A PCS is different for everyone, every time... But, here's MY guide to packing, prepping and PCSing a wife, husband and puppy. Note: PCS stands for "permanent change of station"
First ... I started cleaning my house about a week beforehand. I didn't want one giant deep clean to be happening the day we had to move out. Ain't nobody got time fo dat ;) I pretty much cleaned our bathrooms and kitchen really well. I scrubbed our toilets, tub, microwave, counters, oven and did a once over wiping of our freezer and fridge.
Second, I wrote sticky notes for under the kitchen sink, our front hall closet and a corner of our guest bedroom that said "PLEASE DO NOT PACK". The movers pack everything and if you're not watching, everything goes and you can't be a million places at once while they're doing the actual packing. I've heard of movers packing the garbage can with a garbage bag full inside it! Now, remember that your packers and movers come to get everything ready... so the things you are taking with you have to be set aside for them not to pack ahead of time. THESE sticky note places, are the places I put all the "do not pack" things.
Under the sink had all our cleaning supplies I would need for cleaning the Twentynine house before moving out, but after all our stuff was gone. (stuff we had to take with us anyways - movers won't take liquids or cleaners or anything OPEN in the pantry ... And I'm too cheap to re-buy it all)
Front hall closet had some of Jeff's uniforms that he had needed to wear in the last few days (think graduation and the last few days of school), shoes we were taking with us .. and the sweatshirts/jackets we were taking with us.. And any random crap we found that wasn't being packed on packing day.
Guest room had everything else. See lists below.
A complete side note, but worthy of mentioning is that a month before you know you are moving: stop replacing much food. We ran out of ketchup about a week before we left, normally I would have one ready on hand when it was getting low ... I didn't buy a new one. Ran out of lemon juice, didn't replace it. Things like that, if that makes sense?
The day and night before the movers came, I washed as much stuff as I possibly could to make sure I would have mostly clean stuff. Remember: they were taking my washer and dryer the next day .. and I wouldn't see them again for two weeks at LEAST.
For us, we drove from Twentynine Palms to Camp Lejeune. We were also driving my husbands truck and towing my car = more room to pack stuff. I packed in three stages and this was key for me. Breaking everything down like this made more sense to me.
1. Things that we needed packed WITH US but not for the roadtrip:
This means things we would need right away in our new house. If you use Pinterest, search "First day box" for a list of things to take with you. You won't be sorry!
To make my list for this I went through our existing house room by room and made a list for each.
- ALL Jeff's uniforms and gear
- Air mattress (invest in a nice one off the floor, ours even has a headboard so your pillows don't fly off the bed in the middle of the night!)
- Bedding & pillows
- Bath towels + 2 hand towels
- Bathing necessities
- Blow dryer (can't live without mine)
- Curling iron (incase I got a job interview the second we got here .. HA,what a joke)
- Tooth brushes + toothpaste
- Shower curtain + liner
Kitchen: (don't think I'm crazy, but we eat in A LOT. Its healthier and MUCH more affordable .. buckle up for this list)
- Knife block
- Cutting board
- Frying pan
- Cookie sheet
- Casserole dish
- Large mixing bowl
- One SET of measuring cups + spoons
- Two place settings (2 bowls, 2 plates, 2 salad plates, 2 mugs)
- Silverware (2 knives, 2 forks, 4 spoons)
- Four water glasses
- One mixing spoon
- One spatula
- One flipper
- Wine opener
- A few Rubbermaid with lids
- To go coffee cups
- Cleaning Supplies mentioned above
- Broom + mop*
- Dish soap + dish detergent
- Garbage can + bags
- Paper towel
- Ice bin + trays
- Dish towels
Go ahead and ask me if I needed all that. The answer is ..well I'll star all the things that we HADN'T used ... only two after being without our things for two weeks.
Things I wish I had brought: veggie peeler and seasonings. My truck driver actually said at the last minute he would take my Rubbermaid full of our pantry items because of the way I packed it :) So I didnt actually have my seasonings and I'm too cheap to buy more when mine would be here in a few days.
- Laundry detergent + dryer sheets
- Laptop and charger
- TV + remove
- Hand held vacuum and charger
- ALL IMPORTANT PAPERWORK
- Playing cards
- Gift cards
- Cash monayyyyy
- Dog towel ... he's always into something.
It sounds like a lot, and it is .. I know that. Some people won't need all this and some people will go to the loan locker to borrow most of these things. I want my own things and I could do it, so I made it happen.
(**The Loan Locker is an amazing resource and I highly recommend that you check it out at your new duty station. They have whole kits of things to borrow with dishes and all sorts of kitchen things you'll need while you wait for your shipment as well as things you'll need for a baby)
The second "STAGE" of packing was ....
2. Things we needed for the road trip itself:
- Changes of clothes
- Slippers for the car
- Chargers for our phones and iPad
- Dog bowls, food, treats, leash crate and blanket
- Human snacks :) haha... from the commissary before we left (Let me tell you that a $3 case of water, $2 box of Ritz Bits, some apples and $3 beef jerky was all MUCH cheaper at the commissary than on the road. Beef jerky was over $7 some gas stations. Same package!!)
Pro Tip: We had one bag for Jeff, one bag for me and one bag for the pup (plus a dog crate) for when we stopped at the hotels at night. It was much easier this way. These things also need to be packed into the vehicle you are taking with you LAST so they are accessible.
3. Things that could be packed by the movers:
This was easiest because it was alllllllll the left overs. Easy, peasy.
After the movers and boxes left I finished packing and (Jeff) loaded the car and truck.
Pro TIP: ALWAYS leave a couple bags / boxes out for last minute items that somehow didn't get packed with the movers or didn't get packed with your necessity things.
Then I finished cleaning the house. Things like sweeping and mopping the floor, vacuuming the carpets, packing the cooler with the little bit of food we had left, cleaning the fridge and freezer, double checking the microwave, picking up the last of the dog poop in our outdoor area .. things like that. They packed my kitchen first and I cleaned that as they were packing in the other rooms and I felt weird not doing anything. So that was done too!
Then sit on the floor with your dog, because it's the last time you'll be in this house ... he needs some love ... and you just plain ole need to SIT... and then your roadtrip begins ;)