Making a permanent change of station move from one military base to another inevitably comes with its share of challenges. Whether this is your first move or you have a dozen PCS moves under your belt, a winter relocation involves a special set of considerations. Use this checklist to make your winter military move easier.
1. Ship the Essentials
It can take time for your belongings to catch up with you during a move, especially if a blizzard delays your moving truck, so think about the things you need to have as soon as you arrive. This could be anything from specific household items — hello, coffeemaker! — to favorite toys and winter clothes that are suitable for your new location. Box and ship these items in advance to ensure they are waiting for you.
2. Connect Early
Thanks to the internet, you can learn a lot about your future community before you get there. That can go a long way toward easing anxiety for family members and providing peace of mind. Access the DoD Military Installations site to review services available to you, and take time to connect with any relatives, friends, colleagues, or acquaintances who live in the new area. Winter weather may keep people in your new community indoors, so consider searching for groups on Facebook or LinkedIn to help you make connections right away.
3. Lighten Up
It’s amazing how much “stuff” you accumulate when you live in one place for a few years. Moving presents a golden opportunity to pare it down. Not only does it make packing and unpacking easier, but it makes it easy to quickly organize each room. Donate, discard, or sell items that you won’t need, especially if you’re moving from a balmy climate to somewhere with much colder year-round temperatures.
4. Winterize Your Vehicles
Depending on the move, you may be exposing your car to a very different climate. Extreme cold can take a toll on a car that hasn’t been prepared for such conditions. Pay a trusted mechanic to give your car an end-to-end inspection to ensure it’s weatherproofed for your new location. Don’t forget the tires, and purchase snow chains if necessary.
5. Prepare for Sickness
Hopefully the entire family stays in good health during the move, but winter is the time for colds and the flu, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Pack a “sick bag” with cold medicines for every member of the household along with cough drops, pain relievers, and anything else your family might need to fight winter bugs and germs.
6. Celebrate the Season
Although much of your attention is on the move, remember to enjoy the season. Pack any special decorations. It may seem like unnecessary effort, but it has a positive psychological effect to be surrounded by familiar things during a time of change. If you have young children and are moving close to the holidays, try to maintain your family’s traditions. Set out cookies and milk for Santa if that’s what you’ve always done. It helps little ones understand that even though your address is changing, your family isn’t.
7. Use Military Resources
Don’t be shy about asking for help to make this transition easier. From the 24/7 assistance of Military One Source to the online military moving resource site Move.mil to the help offered through the Military Officers Association of America, there are many ways to get information and assistance.
Although a winter PCS may seem like a dreary prospect, there are things you can do to brighten the outlook. CORT Furniture Rental can make moving convenient and easy by providing furniture when and where you need it. They also provide no-hassle pickup when you’re ready for your next move.