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Summer and spring seasons are times when most military families have their PCS (Permanent Change of Station). Whether it’s your first PCS or you’ve had a PCS move before, there are tons of things to take care of. If your move is within the Continental United States (CONUS), the process is not that stressful. But for those moving Outside of the Continental United States (OCONUS), shipping all household items seems like a nightmare.

No matter how stressful and intimidating a PCS move can seem, with proper planning, you can assure yourself of a successful move. All you have to do is organize your move, then moving your entire house along with your entire family will not be that difficult. To help you have a stress free move, here are our best PCS tips for military families.


Before The Move

Declutter Your House And Organize Your Things

Before you start planning your move, it’s good to declutter the house of unwanted things. That way, you won’t have to move unnecessary stuff along with you to your new home. The best way to do this is by making a home inventory. Make sure that you cover all the rooms, storage places as well as your garage in the inventory. Your inventory should include all the things you want to move along with you.

Don’t forget to record all the details of your items, especially your valuables. The best thing to do is take pictures or record a video of all your belongings. When you have an inventory, you can easily discard things like broken appliances, old furniture, old equipment, etc. You can organize a garage sale or yard sale and sell the items which can still be used. Otherwise, you can explore sites like eBay, Etsy, Craigslist, etc.

Start Planning Your Move

Once you get your official moving orders, you can start planning your move. Now that you know what place you’ll be moving to, the first thing to do is know where you’ll be living. Depending on whether you have an off-base post option or are on a waiting list for living on post, you can investigate your location. You can set the moving date and hire movers after consulting your transportation office.

You also need to be aware of the different rights and responsibilities of your military move. For that, you can explore Move.mil to know more about how you can make your moving process easier and organized. Regardless of whether it’s your first move or you’ve had a military move before, you can get in touch with your transportation office for any queries regarding your move.

See also: Moving Checklist

Know Your Weight Allowances

You’ll be given a moving allowance which is nothing but the overall weight of your items to be moved. Do keep in mind that your moving allowance will depend on your rank, dependency status, and type of move. So, if you’ve been allotted a higher rank, your moving allowance will be more. In case you fail to stick to the moving allowance given to you, the extra moving costs will have to be paid by you after all your items are delivered. That’s why decluttering your home of unwanted items helps.

As a military member, you also have the right to ask your transportation office for a re-weighing of your household items. When this re-weighing is conducted, you have the right to be present there as a service member of the military. If you want to know more about the weight allowance and the items you’re allowed to bring, you can check the Moving Entitlements page of Move.mil.

Create A PCS Binder

You’ll be needing a lot of important paperwork with you during your PCS move. That’s why it’s best to create a PCS binder before your moving day. It’s good to have all your important documents, paperwork, and checklists in one place. You can purchase a binder with sleeve protectors where you can arrange all your important documents as follows:

  • Birth certificates
  • Rental agreements
  • Social Security cards
  • Official orders
  • Marriage certificates
  • Driving licenses
  • Vehicle papers
  • Insurance papers
  • Property papers
  • Bills and notices

A PCS binder will help you keep a track of all your important documents in one place. You won’t have to hunt for any papers in case of any emergencies. So, to make your move more organized, we recommend you create a binder that you can take along with you.

Get Done With Important Paperwork

Nobody likes any expected surprises like pending bills and notices on the moving day, right? That’s why make sure you pay all your grocery bills, electricity bills, etc. on time. Let’s not forget your current house lease. Make sure to go through it again and see to it that you’ve notified your landlord about your move so that you get your security deposit on time. Another thing to be mindful of is getting your military ID, passport, and licenses updated well in advance.

If you’re traveling with your children, you’ll probably need to look for a place near your child’s new school. So see to it that no boundary locations or changes affect your child’s schooling after you move. That’s why it’s best if you first get in touch with the school and if possible, receive a verbal as well as written confirmation from the school with important details well in advance.


During The Move

Make A PCS Moving Checklist

Your PCS move will require you to take care of so many things altogether. It’s natural that some important tasks may slip out of your mind in the process. A moving checklist will save your day during such times. All your priority tasks like booking your movers, scheduling your packing and moving day, etc. can be mentioned on this checklist. You can hang the list at a place where you can look at it every day. As you go about completing all your priority tasks, you can tick them off on your checklist.

Be Mindful On Your Packing And Moving Day

In case the military is helping you pack and move, you first need to know what items you want to take along with you. Right from your household goods, furniture, wardrobe, automobile, etc., you need to make a list of everything that you want to move. Also, be aware of the full value assessment for important items like your documents, jewelry, antiques, etc.

It’s good if you pack your items prior to your moving day. That way you can save yourself some time and focus on loading all your items onto your truck. Do keep in mind that if your movers don’t move your stuff properly or cause any damage to your items, you can contact your transportation office. They will send you a representative to sort out the problems related to your move.


After Your Move

Know Your New Neighborhood

Once you move to your new place, the first two days may probably go in unpacking your items. After you’re done unpacking all your items, the next thing to do is getting yourself familiarized with your new neighborhood. You can just go for a drive around your new neighborhood along with your family and visit nearby attractions and places. There will be lots of things to explore at your new duty station. So, taking out some time to know your new neighborhood will surely help you settle in.

Take Some Time To Adjust With Your New Place

There will be times when you’ll miss your previous duty station. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed after moving to a new place. So you needn’t be hard on yourself if you feel sad during the initial days of your move.

You need to keep an open mind and focus on the things that make you happy at your new place. It can be being around your family, living in a better house, feeling happy about your promotion, or having friendly neighbors. One of the many challenges that military families have to go through is PCS-ing. You just have to be a little patient, eventually, you’ll surely get used to your new duty station and make new friends.


Military families may have to move after a certain period of time. But every family may have a different impact from a PCS move. That being said, it’s never too easy to cope up with that. Whether you have had a PCS move before or not, you’ll always need to plan and organize your move. So the best thing to do is have an open mind and be patient, then your PCS move can become more like an adventure for you.



How Often Do Military Families PCS?

Military families are known to move at least 10 times more than other civilian families. On an average, their move is almost every 2 to 3 years.

Can My Family PCS Before Me?

The families of service members working in the Navy are allowed to move before or stay behind for 6 months during a PCS move. Do keep in mind that this is allowed only under certain circumstances.

How Much Money Does The Army Give You To PCS?

If you’re traveling by a POC (Privately Owned Conveyance), then the army will provide a flat rate of $142.00 per day for each day of permitted travel used to the military personnel.

What Is The Weight Limit For Military Moving?

The weight limit for military moving is between 350 to 18,000 pounds. Do keep in mind that the weight limit depends on your military rank and type of move. The service members and officials are each given a moving allowance for their move.

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