Getting Ready to Make the Move – PCS Style!

Packing Up and Moving Out.

Try bulk packing hanging clothes by surrounding them with a clean trash bag! *Photo and Idea by

Try bulk packing hanging clothes by surrounding them with a clean trash bag! *Photo and Idea by The Wicker House blog.

This part of a PCS is probably the most calming for me, because I’m dealing with things I know. This is time to organize, throw away any junk and clean! So pop a DVD, or two, or three, into the player and get to packing!

Here are Some Packing Tips to Help You Out!

  1. Start packing the little stuff first. Knick-knacks, pictures, art on the wall – Dust it off and pack it up! *Head to U-Haul and pick up packing paper. Make sure to use it liberally!
  2. Pack well. *Remember you are not moving across town with a PCS. Boxes should be packed tightly, yet not overpacked. The right size box for the right stuff works wonders!
  3. Go to the Dollar Tree and get Color Coding Labels. *These colored dots make it easy to tell what boxes are for what room.
  4. Go tape happy when securing the boxes! *I promise you won’t be sorry! Even try using masking tape on mirrors or picture frame glass – this gives the fragile object a little more support during the move.
  5. If you have extra time, number the boxes and write the contents down on a Packing List. *This way you can make sure no boxes were lost during the move if the military is moving you. And if one was lost, what the contents inside them were.
  6. Leave the kitchen and bathroom for last. *Your family will be thankful they can still make something to eat!
  7. Plan ahead outfits to keep out and rotate washing. *This will keep you out of digging through your boxes a couple days later. Trust me – I was one of those box diggers and wished I had just planned out my outfits! Remember to wear moving clothes – not sundresses! *Guilty*
  8. Give yourself enough time to be able to clean your house/apartment before you leave. *Plan ahead!

Number your boxes to insure none were lost during a move. Great for those who are having the military move them or doing a partial DITY move!

Important Paperwork & Things to Keep On Hand

  • Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate
  • Social Security Cards, Passports
  • IDs for anyone over the age of 10
  • Car information (registration, insurance, car title)
  • School, Employment, Pet and Bank Records
  • Medicine that is currently being taken and extras like Benadryl, ibuprofen, etc.
  • Checkbooks *To avoid any identity theft!
  • A Packing List *This is just for you to stay organized!

And probably the #1 thing to keep on hand during a move…

  • The Official Orders

Most of these are common sense, but dealing with a PCS can be stressful, so keep a check list for yourself to stay on track!



Month of PCS – Who Moves Our Things?

The Big Move.


Let the packing begin!

Not going to lie – this post is a biggie. So let’s get started!

When it came to Blair and I making our first PCS up to Fort Lewis, we instantly knew how we wanted to move – DITY Style. 😉 That being said, doing your own move isn’t the only option and isn’t meant for everyone; you can do it yourself (DITY), kind of do it yourself (Partial DITY) or let the military move you!

First thing first is to evaluate your current life situation and personality before deciding though! So:

  1. Do you have children or a dog?
  2. Are you moving over 700 miles with this PCS?
  3. Are you able to spend $1000+ out of pocket right now?
  4. Do you have multiple cars?
  5. PCS-ing during Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter?
  6. Are you a “road tripper”?
  7. Are you able to live without your belongings for possibly a month or longer?

Some of these questions may seem weird for newbie military wives to ask themselves, but trust me when I tell you that answering these are a must to happily PCS-ing stress free!

If you answered YES to Questions 1, 2, 4 and Fall/Winter for 5, having the Military move you may be the best bet!

If you answered YES to Questions 3 & 6, NO to 7 and Spring/Summer for 5, DITY moves may be for you!

It’s vital to sit down with your sweetheart after answering these and talk it out. PCS-ing is a team effort, so make sure you are on the same mind-track when it comes to how you’ll be moving!

Now onto the next step – setting up your move!



Which move did you pick?

This section is split into 3 parts: DITY Move, Partial DITY Move and Military Move. While some of the steps may vary, the basics and key steps are included!

DITY Move:

  • As soon as the Official Orders are in, contact your apartment office, landlord, etc. and notify them of the move. *The Official Orders will have the report date for your Active Duty spouse on it, so make sure to give enough notice keeping the actual move in mind.
  • Do research and book your rental truck. *We saved so much by using Penske (Hertz). Our 1-way 5 day rental cost was about $600 for a 26 foot truck. Pretty good considering the same for a Uhaul was way over $1000! Also, the point of booking ahead is to ensure they have that truck on the date you want.
  • Plan out the drive and make day goals. *For instance, we drove from Nevada to Washington – a 722 mile drive. Day 1 was used to pick up the rental truck and load it. On Day 2, we set a goal of leaving and making it to Southern Oregon and staying with family to help out with the expenses. For Day 3, we set the goal of making it to Fort Lewis. And Day 4 to unpack and return the rental truck.

