Friday, May 30, 2014

Preparing to PCS...AGAIN

So we are moving cross country again for the second time in 6 months!!  Even though this time we not only have a toddler and I will be 6 months pregnant I am surprisingly NOT STRESSED!  To most normal, non-military people this kind of adventure would sound like a nightmare but we are actually really excited and really prepared.  Below is my TO-DO list for this last month before our big move.  I thought it might be helpful for some of you who are either new to  PCS moves or are just a little rusty.  Moving twice so close together is actually really helpful because the dos and don'ts are fresh in our minds.



Get medical records for J
Pick up on Post with his last appointment
Email Landlord Orders
Or as soon as we receive them
Paperwork on post
Get assigned a mover/packer and schedule walk thru for them to estimate weight, be sure to point out appliances that are yours, attic items, back yard, etc.
Set up pack/move date with movers
Pack 6/25-6/26- Load Truck 6/27
Set up final walk thru date with landlord
6/30 @9am- We are planning on getting on the road immediately after this but will have a few cleaning supplies and spackle on hand just in case we need to do anything last minute.  Also, don't forget to change out the air filters!
Notify Utilities of shut off date: electric, water, gas, cable
Shutoff on 7/1 so it is still on for walk thru 
Start Prep for Packers
Assign areas for packing:  Wall stuff in Closets, Camper stuff in our bath
Take stuff off walls
Guest: Pics,drapes   Hall: Pics,hook,nooks  J: Shelves,books, pics  Fam: pics, drapes  Master: drapes
Patch holes

Find OBGYN in GA: Notify Tricare
Researched preferences ahead of time
Gather liquids
Organize by room/type
Gather Candles

Bag Drawers and Clothes
trash bags to group hanging items together (label), large zip locs for small items in drawers 
Last minute wall stuff down
J’s Black out Drapes
Pack Camper
We have a camper that we stay in the last few days before move but you can prep your things that you will need during move process in a bathroom or separate room so the packers don't pack them.  List of suggestions below.
Get medical records for me
Most people can do this sooner but since I am preggers I am having one last appointment just before the move.  
Clean House: dust, windows, mirrors, cabinets, counters, floors, baths, porches, garage, filter, 
Carpet cleaners and final pest control (required by our landlord) will happen the day after movers take our things, we always stay in town for at least 2 days to clean and prep house so we can be sure to get our full rental deposit back.  It is also impossible to clean the house thoroughly with stuff still in it. 
Get utilities turned on at new house: electric, water, gas, cable
Schedule this well in advance, can take a few days for them to actually get to your new home and you don't want to be without lights, hot water, etc.  Will also be needed if you plan on having carpets cleaned before movers arrive.  Find out from new landlord or previous owner if they did this after last move out so you aren't double cleaning for no reason.  

A few other things to remember...

- We always leave cleaning out the fridge to last because we try to use up as much food/condiments as possible.  We have the camper to take some things with us but if you have no way to take cold items with you then consider asking friends and neighbors if they want anything before you throw it out.  Movers won't pack this stuff anyway so don't stress about it until they are done packing.  

- Important items- we use a large plastic bin to keep photo albums, baby books, jewelry, and other sentimental items that we would really be upset about if they were damaged or lost.  We take these things with us.  Basically, anything that you would truly miss and could not replace (sentimental not monitory) keep with you if you can.  If you are moving overseas, consider asking a family member to store for you while you are gone.  

- Documents- we have a small fire safe that we keep birth certificates, marriage license, etc. in so we just bring that with us to be safe.  You also will want to have a binder with all of your paperwork pertaining to your move.  
      - Military orders (several copies)
      - Lease agreements (new and old house) 
      - Purchase documents if buying a new home
      - Copies of last month of each utility bill
      - Phone numbers for new utility companies, landlord, realtor, anyone you might need to contact
      - Directions to new home and any hotels, rv parks, etc. that you are staying at along the way (just    in case cell phone isn't working when you really need it)
      - MOVING COMPANY CONTACT INFO INCLUDING THE TRUCK DRIVER"S CELL NUMBER- you will want to be able to contact them to see when your stuff will arrive at your new home.  Don't forget to get the truck driver's phone number and maybe even email.  

