Getting Ready for PCS Season
1. You Are in Command
- Take charge.
- Don’t go it alone: Take advantage of military and civilian resources—ask others military families about there experiences or references for resources in your new community
2. Get Organized and Prepared for Your Move
- Begin the minute you receive verbal and/or written orders.
- Helps to reduce stress and maintain control over the situation.
3. Assess your Situation and Needs
- Remain positive: Make a list of things you and your family are looking forward to and make a list or scrapbook of the good memories you will be taking with you.
- Review your financial situation, income (spouse employment needs), debt, cost of living, taxes, and establish a budget
- Determine personal vs government transit costs associated with the relocation: Relocation cost estimates (e.g., allowances, travel/transportation, lodging, mileage).
- Determine housing costs at new location (broker/real estate, selling a home, renting, buying a home, government housing, allowances, subsistence, etc.).
- Update personal affairs information (wills, powers of attorney).
- Determine child care, school-age children, and adult educational needs.
- Remember, overseas moves are more complex so allow sufficient time and resources to address unique issues and conerns.
4. Develop a Plan and Checklist(s)
- Set-up a system to execute your plan: use a notebook or planning device or pre-established checklists for your planning.
- Everybody plans: Involve spouse, children and or other family members in the planning process for the new home so they will feel less helpless about the move.
5. Establish a schedule
- Be optimistic, but realistic—don’t try to do everything at once. Break larger tasks into smaller components. Spreading smaller tasks over a longer time period makes things more manageable and less stressful.
- Remain flexible. Even the best plans change. Remain open to change and new opportunities and readjustment will be a more positive experience.
6. Household Goods
- Inventory and photograph your belongings.
- Determine method of moving (e.g., government move, partial government move, DITY or self move).
- Determine requirements for storage and moving pets and vehicles.
7. Gather information on the new location
- Housing market
- Cost of living
- Schools for children
- Employment for spouse
8. Don’t forget to make time for family and individual needs and feelings
- Talk it out: Find time to sit down as a family and discuss your feelings about the move.
- Keep familiar patterns or routines as much as possible, particularly old routines such as mealtimes and bedtimes. Familiarity provides security.
- Stress can negatively affect the body and the mind and make you more vulnerable to illness. Families need to give themselves a little extra "tender, loving care (TLC)" at moving time by eating the right foods and getting enough exercise and sleep.
- Have fun and take breaks: Incorporate fun activities along the way.
9. Say Good-byes
- Say your good-byes: It's important to deal with good-byes and express feelings of sadness so you can move on emotionally as well as physically.
- Keep an eye on the children—moving can be especially traumatic for them. Help children to find ways to meet new teachers and friends but don't push at their new location. Most children adjust just fine. However, parents should keep an eye out for possible danger signals such as a child spending too much time alone, loss of interest in favorite things, loss of energy or appetite, or other behavior pattern changes.
10. Welcome to Your New Home
- Say hello to your neighbors and get to know your community
- Explore the new environment: Get up, get out, and get involved; the best medicine for loneliness is people and the best way to overcome the feeling of being uprooted is to put down roots in the new location.