The summer season is typically known as a time of vacation and fun, but for many military families, it is the time known as Permanent Change of Station (PCS) season. During the summer, military families pick up their lives and move to new duty stations all over the country. Moving companies are hired from all over the country to pack up and carry belongings to the next location. With so many people moving in such a short amount of time, things are bound to go wrong — perfect storms for PCS horror stories. You’ve probably heard such PCS stories and fear that you could be the next victim. Here are some horrific situations you may have heard of and steps you can take to avoid a horrible PCS.
PCS Horror Story 1: My Belongings are Damaged
This is a typical situation during a PCS. Furniture, electronics, and valuables get new scratches and scrapes or get completely ruined. You can’t possibly move everything in your vehicle, so how do you avoid this PCS horror story?
First, be sure to take pictures of all items that are of value in your home, and be sure there is some sort of time stamp on the picture. You want to be able to verify that the picture of your pristine couch isn’t five years old. If something should happen to any of your belongings, you’ll have proof of the condition your items were in before your PCS.
Next, if anything is irreplaceable or has any sort of sentimental value to you, come up with a plan to get those items safely to your new home. Those items might have to travel with you, or you can ask a family member or friend to hold on to items for you until you can safely transport them.
Finally, as your items are being packed away, check the packers’ inventory sheet. Before you sign the inventory sheet, verify that all of the information about the condition of your items is correct. For example, if the sheet says your television is damaged and scratched and it’s brand new, point this out to the packer and show your picture. Don’t sign anything that isn’t accurate.
PCS Horror Story 2: Not Really a Door-to-Door Move
A door-to-door move is a much-desired situation. It means your belongings will be packed up and transported straight to your new home without having to go into storage. Of course, the unexpected may occur, and your door-to-door turns into a long wait for your household goods. You may not be waiting just a few days for your things, but weeks. This can be very upsetting, but try to prepare for the unexpected.
Before you move, try putting aside money for your PCS. If this situation happens to you, your duty station may not have room in the temporary lodging facility (TLF), which means you will be staying in a hotel, possibly for weeks. You can be reimbursed for your hotel stays, but only for the first 10 days. Having a little money stored away specifically for this situation will help put your worries at ease. Next, bring extra necessities with you, like a week’s worth of clothes, toiletries, and household items. While you are waiting for your household goods, stay diligent about contacting the moving company about possible schedule changes.
If you have been consistently contacting the moving company and the company has not been providing excellent customer service, you can report the company. Report to your military installation’s housing authority, and write reviews on pages potential customers would see, like Yelp. You don’t want the same thing to happen repeatedly to other people.
PCS Horror Story 3: Packing Forks with Bath Towels
Organization is key when it comes to a successful PCS. Before the packers arrive, be sure everything is in the room you want it to be unpacked in. Put a piece of paper on the door of each room, and label it (master, child’s room one, office, etc.). You can also put colored tape, like differently patterned duct tape, on the paper and put a piece of that tape on each of the boxes that are packed in that room. Then, whenever you arrive at your new home, you can put the papers up on the corresponding doors, and the movers won’t have to continually ask where items go.
Be sure to clean your things and dispose of perishable goods. Your household goods may be going into storage for a while, and you don’t want to receive the unwelcome surprise of unwrapping dirty dishes or a full trash can. Does that sound ridiculous? Well, it happens all the time. Packers will tell you their job is to pack your stuff, not to clean it. They will pack everything as is.
It’s hard to avoid every possible situation that can arise during a PCS, but it’s always better to be prepared for the worst. Moving is stressful, but by being prepared and aware of what could happen, you can have a more positive start at the new place you will be calling home.
Looking for more PCS tips? Check out Staying Fit and Eating Clean During PCS Limbo to keep you healthy in transition.
Photo Credits: Pixabay