Once you receive the PCS notice, you can exhaust the usual moving resources: base transportation office, family center at new base, housing office, finance office, chaplain's office, spousal support, and lots of brochures. But getting ready and working through the move can seem overwhelming, no matter how often you are called on to do it. Here are some tips.
- Think forward. Preparation reduces panic. For example, assemble all your documents in two 3-ring binders. One is for the security of all papers - orders, birth certificates, banking info, contracts, warranties, and so on. The other is for property-related records. Colored dividers can separate things by room and will hold photos of everything you own and receipts where you have them. In addition, taking pictures of the serial and model number on items that have them can help.
- Worst Case. Familiarize yourself with the DPS systems and modules for counseling, claims, etc.
- Reduce the load. You need to review what you can and cannot move. People do not tend to use most things after two years, so you can clean house with a yard sale and a trash can. Hazardous materials, including gasoline, paint, flammables, propane, and so on, do not ship. Depending where you are relocating most food products and or alcohol are not allowed. And movers have rules about transporting firearms, explosives, munitions, engines, and liquids of every sort.
- Separate things: You can physically divide precious things from travel items from things you will need on arrival. You will also benefit from laundering clothes, linens, and curtains before storage. Note that freight forwarders and movers will provide packing techniques, inventory, and order.
- Monitor Inventory: With the help of a spouse or neighbor, you can closely monitor the mover's packing, inventory, and labeling. Well detailed inventories, clearly labeled cartons, and an organized plan for assignment and placement of boxes makes for a more secure delivery.
- Pack Well. Professional packers are very important to the process. Your mover will be experienced on packaging lamp shades, glass and china, electronics, and fragile items. The packers will bring quality containers, specialized boxes, wrapping papers, cushioning fillers, and more. They should know how to pack all your fragile items. But you still want to pay attention and ask for additional care where needed.
All packages must be firmly packed, well sealed, and handled as labeled. As long as you're able to document the contents and care procedures, you should be able to reduce the damage and substantiate any necessary damage claim. No move has ever finished without a ding or a scratch, but you can protect your possessions and avoid the hassle of damage claims with preparation and attention to detail.