A military move is not too different from any other relocation. It takes some detailed planning and organization skills, as well.
When your orders come in, you will have a short time frame to hire a relocation company, find a home, and obtain information about the location. Don’t let all of this raise your anxiety levels. Because what differs the military from all the other types of moves is that the army has offices that support its employees. They provide soldiers and other members with information and tips about the move.
If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, there are many ways to overcome those problems.
Start Planning Your Military Move as Soon as Possible
A permanent change of station (PCS) is not something you should take lightly. When you get your orders, make sure that you begin planning for a move as soon as possible.
The time frame for service members to report to their new base commander can vary from five months to two weeks after they receive an official notification of a PCS. That’s why you need to start packing as soon as you can so that the whole process doesn’t feel like a last-minute move.
PCS can be especially challenging if you are relocating during the peak summer season, which is the typical PCS timeframe since the school is out. May to August is also the prime time for every moving company. If you are relocating during the holidays, make sure you start planning as soon as possible. The holiday season is a time when the movers are severely understaffed. If you can choose, make sure that you relocate during the cheapest time of the year, which is winter.
Know Your Options
When you get your orders, the next step should be visiting the local Transportation Office or Personal Property Office so that you can get a briefing.
Before you go there, make a list of things you want to know. If you find some of the information confusing, ask for additional explanation. Knowing all the facts will make your relocation easier and it will lower anxiety about moving that you may feel when you get your orders.
Create a Moving Plan
Every stress-free relocation is based on a good plan. Before you start putting your items in boxes, make sure that you create a relocation plan. Write down all the things you need to do before the big day. Don’t forget to include your spouse in this process. Having somebody to share it with makes the planning easier.
Having a list of tasks will make it easier for you not to forget certain things. Whenever you are done with a specific assignment, check it off. This type of progress tracking is good for your motivation.
Declutter and Pack All the Essentials
Depending on how long you have lived in your current home, you might have accumulated things you don’t need. Before you make a guide for packing, you should create a household inventory list and decide what you should throw away and what you should keep.
If you have items you haven’t used in a while, you might want to get rid of them. Think about donating or organizing a garage sale. If there are things that are broken, you should throw them away. Decluttering is a great way to see how many moving boxes and other packing materials you should get.
Think about asking for assistance here, not only from your friends and spouse but from professional companies too. Sometimes, getting moving boxes and all the materials doesn’t make the packing any easier. Think about packing up your paintings, or trying to pack your gadgets and electronics. You would need specialized tools, packaging materials and extra hands to tackle this. If you decide to hire professional packing services, know that they include not only an equipped and trained crew but also materials required to disassemble and protect your belongings.
If you are not too keen on getting rid of some of your belongings, think about using storage service. Those facilities will keep your items safe and secure while you find a place for them in your new residence.
Learn About Your New Location
When your orders get in, and you have a briefing with the Transportation Office or Personal Property Office, you will get some information about your new location.
Ideally, you should take a trip and check it out before the move. But sometimes, for many reasons, that is not a possibility. If that is the case, check Base Guides on the site Military.com where you can find out more about the area you are going to.
If you have an assigned sponsor, ask them as many questions as possible. After all, they know the location better than you do. And if you don’t have a sponsor, you can always request one from your command.
Find a New Home Before the Deployment
There are many things you should think about before you are done with the relocation. One of them is finding a home. Don’t make one of the common moving mistakes and leave this for the end of the relocation process.
Do you like living on the base? You can always sign up for on-base housing. Talk to your spouse and make sure you’re on the same page here. After that, you should contact the housing office at your installation and ask to be put on the waiting list. And while some lists are short, there is a chance that you will have to find alternative accommodation before you get on-base housing. Living in a house off the base might be a breath of fresh air for you.
Get Friendly with Base Family Service
Every branch in the army has a different name for base family service. But they all provide you with any information, free of charge.
You can get assistance in the form of tips about relocation, budget, and many other things that will help you accommodate faster to the location.
Ask for Help
Relocation can be stressful for everybody. As you are thinking about how to tell your friends you are moving away and the life you got used to, levels of anxiety rise. There are offices and other military families that can assist you in adjusting to your new place of residence. The benefit of living surrounded by army members is that most of them have dealt with the same problems.
Tips for a Stress-Free PCS
Avoiding stress entirely is kind of unrealistic, but some tips can help you stay calm during the process of PCS.
If you feel like the move itself is your biggest issue, reach out to another army family for advice. They have all been where you are now, and having somebody to vent to can have therapeutic benefits. If talking with friends and spouse doesn’t help, reach out to professionals. Also, Military One Source offers online counsel, via phone or video.
Remember, some things are not worth stressing over. So, if you don’t find a perfect home right away, take one that will serve as a temporary home.
Instead of worrying about every single thing, take a walk outside, breathe some fresh air, get to know the neighborhood. Try to meet some people along the way, and you will see that PCS can be carried out without stress.
Hire a Relocation Company – Service Members Can Ask for Help as Well
When relocating, it is not uncommon to ask for assistance from a relocating company. If you are wondering why should you hire professional movers, know that having assistance comes with many benefits. But before you pick the one that will handle your belongings, do your research and find the company that will suit all of your needs.
A trustworthy company has a line of satisfied customers and five-star reviews. Also, it offers a variety of moving services that are made to suit all of your needs. Call and ask your movers all you want to know about the relocation. One of the benefits of a good company is a customer support team that will answer all your questions and go into the details with you.
Professional movers should be able to handle all your belongings, from cumbersome furniture to high-tech TV and kitchen appliances. Hiring movers will allow you to focus on more important tasks while they take care of your items. Not only that but if your orders are sending you across the world, your chosen relocation experts should be able to provide you with international shipping.
Don’t let the rush and tremendous amount of planning scare you and make you forget something important, like hiring experts to relocate your vehicle. If you don’t want to be without your car and you think that shipping is better than driving it, make sure that you use auto transport services. Having a four-wheeler you love with you might make the adaptation process at least a little bit less stressful.