When someone in a branch of the military gets his or her Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders, a certain level of stress can be put on the entire family. This is because it is not a simple move to another base for one person, but an entire family. Sometimes children need to enroll in new schools. Sometimes spouses need to find a new job.
How does a military spouse stay calm when their significant other gets their PCS? Here are some tips that can reduce the stress for any military spouse during the hectic time surrounding a PCS.
- 1. Start setting money aside now. This is a good tip even for families that do not have their PCS yet but have an idea that they may be getting one soon. Relocation can get expensive and there will be items you will undoubtedly need to buy before, during and after the move. Start saving money for the little things that you will not be able to avoid buying. Yes, the government will cover most of your moving costs but there will be items you will need personally for the move that will not be included.
- 2. Go to the PCS briefing with your husband or wife. When you go to the PCS briefing, take a notepad with you and write down as much information as possible. This is especially important if you will be moving overseas. Sometimes you will be given a timeline and moving checklist to help with the planning and execution of your PCS.
- 3. Start cleaning the house. A good rule of thumb for any move is that the less stuff you have, the easier it is to move. Once you get the PCS order, it is time to start cleaning out those closets and getting rid of what you do not need. Have a garage sale or donate items to a local charity. This will prevent you from having to find a storage solution or moving with items you simply will not need at your new home.
- 4. Make up a moving kit. What is a moving kit? A moving kit is a little different than the first night box you will need in your new home. The moving kit will include all the important things like your family’s emergency binder (this has school records, passports, bank documents, etc), your home inventory, contact information for airlines, hotels and the moving company, pens and pencils, paper and tape, box cutter (do not take this if you are flying), and your camera and charger. You may want to modify the moving kit to fit your specific needs.
- 5. Pack everything up safely. There are certain things you just cannot move with – paint, gasoline, and other potentially harmful substances. Even if something is not particularly dangerous, do not pack it if it has the potential to spill or leak. You will be sorry later, especially if you have not packed everything securely. You should also remember to remove light bulbs from lamps and batteries from electronics before moving.