How to Survive a PCS Move – Part 2

Finally…Finally…Hallelujah…Whoopee…Our stuff is here!!!!

The explanation of my MIA status this past week.

Break out that wine again…or in this case unpack it with some wine glasses.  Remember my moving tips in Part 1, well now that you got the first part of the moving process out of the way, it’s time to receive all of your stuff.  So sit back and here we go with some tips and tricks about receiving your household goods at your new destination.

Before I begin with my numbered list.  Let me start by saying that all those little stickers that they place on all of your furniture and boxes meant something.  You should already have a big list of paperwork with all of the numbers listed out and what they are attached to.  Well…I didn’t know this my very first rodeo, but when you receive your stuff, they give you this neat little checklist with all of the numbers already on it so you can check the numbers as they come into the house.  Then, you can reference your original list later if some numbers are missing.  My first move…I was that girl up  midnight the night before making copies of my sheets thinking I needed a way to track what was being delivered….silly me…you live and you learn…right???

Okay, so on with the list…

1.)    Have an idea of where you want all of your furniture to go.  Typically you have some time  between getting into a new house and the truck arriving with your stuff, so prior to their arrival, I like to go through the house with sticky notes…or pieces of paper with tape…and put what furniture I want to go where with a sticky note on the wall.  The movers are only required to move and place the furniture once, so it’s a good idea to be prepared.  It helps me from running room to room pointing to where I want things while also checking off each sticker that comes through the door.  I also like to label the bedrooms so I’m not constantly having to point people in the right direction.

2.)    Put away what you already have with you.  I basically take everything and put it in drawers, cabinets, and closets.  It makes it easier for the movers to bring everything in and set it up where you want it.  No one wants to be weaving and bobbing around an already cluttered house to bring more clutter in.

3.)    Once again with the food.  This time around I usually just do snacky foods and water.  Maybe pick-up a box of pastries, bags of chips, that sort of thing.  Reason being, it seems to take a lot less time to unload the trucks.

4.)    Keep and eye out for any damages to your stuff and to the house.  Once it is all said and done, you can claim any damages.  I find that the movers are pretty good about pointing out damaged items that they unload, but always go around and double-check everything.  You have so many days to make any necessary claims…so better unpack sooner than later.

Well there you have it.  The basics of receiving your stuff.  Hopefully everything will arrive in one piece and in the condition that you left it.  If not, the movers and your Housing Office will be there to help you through the claims process.

How to Survive a PCS Move – Part 1

BugleLots and lots of wine!!!  Oh…and Tylenol!!!  Just Kidding…well sort of.  Moving is a daunting task in general, but for us military folk, it is just a part of the life that we lead.  This move to Hawaii will be our second move this year, and I have learned a few tips and tricks that have made moving seem a little bit easier and just a tad less stressful.

Part 1 will deal with the movers packing and moving your household goods to your next destination.  Part 2 will focus on receiving your household goods at your new destination.

For starters, moving is not a time to be lazy.  Yes, a moving company comes to your house, packs your stuff, brings it to your next house and will even unpack for you, but make life easier on both sides by being proactive and most importantly…organized.

1.)    Make moving a time to purge.  Go through every room, drawer, closet, and cabinet and ask yourself, “do I need this, do I want that, when was the last time the item was used or worn???”  If you have no need or want for the item or haven’t used it since you bought it, maybe it is time to get rid of it.  Sell it, donate it, or even trash it.  Why make people haul around your stuff if you don’t know why you had it in the first place?

2.)    Categorize your stuff.  I’ll admit that I went a little overboard with this one tip during our first move by basically taking everything out and putting it in areas making it hard for the movers to navigate through my house.  You don’t have to go that far, but I do recommend having similar stuff in similar areas.  When I take all of the picture frames down, I will put them along one wall.  I make sure all baby items are in the baby’s room, etc.  The packers will pack as they go.  They will not, however, organize your house as they pack, so if your child’s teddy bear is in the panty, be prepared to have it packed with the olive oil and have it unpacked greasier than the flag bearer from Tonga.

3.)    Make sure everything is clean and put away for packing.  I can’t tell you how many complaints come from the movers telling me that they walk into houses where there were still dirty dishes in the sink, wet towels on the floor and dirty clothes still in the hamper.  Movers are not a code-word for maid service, they will pack it how they find it.  And on a side note, don’t forget to take the trash out before they pack your trashcans.  No one wants to unpack a box of dirty socks, wet towels, and trash a month later…ewww.

4.)    Make a “DO NOT Pack Zone” for the items that you plan on carrying with you.  Some people use their cars, but I just tend to put a sign on a closet and tell them not to go in there.

5.)    Make sure everything you plan to bring with you fits in your car or in your suitcases.  It would really suck to have the movers leave only to realize that half the stuff you decided to keep won’t fit.  If possible beforehand, pre-pack the car or suitcases and just double-check that everything fits.

