Military families are no stranger to transitions and making the best out of tough situations. Make sure you don't make these common PCS mistakes.Military families are no stranger to transitions and making the best out of tough situations. Make sure you don't make these common PCS mistakes.Moving Tips

Avoid these 7 Common PCS Military Mistakes

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Military families are no stranger to transitions and making the best out of tough situations. Moving to a new station is a big event that often involves stress, but you can make this process easier by avoiding common problems. Being proactive and prepared for any situation will steer you on a path toward a streamlined relocation.

If you’re a military family, chances are this is not your first move. You are used to establishing your home at a new place after leaving an old station behind. However, practice makes perfect and each move can get easier by taking additional steps to anticipate potential problems. Here is how to avoid these common Permanent Change of Station (PCS) military move mistakes.

Do Not Go Over Your Weight Allowances

Every military family gets some amount of moving allowance. This cuts the cost of moving considerably compared to civilian moving, which can cost over a thousand dollars. You will get a certain allowance based on your rank and number of dependents. This determines the maximum weight of household goods that the military will pay for. Any overages above the approved weight will not be covered, which means you will have to pay for it.

Be careful to stay within your weight allowance by keeping track of how much your items weigh. Get a rough estimate of your furniture from its product descriptions (much of this information is available from the manufacturer). Every time you box up items, weigh them on a scale. Record these numbers so that you can add them up later and make sure you are within the limit.

If you find that some items are too heavy to take with you, then make some money by selling them or donate them to a good cause. Either option will save you money compared to being charged moving overages. The earlier you start this process, the more organized you will be.

Don’t Lose Important Documents

If you cannot risk repairing or replacing it, then take it with you. Important documents like birth certificates, social security cards, car titles, and marriage certificates are hard to replace. Do not risk packing these away in the moving van. Instead, keep these important documents in your vehicle and in fire-proof document packages. The same principle applies to any heirloom that is impossible to replace. If you know it would be hard to find a duplicate or impossible to ever replace the item, keep it in the safest place — near you — at all times.

Do Not be Without the Essentials

Have you ever forgotten your toothbrush or a change of clothes during a trip? This is inconvenient, to say the least. When moving, sometimes small, essential items fall through the cracks. On moving day, pack a small suitcase with some changes of clothing, travel toiletries, and all your must-have self-care items.

Whether you have a several-day trip or just an overnight stay at a hotel between you and your new home, it’s important to have all your essentials on your person. Also, when you arrive at your new home, the majority of your belongings will still be on the moving truck. Your suitcase of must-haves will be something you can count on while everything is changing around you.

Do Your Own Research on the Place you are Moving to

Websites like Neighborhood Scout, Best Places, and Nextdoor are excellent resources to find first-hand accounts and data about the place you’re moving to. Do not just rely on rumors from people you know but get the statistics and information you need to feel comfortable about the move.

With Google street view, you can also take a virtual tour through your new town or city without even going there. Look up what’s good in the area — such as restaurants, childcare, and other hotspots that locals enjoy. Also, learn what places are troublesome and to be avoided. With this insider information, you can feel fully informed about your future move.

Don’t be Unprepared for a Damage Claim

Unfortunately, moving companies can damage even the most delicately packed equipment and furniture. Scratches, dents, and cracked glass can happen to some of your favorite pieces. Thankfully, in a military move, you can be compensated for all qualifying items at its “Full Replacement/Repair Value (FRV)”.

To be prepared for a damage claim, you need to have proof of the damaged or lost item’s value. A receipt of your furniture or some kind of documentation about an item’s value is vital to prove the material cost of this asset. With this information, your transportation service provider can offer you the same or similar item or reimburse you for the costs of repairing the item.

Keep Original Boxes for Larger Items

Original boxes are made just for your delicate items like TVs, computers, tablets, and more. By storing them in these boxes for the move, they will be able to travel well without shifting around in a container that was not made for them. For the best results, use any cardboard or Styrofoam inserts that kept the items stable.

Prep for the Worst In Case of a Rough Move

Sometimes, the worst can happen. But even if it doesn’t, it is nice to know that you were prepared. For instance, pack a first-aid kit and a few bottles of water in your car in case there is an emergency. Bring simple car repair items like extra oil, a spare tire, and flares for a long drive.

Bring enough charged battery packs for electronics to last the ride so that kids don’t get bored during the move. Keep cash with you in case you go to a place without the ability to charge credit cards. Though many of these extreme situations won't’ happen, it’s good to know that during your move that you’re prepared for anything.

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