left over.
The other option includes letting the military handle all of your moving arrangements. Leaving your relocation in the hands of government-contracted military movers can save time and let you focus on other aspects of your relocation. You can also opt for a partial-PPM move that lets you move some of your items yourself.
2. Contact the Base Transportation Office
As soon as you receive your PCS orders, make an appointment with your service branch's base transportation office so you can begin making preparations for your move. You'll also want to contact your current installation's finance office to discuss your moving expenses and find out about any relocation reimbursement programs you might qualify for.
3. Inventory Your Belongings
Now's a good time to compile an inventory of every single household possession you plan on taking with you. Your inventory should include photos of the belongings in question, along with serial numbers -- especially if you have plenty of high-end electronics and other valuable equipment.
Your government-contracted military movers may perform their own inventory as a way of keeping track of your belongings and to estimate the weight of your planned shipment. Accurate estimates are important if your PCS involves an overseas location since there may be strict shipment allowances in place.
4. Secure New Housing and Verify Dates
Get in touch with your base transportation office to finalize moving dates and get approval for your preferred method of moving. You should also get the ball rolling on finding a new home or apartment at your new duty station.
5. Ditch the Belongings You Don't Want or Need
Clutter can be a killer for any military relocation, so go through your personal belongings and see what you can afford to get rid of prior to moving. Consider donating or giving away unwanted or unneeded items that still have plenty of life left in them. If you have enough time, you can also sell some of your items online for an extra buck. Anything that's broken or used up should go in the nearest dumpster.
6. Get Your Pets Squared Away
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian and make sure your pets' immunization and medical records are up to date. Some locales may require additional immunizations plus quarantine for a specific period.
7. Get a Change of Address Form
Visit your nearest post office and obtain a "change of address" form. This way, any mail that arrives at your old duty station can be forwarded to your new home. If you have bank accounts, credit cards, and subscription services that can be accessed online, log on and change your address once you've secured new housing.
8. Ready Your Transportation
If you're handling your PCS relocation via PPM, make sure you have your moving truck reserved ahead of your move. You should also have a mechanic inspect your own personal transportation to ensure it's ready for the open road.
9. Set Aside Things You'll Need During the Move
Keep a small bag containing all of the things you'll immediately need throughout the move -- including toiletries, snacks and medicines. You'll also need a "day one" bag containing all of the things you'll need once you've arrived at your new home. These items may include soaps, brooms, mops, and cleaning chemicals.
Learn more from a local moving company, such as Wheaton World Wide Moving.