How to Make a Summertime PCS Military Move More Manageable

Written by TeLeah Thurston


For the average family, June to August is considered summer break. School is out, and families are taking breaks from school and work to enjoy time together or a summer vacation. However, summer break is also known as PCS season in the military. A PCS military move is a permanent change of station from one duty station to the next or your home of record/retirement. PCS military moves can be exciting yet overwhelming or altogether stressful. With PCS season ranging from June to August, sometimes even September, you’re bound to experience a number of setbacks and delays. The best way to minimize stress is to do your best to prepare for your PCS move ahead of time. Here’s how.


Prepare For Your PCS Move & Get Your Paperwork Organized

Due to the needs of the military, families typically relocate every few years. The best rule of thumb would be to keep a binder that includes all your important documents so no matter where you are or what circumstances surround your PCS military move, you can quickly access them.

With a simple Google search, you can find the simplest to the most extensive binder templates according to your liking. Documents like official military orders, lease/mortgage agreements, and medical and financial records are just a few items you’ll want to consider having easily accessible.


Start Decluttering Early

Within 90 days or so, I recommend beginning to declutter your home. The heat alone is enough to wear you down in a summertime PCS move, so eliminate burning the extra calories by getting rid of things around the house that you haven’t used in quite some time. Doing this every quarter will help even more in the event of a rush PCS military move. This is also a good time to start boxing and packing away things you want to bring but may only use sparingly in your new home.


Take Inventory

Another way to make your PCS military move more manageable is to keep or start an inventory of your household goods. During PCS season, many military families favor the use of a full government move, where the military will contract a company to pack and ship your household goods for you. Typically, multiple families’ items go on one trailer, separated by dividers, so a detailed inventory of your items will be imperative, especially if something gets damaged or lost. Even if you choose to do a personally procured move (PPM), an inventory list can still reduce the stress of trying to recall everything in your head.


Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

If you’ve been a part of the military community for at least 30 days, you’re already aware of how quickly plans can change. Therefore, I encourage you to be prepared to take lots of deep breaths during your PCS military move.

If I could ask you to walk away with one thing you won’t forget, it would be to remain flexible. Be kind to yourself during the PCS season. You have a lot on your plate to accomplish so take one stride at a time. Be direct with the people you may have to interact with to get the job done, but not demanding. There are many moving parts, and if you get wrapped up in the snare of all the hard lefts and rights, you will surely wear yourself out.

As within any military community, you will undoubtedly have built your core group of friends throughout your stay, so you’ll want to ensure you exchange phone numbers and email addresses to stay in contact with your family away from family. Social media is also a huge lifeline for a PCS military move now more than ever because you can quickly find out about your future location.

Let your move be more of an adventure for you and your family than a daunting task. And don’t forget the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) is standing by ready to provide you with stability and community, so you’re never alone. Find a location near you or your next duty station here.


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