It’s summertime and that can only mean 1 thing for us military familes: it’s PCS season! Families all over the world are packing up and getting ready to move onto a new adventure and so are we. We’ve already gotten our house ready and the movers will be here any day now. Military movers will do everything for you. They will pack it and load it all up for you. So, if they’re busy with the heavy lifting – what the heck are you supposed to do? Well, I grew up in a military family and now living in a military family, I have a few tips I thought I would share.
1. Get your suitcases, carry on luggage, toys, important paperwork binder, and pack them. Basically anything you want to keep with you in the car/hotel/plane, pack it. Make sure it will all fit in your suitcases.
2. The day before the movers arrive: put everything you do not want packed in 1 location. Empty out a closet and put all your suitcases, toys for travel, the trash can, whatever inside. Put a sign on the door that says Do Not Pack and be sure to show all the movers when they arrive.
3. The movers will give you a window of time for when they will arrive. Make sure you’re awake and ready for them at their earliest time. Eat breakfast and clean it up, make sure the kiddos are fed as well so you can clean up after them too.
4. If you have pets, lock them in a bathroom or room that the movers will not have access too. We have cats so they always go in the master bathroom with their food, water, and litter box. Put a sign on the window that says Pets: Do Not Open or something to that affect. If you have dogs, they might be more well behaved being out in the open but if your cats are like mine, the door to the outside opening and closing all day will be too much temptation for them.
5. Have a moving notebook. In it, write notes about various boxes so you can be on the look out for them on the back end. Example: boxes 2, 300, and 45 have linens in them.
6. Pick up a case of water and stick it in the fridge. The movers will be working hard and going in and out of your house all day. It’s summer, it’s hot. You don’t want to get a heat casualty so make sure to have some cold water for them. They might not drink it but it’s nice to have just in case.
7. Around lunchtime, take everyone’s order for fast food and go get them some grub. Happy movers pack with care so buying lunch is a small gesture. Many other wives talk about tipping their movers but we always just pay them in food. Of course, you can order pizza if that’s easier for you.
8. Keep trash bags tied to the doors of several rooms. Let the movers know there’s a trash bag here for them to use. They’re going to go through a lot of tape, paper, etc. and while cleaning up their stuff is in their contract (seriously, don’t let them leave trash in your house or yard), having the bags in various locations will make clean up easier and be appreciated.
9. Have them make you a linens box and leave it open. The last night in your house, in your own bed, should be comfortable so don’t let them pack your bed until the last morning. When they arrive on loading day, stuff your sheets and blankets in your linen box and let the movers seal and load them up. This also helps at your new house because you’ll know exactly which box has your pillow in it.
10. Place all your high value items in one place and have the movers pack high value box(es). Yes, it might be weird to have your computer share a box with your crystal figures but having them all together means there will be less high value boxes and less paperwork. Make sure to do an inventory of the high value box and write down everything in detail on the sheet – include serial numbers if items have them. Watch the movers seal it and make a note of the box number in your phone or moving notebook.
11. Finally, go over the entire inventory sheet with the head mover. You can follow them around as they stick the inventory stickers on the boxes and make sure they write the description of what’s in the box on the inventory sheet. You’ll get copies of it all and will need it if you have to make a claim. Make them write out everything. The more detail the better. Since our stuff is going into shipping crates, we have an additional step of signing the crate slips and watching them tape the boxes up. Do not let them leave with one of your crates open.
These are just a few of my tips for making our PCS smooth. Not mentioned: relax. It’s stressful watching someone else pack up your entire life but they’re professionals and your stuff will be fine. What are some of your handy tips for moving?