Spouse’s Guide to Surviving Military Relocation

It’s often said that the only constant in military life is change. Over the span of a career, the average military family experiences a permanent change of station (PCS) every two to three years. Whether you are embarking on your first military move or your fifth, these handy tips from seasoned military spouses help you handle your PCS with as little stress as possible.

Build a PCS Binder

The best way to stay organized during military relocation is to build a PCS binder. Military spouse Bridget Carlson has a great tutorial on her blog, “The Nutty Hiker.” Include sections for housing, utilities, travel arrangements, and temporary lodging. Use it to keep children’s immunizations and school records and pet vaccinations readily accessible. Add a master calendar of important dates and pockets to keep track of receipts and business cards.

Research the Location

As soon as you have a location, research housing in the new area, both on and off base, and list the pros and cons of several options before making a decision on where to live. Consider everything from traffic and commute times to schools and shopping. Compare the cost of renting versus buying if you expect to be there several years. If time and money allow, take a trip to the new location to scope out some possibilities. If that isn’t possible, take advantage of the numerous online resources for military members to get a clear idea of what to expect in the new locale.

Purge the Excess

The military imposes a weight limit on your household goods shipment. If your shipment of goods exceeds the weight limit, you must pay the excess costs. For specifics on this and other military moving regulations, check out the brochures on Move.mil. Be willing to let go of unnecessary belongings to prevent these additional charges. Clean out closets, basements, garages, and attics, and have a garage sale or donate items to a local charity for the tax write-off.

Prepare for the Packers

Reduce the number of missing or damaged items and expedite the packing and unpacking process by preparing ahead of time. Before the packers arrive, go through the house, room by room, to make sure all like items are together and where they belong. Use zippered plastic bags to keep small items like kitchen utensils, toys, and remote controls from getting dirty, damaged, or lost in the shuffle. Pack linens and clothes in large tubs with lids to keep them clean. Put shoes in plastic shoe bins to protect them from damage in transport.

Temporary Housing

Permanent housing may not be available as soon as you arrive at your new duty station. You could opt to stay in an extended stay hotel for several weeks, or sign a short lease on a furnished or unfurnished apartment. If the temporary housing is unfurnished, rent furniture for a short period and let the military pay the cost of storing your household goods.

CORT Furniture Rental has a long history of serving the needs of military families. Furniture rental is available in all 50 states as well as in more than 80 countries around the world. Furniture options include everything from individual pieces to furnishings for your entire home. Order online for delivery in as little as 48 hours with professional setup.

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