Partial DITY Move:

  • Notify your apartment office, landlord, etc. of the move.
  • Set up the move with a Private Moving Company – Do research first for the best rate!
  • Plan accordingly with the Moving Company – are you going to follow them? Are you going to drive straight there and have them meet up with you? Are they going to leave before you?
  • Still make Driving Goals for yourself. *Obviously if your family is flying you don’t need to make these goals.

*Still consider the notes from the previous section – DITY move – when planning a Partial DITY Move.

Military Move:

  • Notify your apartment office, landlord, etc. of the move.
  • Contact your military branch’s nearest base’s Transportation Office. *If you aren’t near a base, this may cause some problems with the military moving your things. Never hurts to try and call though! Blair and I ran into this seeing as though the nearest base was Navy and we are Army. That is one of the reasons why we ended up moving ourselves!
  • Pack your things beyond super well! *The military is notorious for being rough with boxes and furniture!
  • Plan your drive or flight time accordingly. *Give yourself enough time to get to your new Duty Station and mentally prepare for the days ahead. You won’t want to plan on following the military movers – military movers can take up to a month, if not more, to arrive with your belongings.

*Despite this move not being a DITY, previous notes are still good to consider!

STOP HERE – IMPORTANT INFO! If your landlord tries to tell you that you are breaking the lease by moving out before the end date and that you have to pay extra fees due to that, pull out your Military Lease Clause knowledge! You are protected! To learn more, check out Military OneSource’s page on this here.

Alright- next section is some tips on how you DITY movers can actually make money during this move! Let’s go!


moneymoneymoneyTips and Tricks on Making $$$ off of your DITY Move:

*I actually just sent these to a newbie wife I’ve been talking to the past couple of weeks, and I think it fits perfectly into this post! So a shout out to Melanie and her family! Her husband gets home from AIT very soon (Yay!) and then it’s moving time!

  • Rent smart. Like I said, we used Penske (Hertz) and it was by far the cheapest. And they have a military discount!
  • Weigh the rental truck after it’s been completely loaded and is completely full with gas. You have to provide weight tickets to get reimbursed, so why not make it weigh the most it can! *You have to use weighing stations at truck gas stations like Love’s. The state weigh stations won’t help you.
  • That goes for the final weight ticket too. Weigh it when you have completely unloaded and gas isn’t full!
  • Keep every single moving receipt in a Manila Folder. You get reimbursed for a certain amount of lodging and food a day. *If you want to make a little more money in the long run, just buy lunch meats, snack foods, etc. for food to stay away from paying out of pocket for full on meals at restaurants.
  • Mark mileage!

Something to note is that ranks have different weight limit amounts you’ll be reimbursed for during a DITY move. Make sure to look for your spouse’s rank weight limit when it comes to moving things! *For the most part, I’m pretty sure you all will be fine when it comes to your stuff though. We moved a lot in a 26 foot truck, including a TON of heavy heavy furniture and still met the weight limits! But better to be safe than sorry!

Phew! That was long, but I hope it gave some of you newbie wives a place to get started! If you’re a military wife and have some PCS tips, tricks or recommendations of your own make sure to send them my way by emailing or commenting below!

Happy PCS-ing!


Other Posts for *A Month of PCS*

Week 1 – The Basics to a PCS!

Week 2 – On or Off Post?

Week 4 – Making the Move!

Week 5 – How to Relax During a PCS!

A Newbie’s Guide to their First Duty Station Move + a Moving Tip to Know!


As a newbie military wife that little acronym may sound intimidating. But relax! There’s no need to worry about making the move to a new duty station.

To help out more, we are doing *A Month of PCS* here at The Real Sweetheart! Influenced by questions asked by newbie military wives, the site will have a month of tricks, tips, funny PCS stories and more!

Check out the schedule below to see what the month of May will consist of! We’re excited and hope you are too – Stay tuned every Friday!

Click on the photo below to see an enlarged version of the schedule!


The Posts for *A Month of PCS*

Week 1 – The Basics to a PCS!

Week 2 – On or Off Post?

Week 3 – Who Moves Our Things?

Week 4 – Making the Move!

Week 5 – How to Relax During a PCS!


movingtip1Moving Tip of the Day!

Tired of unpacking your things to find the box or bag soaked in shampoo, face wash, etc.?

Try placing plastic wrap over the opening of the container and replacing the cap over it! Creating a seal, the bottle is essentially leak-proof. SCORE. 🙂