Let’s Wrap Up, Shall We?

Hey Preppers/Orderly Home Organizer Fans,

I see you over there, “liking” my Facebook page and I want to apologize–even though I am a highly organized person, I am in the middle of my own move (self-chosen DITY) and haven’t had time to post on Facebook for quite some time.  I know that you are a bunch of smart, tough, strong women and that you’re managing well without me.

I left off somewhere around “using items on the DO NOT PACK list”.  Instead of doing a bunch of Facebook posts, I’m going to do one big blog post detailing the remainder of the steps on my PCS Checklist.

As I always say:  PCSes are like snowflakes–no two are exactly the same.  They share a lot of the same characteristics, but there’s always something a little different than the last one and certainly Jane’s PCS experience is vastly different than Jim’s than Karen’s…well, you get the picture, right?

Here we go:

  • It’s time to collect school records and let the school know that your kids won’t be back.  If possible, check in with the new school–you may be able to get all the paperwork ready to register them ASAP at the new location.
  • School physicals–I’ve never had an issue having the MTF at our current duty station sign off on school physicals for other states, so if you can get that school physical out of the way with a PCM that is familiar, do it.  It will save you time and energy on the other end.
  • Speaking of the MTF–you will need to let Tricare know that you are PCSing–but don’t call until after you’ve moved.  Change your location in DEERS after your PCS.
  • MTF–get medical records forwarded to next MTF or hand carry.
  • Dental and other specialty records–if you can get a copy, save yourself the trouble and expense of having to pay for things like new x-rays if they just did a set.
  • Hand carry all of these records–in the car or in your carry-on suitcase.
  • Last appointments–before you go, make one last appointment to get your hair done, your eyes checked, dental checks, ortho checks–anything that requires an appointment–try to get one in as close to the edge as possible.  It gives you a nice cushion of time to find a new salon, orthodontist, dentist, nail salon, etc. on the other end.  You’re going to be busy unpacking and getting oriented, you do not need to be frantically driving around in an unfamiliar city to get Junior’s braces adjusted.
  • Don’t forget to pick up your pet’s records and make sure their shots are up-to-date!
  • If you have been assigned a carrier, check in with them to make sure your dates are on the calendar.
  • Is your travel arranged?  Are you flying?  Driving?
  • Your carrier should send a rep out to go through your house prior to the move–please be sure to take time to show that person anything that might need special crating or treatment.  Be sure to get that person’s info–he/she is going to be your point of contact if the crap hits the fan on packout/load day(s).
  • Designate a “do not pack” room and put a tripwire on it hooked up to dynamite.  No, but seriously, a VERY LARGE sign on the door or better yet, a door you could maybe lock, would be great.  Into this room, place everything that you do not want the movers to pack.  I highly recommend setting aside valuables, your purse, hand-carry documents, etc. and locking them in your car or giving them to a trusted friend to keep aside during packout/load days.  Keep those items well out of reach of unscrupulous movers!
    • Wear comfy shoes.
    • Send the kids to daycare, a sitter, camp, somewhere fun AWAY from the house.  The dogs/cats too.  The less distractions, the better and it’s just stressful for kids and animals.  It’s inhumane, man…they can’t have wine at the end of the day like you can!
    • Should you feed your movers?  Yes, but don’t break the bank.  Think outside the box and try not to get pizza.  Have a lot of water on hand and maybe a 12-pack of Coke, Dt. Coke and Sprite in the fridge.  If you plan ahead a little, you can usually put out a pretty nice little meal for cheap–sandwich tray and some chips, whatever.  THEY ARE TOUCHING YOUR STUFF.  Treat them well.
    • IF you have a dispute with one of the movers or all of the movers, DO NOT ARGUE WITH THEM.  Collect yourself and call your rep at the carrier or the PPO and tell them what’s going on.  Remember:  these people are TOUCHING YOUR STUFF.
    • Have eyes on the movers…be covert and nice about it, don’t hover and again, don’t argue.  If they’re not packing to your satisfaction, you have the right to ask them to stop, take a break and call the rep/PPO.
    • If you have items that are special to you and you feel they require special packing (not crated items), please set them aside and point them out to the movers–they have no idea what is valuable to you, but if you show them specifically (try to have them grouped together so they remember) and ask nicely, maybe they’ll take extra care to add wrapping paper to Great-Grandma Bertha’s china.  BE NICE.
    • Have a bathroom available to them and make sure it’s stocked.  Let them know.
    • Tipping/not tipping?  I’m in the not tipping category.  I’ve never tipped government movers.  I will feed them and give them things to drink all day.  The government is paying them.  I know it’s a hot topic, but I don’t tip.  If you’re feeling generous and they’ve been fantastic, then by all means, tip.
    • MOST IMPORTANT:  keep your sense of humor.  Something is going to go wrong…it’s just a given.  Take a deep breath.  You will get through this!
  • All of your stuff is on the truck/crated on the ship heading overseas…I have a Pinterest board for long-term hotel stays and how to survive them.  Check it out.
  • Unpacking–
    • Yay, you are there, all of your stuff is there and now what do you do?  This is my methodology:
      • Make beds first.  Even if the rest of the room is a disaster, you will all have somewhere to sleep.
      • TV/set up wireless.  I know, this shouldn’t be this high on the list, but let’s face it, you are in a new place and the kids need to stay out of your hair for awhile so you can get the house put together.
      • Kitchen/Dining–get back to cooking and eating together ASAP
      • Bathrooms
      • Clothing/closets
      • After that, it’s up to you!
      • Take breaks, get out of the house, check out your neighborhood, take a breather.  Your stuff is not going anywhere…Rome wasn’t built in a day.  If you’re not completely unpacked and organized right away, don’t beat yourself up.  It takes time and everyone is in a new place, going through the PCS Emotions…take it easy on yourself.
    • My last word of advice:  make your home YOURS…even if it’s a rental, even if you’re there for a short tour.  Hang up the pictures, plant a few flowers, make it a place you love, not merely tolerate.

And that, my friends, is the end of the list…did you remember to request your DLA?  I hope so.  I truly hope that you have a safe, peaceful and happy PCS.  I’ll be over at my new house (which is OURS, so I’m very excited to really pour my heart into it!) unpacking my boxes, getting organized and overseeing some home-improvement projects.

I’ll be back on Facebook soon.  Thank you, friends!