Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How To: Pack and Prepare for a PCS

No matter how many times I have moved, I have never felt "prepared" for the move.  I always seem so frazzled, because until that moving truck drives away with all of my possessions, I don't feel at ease.  Then you have the wait on the other end, driving/flying to your next destination, and unpacking when you get to your new home!

I did a lot of stuff before my move.  First, I did a lot of purging.  When I say a lot, I mean a lot!  I found a post a while ago from one blog, Clover Lane.  She has this post about 40 bags in 40 days for Lent.  I definitely did this in my apartment, and it helped so much in the long run.  Plus, it made me realize what I really need.  I started this purge about 3-4 months before I moved.  Every weekend I did a room.  Plus, I did something crazy and went through all of my magazines to keep the articles I wanted (recipes, workout routines, etc).  This got rid of all of those Real Simple magazines sitting around the apartment (recycled them of course!)

After that, I needed to see what I wanted to bring with me.  I had to drive to Virginia and live out of a hotel room/barracks room for 2 months, and then, I have to drive to move to another state for 6 months, and then my final destination.  Did you get all that?  It is crazy.  Which makes being prepared that important.  I broke it down by paperwork/admin, bathroom/hygiene items, uniforms, clothes, and other.

Admin-financial information, "I love me binder", and my orders.  The financial is obvious, but the I love me binder is something I made about 5 years ago.  My second XO had us organize our careers in a nice binder.  Qualifications, certificates, awards, FITREPs, etc.  I always keep this safe, because I always have to reference it for something.  Orders and my moving info from the moving company.  Both of these are vital for checking in, and ensuring I get all of my household goods (especially getting them in one piece. Still praying for that). I also hand carried all of my medical records, must have for any and every move.  If you know anything about me (at least my friends and those who work with me know) I love binders.  It is kind of crazy, but it keeps me so organized, in a way that I can make sense of all admin stuff I have.  I even have a special PCS binder that I made.  It contains orders, helpful hints, barracks reservation info, travel info, and apartment searches/leases for all of my moves. 

Bathroom/Hygiene Items-I had to make sure I had all of my medications, and other stuff like cold medicine, vitamins etc.  I am glad I had off of these things in a shoe box sized clear tote.  It made it easy when I came down with a sinus infection to find what I needed, and not have to run out and buy more meds (which I had to do anyway..).  I have two of those clear totes for cold meds and for hair/makeup stuff.  I also have two larger totes for soaps, shampoo, sunscreen, hair products, anything the movers couldn't move because it was a liquid.  I had all of these totes packed full, and have definitely used each item I packed.  Ahh, bug spray, bandaids, and anti biotic ointment always comes in handy, especially in the summer!

Uniforms-This was tough.  The Navy has a million Officer uniforms, and I will be travelling between two seasons.  That means summer and winter uniforms, along with working uniforms.  It also equates to more shoes.  I am not even kidding that I have an entire closet dedicated to uniforms.  I wish I had a closet just for shoes!

Clothes-I had a hard time with this.  I did the 30 for 30 list and packed accordingly.  I had to make this list accordingly, planning for August, September, and October.  Imagine living out of a suitcase, sans closet for 3 months.  I am not even that "fashion forward", but it was still tough to pack.  I am glad I did this, because so far I have not been at a loss for what to wear.  I had to make sure I had clothes for football tailgates, parties, etc.  Let's just hope it is a success.  I have been with out an apt for a month, and it has been a success so far!

Other-I packed some of my photos, etc.  Some stuff I don't want the movers to lose.  I didn't pack a lot of this, just a few things that have sentimental value.  I also have an entire suitcase with clean sheets/bedding/pillow for my first few nights at my new home.  I figured I would hate to show up after an 8-10 hour drive and not have any of that stuff available to me.  I am glad I packed my photos.  It is nice having a photo in my barracks room of my guy and me.  Makes it feel like home. 

I just hope I keep all of these helpful hints in mind with each step of my move!

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