Even with a great support system, a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) can be quite stressful for military families. While the Transportation Management Office should help you with some of the logistics, you can make this process much easier on your family if you do a little bit of planning yourself.

TMO or DITY Move?

The first question you will have to ask yourself is if you would like the Transportation Management Office to take care of the move or you are interested in a Do-It-Yourself Move. If you plan on taking care of the move yourself, then you will have to initially pay for some of the expenses. This may include moving companies, such as Wheaton World Wide Moving, and the hotels that you may need to use in the process. You will be reimbursed for most of those expenses, but you must be able to cover the costs upfront. While you might have to do more of the work yourself, a DITY Move gives you much more flexibility on your dates.

Have Your Moving Binder Ready

During the move, you should have a binder of your family’s important documents with you at all times. That includes your military IDs, civilian IDs, birth certificates, mortgage documents, and immunization records for your children’s school. The binder should also have some of your moving information such as hotel reservations and receipts for gas. Without that information, it will be nearly impossible to get reimbursed for your move.

Take Photos of Everything

Even if you spend a lot of time planning and organizing your move, mistakes can happen. If you end up filing a claim with the TMO, then you will need to have some sort of evidence. They might take your word on smaller items, but you should have photographs of your expensive belongings—such as computers, TVs, video game consoles, power tools and other such things that cost you at least $100 and, of course, anything that you have a warranty on. Snapping a few pictures with your phone or digital camera could save you from quite a few difficulties later on. However, just make sure to upload the pictures onto the cloud or any other online form so that you don’t lose them. These pictures should be taken before you pack anything away and at multiple angles and in the best resolution that you can get, which can also help in the case that a police report is ever necessary so that your belongings can be found if they end up stolen somehow.

Research What You Can and Can’t Move

Each base has very specific rules on what can be moved and what must stay. In most areas, liquids and chemicals should never be transported. That includes your laundry detergent, fabric softener, old water jugs, paint cans, and toiletries. Instead of throwing those items away, you should ask some of the nearby families if they would like to go through them and pick out what they need. Giving away a few household products is an excellent way to show your thanks if any of your friends or neighbors helped with packing or loading.

Moving is a part of the lifestyle, and it is important for all military families to know some tips and tricks that will make their PCSs go as smoothly as possible.