If you're getting ready for a military Permanent Change of Station (PCS) overseas or stateside, you might be thinking through all of the moving pieces or steps you need to take before it happens. It can be easy to get so caught up in all of the to-dos that you miss major tools or steps that can make the whole thing easier.
That's where keeping in mind a few PCS season hacks comes in, said military move expert Megan Harless. By taking a few simple steps, military members can help their moves be just a little bit less chaotic.
Here are three of her military moving hacks.
Have a plan. It may seem like an obvious truth, but just winging it for your military move is not going to lower your stress level, Harless said. She recommends planning out each and every step of your move ahead of time, at least thinking through where you want to stay before you find housing, how you plan to get there and the details of your relocation like what you're going to do if your household goods are delayed.
"When I say have a plan, don't just have a plan for your shipment being delayed or having to shift your pack-out a day or two, have a plan for how you want your home packed," she said. "And so for me, I always say, 'I want my kids' rooms packed first,' because I need them to stop adding things to the car pile, because there's only so much space my car can hold."
Related: Hacking the 2022 PCS Moving Season Through Insider Tips
Even if you're not someone who likes to plan ahead, take the time to at least think things through, she said.
"If your plan is to wing it, write down how you're going to wing it," Harless said.
Keep a home inventory. It sounds daunting, but keeping an inventory of all of your household goods will save you a lot of pain later if any of your belongings are lost or damaged in your move, she said.
"If you have your inventory beforehand, it makes that process much smoother," she said. "If you have a box that doesn't show up and you're not quite sure what was in that box, well, you have your inventory. You can do a process of elimination to figure that out."
Get financially ready. In a perfect world, a military move costs next to nothing out of pocket. But even then, there are upfront costs as you wait for reimbursement. That's one of the reasons it's important to make a financial plan before your PCS, Harless said -- including keeping tabs on your rental or homeowners insurance.
"We need to make sure you have a policy that covers your household goods in transit and in storage, because the moving companies are only liable for $6 per pound, up to $75,000," she said. "So if it costs $150,000 or more to replace the stuff in your home, you're not getting that from the moving company. So you're going to have to replace that out of pocket or through your private insurance policy."
Keep Up-to-Date for Your Next PCS
Get the inside information from those who know. Get PCS help and all the news and benefits information you need delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe to Military.com now.