   You will also want to pack some things yourself and set aside so that you are prepared for the in-between days while the majority of your belongings are in transit.  Remember that when the packers come you need to be fully prepared ahead of time and have things clearly blocked off and labeled that you do not want them to pack.  I was really surprised how quickly they will get things packed and they usually split up to different parts of the house so you won't be able to still be working on your own in a different room.  We even had one pack the food that we bought for them to have while they were working because it wasn't exactly in the labeled and dedicated area we had assigned.  I have also heard of them packing trash cans with the trash still in them so make sure to take that out before they arrive or you could be in for a stinky situation.  Pack the same way you would if you were going on a trip but be sure to include a little extra in case there is a weather delay or something with the moving truck.  If you are planning on getting to your home before the movers and don't want to stay in a hotel you may want to include an air mattress, sheets, towels, simple provisions for meals,(paper plates, cups) etc.  

Since we move in our travel trailer we have pots, pans, plates, sheets, towels, etc. already set up in the trailer.  We add food, clothes, toiletries, toys, etc. and move to the RV park on post a few days before packers come to make it easier on us to not be living in an upside down house with our toddler.  You may want to consider staying in a hotel or with a friend once the packers show up or if you are more adventurous than us then make sure to set aside an air mattress and pac-n-play for kiddos.  

Suggested packing list...

- Clothes for transition time (comfy and things you can clean in)
- Toiletries for whole family
- Sensible shoes- again something you can clean in and wear for long car rides
- TOYS, books, car toys, dvd players, iPads, etc. - lots of ways to keep kids entertained
- Stroller, pac-n-play (with sheets), 
- Snacks for the car ride (red bull for my husband)
- Small cooler for drinks in the car
- Baby food, formula, bottles, pacifiers, bibs, etc. 
- Diapers and wipes 
- Jackets or bathing suits, depending on the weather.  If you stay somewhere with a swimming pool or big snow pile it might be nice to let the kids (and you) have a fun break
- Fill your iPod with lots of music and audio books to help with the drive.  Mickey Mouse videos work great for our toddler too.

Suggestions we have used from friends...

- Put all drawer/basket items in bags (we use giant zip locs and trash bags).  Packers will sometimes just dump drawers boxes and it can be a nightmare to unpack and re-organize.  If you group your utensils then it is much easier for unpacking quickly.  I will even be putting my clothes in trash bags this time so they don't all come un-folded and I will label by season, type, mine/husbands so we can find what we need faster.  

- Special toys- a friend of mine buys a few new books and toys for her kids and also hides a few of their favorites a little bit out from the move.  That way, when they are in the car for hours and hours she can pull out an old favorite or a new exciting toy and keep them entertained a little longer.  
- Nap time travel- Our toddler is still taking two naps a day so we try and schedule our drive time during those naps.  This may mean stopping for a long lunch and play place somewhere but it is much easier on us all to have a sleepy baby than a cranky baby in the car.  If you are driving in separate cars you could always send one ahead to set up the hotel for the night.  

- Make your trip a real trip- Usually we are on a bit of a time crunch to get to the new home before the movers but if we can we try and squeeze in a few fun stops.  The big plus to being military is that we have friends all over the country so we usually try and stop for a visit (even if it is just dinner) along the way.  There are also endless road side attractions all across the country that can give the whole family a nice break.  Map out your route well in advance and search online (or in an atlas) for fun stops that aren't too far off your path.  

Finally!  Have FUN!!  Make your move an adventure, not a stressful event.  If you are upset about leaving your current post take some time to research and discover your new post.  Find Facebook groups, blogs, events, etc. that you can get involved in even before the move so you know what you have to look forward to.  Every post has something to look forward to and if not, at least you know with the military that it isn't permanent:) 
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