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Ten Tips for a Smooth Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Move


August 3, 2023

Moving between homes is never easy and military families face unique challenges during a Permanent Change of Station move. However, with proper planning and organization, these challenges can be effectively managed. By implementing best practices and maintaining a positive attitude, military families can successfully transition to their new duty station and create lasting memories along the way.

Tip #1: Declutter and Organize
Before packing, consider purging. Take the time to declutter and organize your belongings. Donate or sell items you no longer need to reduce the amount of items you’ll need to move. Organizing your belongings will also make it easier to unpack and settle into your new home.

Tip #2: Prepare Early
The early bird gets the worm so start packing as soon as possible. Begin with items you won’t need in the immediate future, such as seasonal clothing, decorations, and non-essential items. Label your boxes clearly and, if you want to go that extra step, create an inventory list to track your belongings during the move.

Tip #3: Establish a Budget
Financial planning for your PCS move is essential. Calculate the estimated costs of moving, temporary housing, and other expenses. Bonus Tip – Be sure to save any receipts related to the move, as some expenses may be reimbursable.

Tip #4: Obtain School and Medical Records
Gather and organize important school and medical records for each family member.
Notify your children’s schools about the upcoming move and request copies of transcripts and other essential documents. For medical records, obtain copies from your healthcare providers and ensure that you have the necessary immunizations for your new location.

Tip #5: Connect with Your New Community
Research your new location, including schools, healthcare facilities, and recreational activities. Reach out to military support groups or social media pages to connect with other military families in the area. Building relationships before the move can make settling in much easier.

Tip #6: Create a Moving Checklist
Having a comprehensive moving checklist will help you stay organized throughout the PCS process. List all essential tasks and set deadlines for completion. Check off items as they are completed to track your progress and ensure nothing is overlooked.

Tip #7: Coordinate Utilities and Services
Before leaving your current location, make arrangements to discontinue or transfer utility services, such as electricity, gas, and water. Contact the utility providers at your new location to schedule service activation. Don’t forget to update your mailing address and notify essential contacts, such as banks and insurance providers, of your upcoming move.

Tip #8: Arrange Travel
Plan your travel to the new duty station, whether by car, plane, or another mode of transportation. Make reservations and purchase tickets as needed. If driving, ensure your vehicle is in good condition and schedule any necessary maintenance before embarking on your journey.

Tip #9: Store and Protect Documents
Protect your important documents, such as PCS orders, passports, and birth certificates, by placing them in a secure, waterproof container. Carry these documents with you during the move to ensure they don’t get lost or damaged.

Tip #10: Organize Post-Move
Once you’ve arrived at your new home, set up essential rooms, such as the kitchen and bedrooms, first to create a comfortable living space. Gradually unpack and arrange the remaining items as needed.