Receiving PCS orders can be exciting. New adventures are ahead-a new home, new friends, new places to have fun with the service member you love. But preparing for, and actually relocating usually isn’t so glorious, especially when it’s your first moving experience with the military.
-Create a list of all of the people and companies that you’ll need to update your address with (and then update as needed).
-Apply for the Dislocation Allowance (DLA) to help with any expenses incurred during relocation. Be aware that this may not cover all of your costs.
-Make at least 10 copies of your spouse’s orders to hand out when requested by various offices.
-Have a Power of Attorney drawn up in the event that you need to act on your spouse’s behalf.
-Get copies of your medical, immunization, dental and children’s school records, if you have any (or find out how to have these records forwarded).
Getting Packed Up:
-Create your own household inventory (including serial numbers).
-Take pictures of your possessions and get valuables appraised.
-Bring items of value with you (i.e. jewelry, photos, and important documents).
-Separate items you don’t want packed and prepare your belongings before the movers arrive (i.e. count all your CDs and place like items together).
-Carriers usually won’t pack up liquids (especially open bottles) so prepare to pack them up with you or find a new home for them.
-As a nice gesture, have refreshments on hand for your packers.
-Label your boxes in detail so you know what goes where before you even unpack the box at your new home.
-Read all paperwork THOROUGHLY before you sign anything and keep copies of all documents from the carrier.
-Know your paperwork: DD Form 1840 (to be submitted for damaged goods discovered during delivery) and DD Form 1840R (to be submitted for damaged goods discovered after delivery).
-Have the movers unpack all of your boxes; don’t do it yourself.
-Update your new contact information in DEERS and at your military installation’s hospital or clinic immediately.
-Contact the DMV at your new location to find out the process for car registration and license renewal.
And here are some comments from spouses who’ve done it:
“When we moved from Florida to Texas, we had a husband and wife team pack us up. They were amazing and spoiled us for future moves. Now our move from Texas to North Dakota was the complete opposite. We had a group of 5 people come box us up. What took the first crew just a few hours took this group all day. Needless to say our goods did not all arrive as they had left us and my excitement at opening boxes quickly turned to trepidation with each new box. I would open a box labeled kitchen and expect to find only kitchen items (and) found bathroom items instead.”
— Barbara Larrison, Air Force spouse (Ret.), Minot, North Dakota
“The best tip I could give to someone getting ready for a PCS move is to ask the packers to pack up certain items into a box and label it ‘first box to unpack’. Include items such as your telephones and wireless router… things that you will need right away and don’t want to be on the hunt for in your new home. Include some scissors in this first box too, which will really help you out when you’re opening all of the other boxes!!”
— Amy Schofield, Navy spouse, Patuxent River NAS, Maryland