Labeling Your Boxes During PCS


I have never done this through my PCSes, but I’ve been reading a lot of Facebook comments and articles lately about labeling your boxes during packout.  I posted the question to my followers on Facebook and I got a lot of responses (which is great–thank you so much to our community!).  I wanted to share those responses with you today on the blog.

Let me first clarify what I mean by “labeling your boxes”.  To me, it’s either/or or both:

  1. Putting identifying information in/on each box in case of loss.
  2. Using different colored stickers/tape, etc. to distinguish which room each box belongs to, in order to make moving in easier.

First–identifying your boxes in case of loss.  My favorite answer in that category is to get a self-inking stamp from somewhere like Vistaprint and stamp each box–if you make sure the information on the stamp is not overly specialized, you should be able to use the stamp for more than one PCS.  Suggested info:

  1. AD member’s last name, first initial.
  2. Branch of service.
  3. E-mail address–either AD’s military e-mail or an address that won’t change by locality.
  4. Good contact number–maybe not your cell if it’s going to change–someone suggested a Google Voice phone number, for example, or maybe a parent’s number.

If you would rather print out stickers for each PCS, you could also add the new home’s address, if you have a home leased already.

The challenge, in my mind, is making sure that all the boxes get stamped/stickered.  There’s so much activity on packout day and so many places you have to “hover” to keep an eye on the packers/movers.  It’s great if there’s a day in between packing and moving–then there would definitely be time to get stamps/stickers on boxes.  I guess I’m coming from a PCS standpoint that my husband is rarely around at packout and I’m doing it on my own–many of you say that you have in-laws and others that come to help you out.  Smart.  If you have help, it shouldn’t be a problem to get every box marked.  The kids could even take it on as their task.  Here’s the stamp, kiddo–go NUTS!

What about marking contents of boxes?  You know how the packers just write “kitchen” on the box or “master bedroom”?  I’ve been seeing a suggestion to take a quick minute to jot down a few of the contents of the box.  Obviously, unless you have a lot of help, you’re not going to have time to do a full inventory of the box.  Home inventory should be done long before the packers show up, but if you have time to write more specific contents on boxes before they’re sealed, it will help immensely to determine what needs to be unpacked first.  Even if you just somehow identify THE most important box for each room, you’re way ahead of the game!

How about identifying those boxes by room?  Putting colored labels or tape on them to making moving in a breeze?  Here were some suggestions for color-coding your boxes:

  1. Different colors of duct tape for each room (be sure to keep a key–ie: what color tape goes with which room!)–wrap the tape all the way around the box so that it’s easy to see no matter how the mover brings it in/stacks it (so front to back, not top to bottom as they’ll likely be stacked).  Put a corresponding piece of tape on the door or doorframe of the room in which it belongs for easy move-in.
  2. Stickers with icons for the various rooms–bacon for the kitchen, ducks for the playroom, car for the garage, etc. and again, corresponding pictures on the door to each room.

What do you think?  Do you have a system that works well for you that you’d like to share?  Let’s help one another out and make your next PCS the smoothest one yet!  Leave your suggestion in the comments or head over to PCS Prepper on Facebook to add to the conversation there!