Eekk! Those PCS orders snuck up on you super quick. And now it’s almost here. You’re not even remotely prepared.

Don’t worry, just use our checklist to cover all your bases.

The Giant List of Things to Do Before You PCS

When you get orders:

  1. Confirm report dates
  2. Select your preferred move-out window
  3. Talk to the travel or moving office
  4. Find out how to schedule movers
  5. Request movers for your preferred dates based
  6. Start decluttering your clothes, shoes, toys, furniture and general stuff
  7. Donate, trash or sell your unwanted items from the decluttering process
  8. Start to organize your essential paperwork: marriage certificate, birth certificate(s), educational records, taxes, military records, professional records, pet records
  9. Make your pre-PCS bucket list
  10. Confirm any health forms or other requirements needed for your move (OCONUS, EFMP)
  11. Confirm with EFMP your family’s eligibility to move to the new location

Two months (or less) before you move:

  1. Continue to declutter your home
  2. Continue to organize papers
  3. Confirm or schedule your packers/movers
  4. Begin to research homes, schools and jobs/volunteer opportunities at your next location
  5. Join social media groups and follow bloggers in your next location
  6. Schedule medical appointments for your family, pets included (OCONUS movers)
  7. Update prescription medication(s)
  8. Request your child’s academic records to review
  9. Request updated academic testing and educational plans for students with IEPs, 504 Plans and Gifted/Talented Plans

One month before you move:

  1. Confirm the movers/packers if you have not already
  2. Begin to plan your PCS travel: flying or driving; schedule flights, if any
  3. Research car shipping companies if needed
  4. Research pet shipping companies if needed
  5. Complete medical and educational records reviews, update anything as needed
  6. Inform your child’s school of your intended move date
  7. Confirm the date that indicates your child has completed an entire academic year
  8. Continue to research homes, schools and jobs/volunteer opportunities
  9. Continue to declutter your home and organize your belongings for packing
  10. Schedule time with your friends: lunch, brunch, dinner, exercise, activities, events
  11. Begin to destash your pantry
  12. Consider slowly working through your non-perishable staple foods and drinks
  13. Your spouse should begin the turnover process at work
  14. Your spouse should begin the check-out process at work
  15. Inform your landlord of your intention to move out following SCRA rules
  16. Consider any lodging needs you might have at your current location; book a hotel if needed
  17. Consider hiring a property manager to care for your home while you are living elsewhere
  18. Submit any area clearance paperwork (OCONUS)

Two weeks before you move:

  1. Schedule the walkthrough with the movers
  2. Schedule your pre-move out inspection with base housing or your landlord
  3. Confirm any damage and make an effort to repair, if possible
  4. Schedule your PCS cleaning, is desired
  5. Set up mail forwarding, if you know your next address
  6. Set up a mail hold if you do not know your address
  7. Consider withdrawing your student as early as two weeks before your move, however the decision to withdraw your child is personal and may depend on the exact policies at your school or district
  8. Request an unofficial copy of your child’s academic records, per FERPA
  9. Finalize or narrow down your potential housing area or school location(s)
  10. Consider contacting your child’s next school in order to begin the enrollment process, if possible
  11. Consider applying for jobs in your next location
  12. Consider applying for childcare or preschool in your next location
  13. Begin packing your home, separate items that you will be traveling with from items for the movers to pack; OCONUS movers should separate into several shipments
  14. Continue to spend time with friends and engaged in your normal routine
  15. Plan your farewell get together
  16. Continue to eat down your pantry items
  17. Work on your bucket list items
  18. Give notice at your job
  19. Continue the unit check out process
  20. Request to borrow household essentials from friends and neighbors, if needed, for after your pack out: Pack n’ Play, air mattress, bedding, vacuum, towels, cooking and eating tools

One week before you move:

  1. Organize and separate your essential must-have items for your personal travel: priority documents, clothes, toys, bedding or entertainment options
  2. Begin to pack your clothes and other items to your personal preference in advance of the movers
  3. Begin to destash your cleaning supplies and pantry items you know you won’t finish
  4. Host a going away party with your friends and neighbors
  5. Collect final records and letters of recommendation from your child’s school
  6. Finish your own work obligations
  7. Finalize any pet transport needs you have
  8. Consider finding child care and/or pet care on the day(s) of your actual pack out
  9. Complete the pre-move out inspection, if not already done
  10. Finish items from previous lists, especially holding or forwarding mail
  11. Continue to connect with the community at your next location
  12. Consider withdrawing your child from school
  13. Finalize the sale or rental of your personally owned residence
  14. If needed, begin to shop around to sell your personal vehicle or arrange for storage (OCONUS movers)

The day before you leave:

  1. Confirm your movers’ arrival time and schedule
  2. Check your household goods for correct staging and organization; organize by room, color code if desired
  3. Complete any last minute organization
  4. Remove any do not pack items from plain site; store in a room that is clearly marked
  5. Confirm your child or pet care plans, if any
  6. Consider withdrawing your child from school, at your discretion
  7. Pre-order or arrange any drinks or food you plan to offer the movers during your pack out
  8. Place toilet paper in one easily accesible toilet along with soap and an older hand towel
  9. Finalize any unit check out procedures and to-do items
  10. Sell or store your car if needed (OCONUS)
  11. Collect pet health certificate (OCONUS)

The day of your pack out:

  1. Bring your children and/or pets to their caregiver’s home
  2. Make sure you have the contact information for your base’s moving office
  3. Supervise the packing of your household goods
  4. Ensure that the do not pack items don’t get packed
  5. Check that trash isn’t packed
  6. Confirm the contents and labels on each box
  7. Check-in to a hotel, if any
  8. After the pack out, collect any household essentials that you have arranged to borrow before you actually leave your current location
  9. Enjoy dinner and relax

The day you roll out:

  1. Say “see you later” to friends and neighbors
  2. Pack all your do not pack items in your car
  3. Weigh your car if attempting to do a partial DITY
  4. Proceed with your travel as planned

How do you make sure everything gets done during your PCS moves? We’d love to get some tips!



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