Calling all Milies!
There are certain topics that rule books and regulations don’t quite do justice. When it comes to things like PCS’ing its often best to hear as many first-hand tips as possible. We asked our readers to submit to us their best advice. So here's some great PCS tips from other Milies...
We just PCS'd for the 1st time 1 1/2 weeks ago. The biggest thing I learned with the move is that you should double check with EVERYTHING, every office that you are in contact with in relation to the move. TMO messed up when it came to getting movers to come pack and move our things & Housing messed up our application and forget to put our daughter on it. If I hadn't been on top of it all and constantly checking things, it would have been a disaster. ~Air Force Milie, Sammie
My hubs has been active army for almost 10 years and we have made quite a few moves! The best advice I ever received about PCSing is to find something just for you to meet people: whether it is a meet up playgroup, a book club, a ladies' bible study, or a running club. Also don't judge the FRG by your first coffee! Keep going to the events (even if the ladies there are not your cup of tea)! You are bound to find one or two girls that are just your style. Keep your chin up even if you get a remote location: your new orders are just around the corner. You will be surprised how much you will not want to move from there in just a few years! Force yourself to be outgoing- we're all in the same boat. ~Army Milie, MrsR
*We always carry a set of ACUs, PTs, and Dress Blues with us when we PCS. The last thing I need is for us to get to our new post and to be told that there's a ball/other formal function in two weeks that we need to attend. I'm ready to cry at the idea of shelling out another $500+ for something we already own that is trucking its way across the country. We carry the ACUs because he needs to be in that uniform to "check-in" at the new post (didn't know this on the first PCS), and the PTs so that he can maintain his PT before he arrives for his first, official day.
*Buy the packers and movers lunch. It's amazing how much nicer they treat your stuff if you buy a pizza or sandwich for lunch.
- If you can't stand for it to be lost/broken don't buy it. If you already own an item that would devastate you if it was lost/broken, leave it with a relative or someone else. Murphy's Law of PCSing states, "If an item has any value to you, it will be lost/broken in a move." There's some super, secret mark placed on the item so the movers know which item to damage. I'm convinced!
-When buying new furniture for the new house/apartment, but items that can be easily rearranged to fit the next residence. For example, instead of a couch and love seat, why not get a couch and two arm chairs? That way if the living room of the next residence isn't the same size or shape, you can move the chairs around. Two chairs are so much more versatile than a love seat. We also make sure all of the furniture we buy coordinates. For example, all of our bookcases, consoles, end tables, desks, etc... are black. This way when we move to the next residence and some of the "living room" furniture needs to become "dining room" furniture, it's not a big deal. ~Army Milie, Jessica
1. If there is any chance that your military member will not be there for the entire move- get a power of attorney! You will need it- even to receive your OWN stuff! 2. Buy ziplocs in bulk. Use them for anything that is liquid (like the little bottles of vanilla extract), foodstuff (such as spices), batteries, toiletries, or anything that could melt- like candles. Take the batteries out of the remotes, put them in baggies and bundle with the remote. 3. Take pictures of all your big ticket items, and write down serial numbers. 4. Make copies of any receipts for furniture- electronics, etc. Original receipts tend to fade, so if you have a copy to back it up it will save you a lot of hassle. 5. Lock all items you don't want packed in your car or other safe place on moving day. Last thing you want is your passport and/or your orders to get get packed! 6. Keep a good sense of humor! You will need it! ~Navy Milie, Fancypants
We have made a lot of moves. My best bit of advice is to be nice to the movers. Yes, make suggestions about packing your stuff, if need be, but don't stand over their shoulders barking orders at them. Treat them like humans (you wouldn't believe how many people I saw during our military years that didn't do this) and treat them to sodas or iced tea, because they get hot and thirsty doing all that packing. ~Retired Air Force Milie, Mary R.
Some PCS advice that we had to learn the hard way from our first PCS....have a garage sale before moving day to clear out the excess stuff you aren't using. Donate what's left. You don't want to have to use valuable time and energy unpacking, sorting through, and getting rid of extra stuff once you get to your new location. Do it before you leave your old one. ~Coast Guard Milie, Amyables
When you and your family are PCSing, it is SO So so important to remember that you will not be able to control everything about your move like a civilian one. If you are going to survive, take it one moment at a time. Role with the unpredictableness of this life. Also, remember to laugh. Life is too short to not enjoy even the messiest of situations. Sure, things break in boxes, you are leaving a place you used to call home, but at the end of the day, it's the bigger picture that matters. Good Luck! I am going through one too! ~Army Milie, Kathryn
My husband and I decided to take off a few weeks on leave and make it a trip. That's the best thing we could have ever done. We decided to drive our second car, which the Army wasn't going to pay to ship, all the way to LA. Our first day was to Kansas for the night and by the second day we were home in Colorado for a week and a half. Then it was a few days in Las Vegas, a few days in Los Angeles, and then to Hawaii. To save money, we stayed with friends and family when possible, or stayed in military lodging. Yep, even in Vegas we stayed at Nellis Air Force Base.
But really, in this whole PCS experience, the second best thing we did other than make it a vacation was to bring an air mattress. Oh my goodness, that air mattress saved our lives. When in Colorado we didn't have a bed, we pumped that thing up. In Los Angeles, we slept in our friends living room. Once we finally got housing in Hawaii but didn't have furniture, we set it up! We brought sheets with us, too, so that wasn't an issue. That air mattress saved our lives.
I learned to be resourceful during this time, but most of all I learned to be calm. It all worked itself out in the end! ~Army Milie, Chantal
We want to thank all the Milies who provided great PCS advice. Your input is very much appreciated! We love reading your expert tips! Be on the look out for a new edition of "Calling ALL Milies!"