6.)    Make sure to keep all important papers together and organized.  I like to buy one of those accordion divider folders and label each divider with all of the important documents that our family will need during the move and checking into the next base.  Copies of orders, birth certificates, passports, social security cards, medical files, receipts, POV documents, marriage license, power of attorney, etc.  I have them all organized so that I can easily pull it out when someone asks for it.  And if you want to go the extra mile, have multiple copies of each.

7.)    Receipts!!!  Save your Receipts!!!  A lot of people don’t know this, but the military will reimburse you for just about anything and everything that is related to your move.  Packing supplies, hotel stays, gas for your car, etc.  Save every receipt.  My receipts have their own spot in my accordion folder.  It can’t hurt to ask if they will reimburse for something, you may be surprised, and if they don’t, no big deal.

8.)    Feed the workers.  While it is not required, I like to try and have a good relationship with the packers while they are packing and moving my stuff.  I had read a tip about providing snacks or lunch for the workers, and even a few people mentioned it to me.  Do it people…I know it is their job, but these guys…and girls…spend all day doing manual labor without lunch breaks…or at least the movers I have dealt with don’t take lunch breaks.  Be a doll and buy them some lunch, or at the very least provide them with some water.  It might help motivate them to care more for your items if they know that you care about their empty tummies as your 200lb dresser is hauled down two flights of stairs.

9.)    Try to relax.  I personally stress out about a week or so out from the move, run around like a chicken with its head cut off, bite my fingernails as they come down the stairs with all of my furniture and items, and then sigh as they close the crates up and drive away leaving me with an empty house.  You can only prepare so much before you have to let the movers take the reign.  And look like you trust them, even if you don’t.  I do keep an eye out and will say something if I don’t like the way they are packing an item, but at the end of the day, they are supposed to be the professionals. Worrying about every thump and bump you hear upstairs as you sit on the couch awkwardly watching your stuff walk out the door won’t help anything.  At this point, it is out of your hands and into theirs.

Being proactive and organized will make the packing, and also the receiving end, go so much smoother.  There are so many tips and tricks to surviving a PCS move on the internet.  I probably have read every one of them and they all have helped me.  I also encourage anyone PCSing to read the actual Defense Transportation Regulation – Part IV, “It’s Your Move”…yes lots of exciting rules and regulations for PCS moving.  I know it’s not the entertaining horror stories that are all over the internet, but it is anything and everything that you need to know as far as what the military will move and then some.  Also, if you have any questions about your move, don’t be afraid to call the Transportation Department on your base, or call the Moving Company, they should be more than happy to help…and if not…they get paid to answer your questions anyway.

I hope this helps to make your move a little more stress free.  Stay tuned for Part 2…coming soon to a blog near you.

#BetterAtBenning

BugleI am starting to see this hashtag pop-up on signs and banners around post lately.  After living on-post at Ft. Benning for about six months, I am here to tell you that life really is #betteratbenning.  Ft. Benning is a beautiful base with oak tree lined streets and historic buildings around every corner.  It feels like you just stepped off of the curb and ended up in 1920.  I absolutely love sitting on my screened porch sipping my morning cup of coffee watching kids run around the open field that our neighborhood encompasses.  After living about 45 minutes off-post at our last duty station, I have become a huge fan of living on-post.

The National Infantry Museum is a nice little bonus to add to the experience of Ft. Benning.  It is located right outside of post, and I highly recommend this to anyone who loves military history…or just a good museum for that matter.  No matter how many times I visit, I get chills up and down my arms.  You could seriously get lost for days on end here.

If you are getting stationed at Ft. Benning, please consider living on-post.  The community here is wonderful.

DSC03361

The View from My Back Porch

Hawaii Here We Come

Bugle

We are moving…in just a few days…ahhhhh.

I get so many mixed emotions every time we move.  Just as I was settling into a nice routine here at Ft. Benning, we have to pick-up all of our stuff…actually the moving company contracted out by the military has to pick-up all of our stuff…and move again.  I absolutely love our little historic house and neighborhood at Ft. Benning.  I am really sad to have to leave it so soon, but also very elated to see what adventures await us at our new home.

Before we can officially become islanders, we have to ship our cars, ship our household goods, and fly the Yetmans over the Pacific Ocean.  So please pray and hope for safe travels and the easy transfer of goods…because we all know those horror stories of PCS moves gone wrong are lingering in the back of our minds.

I know there are many tips and tricks to surviving a PCS move already out there on the wonderful world wide web, but in the coming weeks, I want to share my experiences as well since so many of these stories helped me to better prepare for our moves.

Welcome to My Blog

Bugle

I have decided to start a blog.

I have been throwing this idea around for a while and since our little family is making a big move very soon…more to come on that…I wanted a place where friends and family can keep up with our happenings.  I also wanted a place where I can share all of my fun, creative DIY projects, since that is what seems to take up most of my free time…minus the chasing around a crawling baby part.  So go and check-out my About Me section and sit back and enjoy.

P.S.  Just bear with me while I work out the kinks and accomplish this whole new learning curve.