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PCS season

18 moving tips

Staying organized and keeping a positive attitude will make your next move less stressful. File photo

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PCS season is here. If you are among the moving, making a solid plan will ease the adventure ahead. With 22 years and 11 moves under my belt, today I am sharing 18 PCS moving tips I have learned along the way. 

1. When your soldier utters the words "next assignment," take a deep breath and go to the happy place in your head. Since orders and assignments can change, avoid making any plans until you have a hard copy of the orders in hand.

2. Once you get your soldier's orders, purchase a binder, a pack of sleeve protectors and tabs. Add copies of the orders, birth certificates, social security cards, DEERS forms, rental agreements, reservations for travel, etc. This step alone will make you feel organized and have you off to a great start. 

3. Prior to the packers arriving, declutter and do a deep clean of your home. Go from room to room and get rid of everything you don't need. The key is to be realistic versus being sentimental. Consider a yard sale, the post thrift shop or Craigslist. Deep clean as you go. This ensures a fresh start on the other end. 

4. Inventory everything with a camera, and travel with the SD card. This will save time when it comes to forks, knives, clothes and drawers. If you must make a claim, a photograph is hard to dispute when proving the condition of a piece of furniture or number of items. 

5. Prepare items in drawers using giant Ziplock bags, and wrap filled baskets in plastic wrap. Packers have a habit of dumping everything in drawers, boxes and bins into boxes. This will save time on the other end when putting things away. 

6. Plan the order in which you would like your home packed. If, perhaps, you are the only party that will be present with a team of four packing, you may request that they all work in the same general area so that you can monitor the packing of your home. I recommend communicating this when the initial walk-through takes place and then again with the team captain when the packers arrive. 

7. Take a photo of the back of your entertainment system for easy forward set-up.

8. Ask the moving company to give you a few boxes before they arrive. Pack all small items and parts that are likely to be misplaced or lost in paper when unpacking. 

9. Plan a shopping day in your pantry and cabinets. Invite neighbors to come by at a specified time for a free shopping spree. Or perhaps host a "Drink Us Dry Party" to remove alcoholic beverages before you travel. 

10. Consider marking most of your boxes as high-value items. Sometimes a missing dish pack will only be reimbursed $30, a clothes pack $20 and a book pack $10. It is best to be on the safe side. 

11. As the packers tape up a box, they will write the room it belongs to on the side. Consider using a different colored marker to represent each individual room. (See tip 17.)

12. Be kind to the moving team. If there is discord, avoid handling any conflict yourself. Keep the transportation office number handy and let them handle any issues. 

13. Get your household goods weight in writing before your truck driver leaves town. This will serve as proof of weight in the case of any surprise overweight charges subtracted from your pay without notice. 

14. Travel with your parts box. It is handy for your other end movers to put your household items back together. 

15. When you arrive at your new duty station, take photographs of your new space before your household goods arrive. Capture cleanliness, damages, floor details and the overall condition of the space. Document it with housing or your landlord. 

16. Pre-clean your new home before the movers arrive. This will make unpacking easier and prepare you for a fresh start. 

17. If possible, consider putting all boxes in a garage or a basement separated by room for easy access (see tip 11). Next, pick a room to start with and unpack ONE box at a time, putting EVERYTHING in its place as you go. Break down the box and move to the next. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and help to avoid piles of clutter.

18. Last, keep a positive mindset and enjoy the adventure! 

Gwyn Nielsen is a military wife, volunteer, public speaker, and founder of SparklingCharm.com. 

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