Mr Marine got his orders several months ago. This won’t be a PCS like most military spouses have to go through; we’re not moving to a new place together, he’ll actually be moving closer to me.
We have known each other since middle school, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that the stars aligned and we finally fell together. He’s currently stationed in NC and I’m still here in our old home town. This long distance relationship has been a challenge, but there was never any doubt that it was worth it.
Mr Marine will actually be moving up to Northern VA, within an hour of where I currently work, so we’ve found a house and are finally moving in together! To say I’m excited is an understatement!
The first step of this journey is obviously going to be the move. I’m planning on moving in a couple days in advance to deep clean, paint, set up some of my things, before he moves up with the uhaul. After the move, though, I’ll be writing a lot about setting up a new home, organizing, and making the most of small spaces – which I’m sure are things military spouses are familiar with! The will be our first PCS, so I would definitely appreciate any more advice, or things I’ve missed, or calling me out if I’ve gotten anything complete wrong! Your input is needed!
Create three piles, label three laundry baskets, three trashbags, or three boxes: Keep, donate, throw away. Go through every room in your house and purge absolutely anything you can. The less you have to move the better. Rule of thumb is if you haven’t used an item in the last year, or it doesn’t add beauty or have sentimental value: chuck it. Freecycle is a great way to get rid of unwanted items (see my post on Freecycle here).
2. Create a Moving Binder
Use this to keep track of quotes from moving companies (if you’re not going with military movers), an inventory, this checklist, etc. You’ll always want to add any receipts used for the move in this binder, for taxes purposes later.
3. Take An Inventory of Items
Walk around your home with a pen and paper. Go room by room and make a note of any large furniture, anything awkwardly shaped that may need special packing and anything over $200 in value (or anything personally valuable that may not have monetary value, ie that stuffed donkey your beau won for you at the carnival on your first date). Take pictures of things that could possibly get damaged during the move so you’ll be able to compare the condition when you unpack. For antiques, have a written appraisal performed for insurance purposes.
4. Buy supplies
- Cardboard boxes
- Bubble wrap
- Plastic wrap for furniture
5. Use it or Lose it
Start using up the things you don’t want to move: toilet paper, frozen or perishable foods, cleaning supplies, beer – HA!
6. Measure Your New Home
If at all possible, take room dimensions of your new home and mentally plan where the larger pieces of furniture will go. It’s pretty common sense where the dining room table will go, but what about that large green elephant statue your aunt Mildred gave you? If at all possible, measure the front and interior doors and stairwells of your new home to make sure your larger pieces of furniture will fit. If your new home is too far away, see if the room dimensions are available online, through a realtor or the property management group.
7. First Round of Packing
About a month before your move, begin packing the smaller, nonessential items. Paintings, decorations, the waffle iron, books, that large green elephant. Anything that isn’t used on a daily basis can be packed up and out of the way early on. Make sure to label everything appropriately.
8.Hide Your Jewels
Separate out all of your jewelry, valuables, important documents that you’ll personally transport with you.
9. Change Your Address
In addition to going to your local post office to fill out a change-of-address form (or online at usps.gov), you’ll need to notify your friends and family as well. Check out the links below for some cute ideas (some free, most not):
- http://www.upack.com/moving-resources/movingnotice/ (moving e-cards)
10. Contact Necessary Groups to Inform of Move
- Doctor (get copies of your family’s records for your new Doctor)
- Financial Planner
- Health Insurance Provider
- Insurance Agent
- Schools (get copies of your children’s school records)
- Auto Finance Company
- Bank/Credit Union/Finance Companies
- Credit Card Companies
- Home care service providers (lawn, exterminator, snow removal etc.)
- Monthly memberships (Nexflix, magazines, book of the month, etc.)
- Store/Gas Charge Accounts
- City/County Tax Assessor
- State Vehicle Registration
- Social Security Administration
- State/Federal Tax Bureau (IRS)
- Veterans Administration
11. Refill prescriptions
One week before you move, refill your prescriptions. It may take a couple weeks for your medical records to transfer and your Rx moved to a new pharmacy. Prepare for this early by stocking up so you don’t find yourself shorthanded.
12. Notify Utility Companies
Call your utility companies (if any) both at your old and new locations to notify them of your move:
- Cell Phone
- Cable/Satellite and Internet
- Trash Collection
Have rugs and heavy draperies sent off to be cleaned before the move. Leave them wrapped up to travel better. If you’re traveling long distances, give house plants to friends or relatives or local hospitals. Label all your boxes accordingly so there is no confusion come move-day. (Check out Martha Stewart’s awesome label printouts here.) Try to spread out heavier items, like books, among several boxes.
Check out Martha Stewart’s “How to Pack Household Goods” for much better advice than I could give!
14. Pack your first night box
Pack a bag as if you were going on a brief trip. Add everything you’ll need right off the bat: toothbrush, toothpaste, a couple changes of clothes, Sarah’s favorite teddy bear that she can’t fall asleep without. Check out our First-Night Box post here.
Arrive to your new home before your movers and check the utilities, plumbing, fridge etc to make sure all is in working order – you’d hate for a mover to have to hit the head only to find it doesn’t flush.
Give the movers (or family members) a copy of the floor plan of your new home or tape one to the front door, so there’s no confusion. Have some bottles of water or sodas (or beer) on hand for movers (or friends you’ve tricked into helping you move).
As your items are unloaded, check them off of your inventory sheet to make sure nothing got left behind or is missing. Run an eye over your furniture and check for damage. If any damage is noted, or anything is missing do not sign the mover’s inventory sheet before speaking with management. If management cannot be reached, make a note of the missing or damaged items before you sign it. Keep a copy for taxes and insurance purposes.
Ask the movers to set up the larger items of furniture where you would like it to go, or at least in the room you’d like it. Ask them to stack the boxes only one or two boxes high against the wall, preferably not blocking any doors or closets.
Group together things like wires for electronics, game controllers, remote controls, in separate, labeled zip lock bags. Gather all the hardware for curtains and paintings and put them in a ziplock bag with your screwdriver.
To pack your clothes, gather a handful of hangers and a trash bag. Fold the trash bag in half, length-wise, and upside down. Cut a hole out of the folded corner of the trash bag to create a large hole at the very center/bottom of the trash bag. Pull the trash bag over the hangers and your clothes like a dry-cleaning bag. Tie at the bottom and your clothes will stay together and clean and are super easy to unpack.
If you’ve packed your first night box, and the movers or volunteers have put everything into the correct room, unpacking should be a breeze. Allow your appliances to remain off for at least 24 hours to allow them to adjust to room temp.
Start unpacking the essential rooms first. For me, that’s the kitchen and living room, then work on your room and the kids’ rooms. Take your time, enjoy yourself, pour yourself a glass of wine and put on some music. This could be a great time to reminisce over old pictures, knick knacks, and special things from your old home.
17. Finally Moved In
Even before you’re done unpacking, go to your local post office for any mail being held, roam your new neighborhood, introduce yourself to the neighbors, start making new memories.
Check out your new DMV online and see if you can’t change your address and car’s registration all online.
Also be sure to check out the posts below from other military spouses with some other great ideas:
Some other excellent resources for PCSing: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/moving
If you’ve moved or PCS’ed and have any great ideas or stories to share about your adventures we would love to hear about them! Please leave them below!