Do an inventory of your pantry… months in advance
I was so focused on purging clothes and other household items, I completely overlooked our pantry. If I could go back in time, I would have done an inventory three, maybe even six months in advance. Also limit your Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ runs. Do I really need that Costco-sized bag of almond flour? Do I need 12 cans of crushed tomatoes? Will we use that half gallon jug of maple syrup? If you do have an exccess of something and need to use it, look up recipes and try to clean out your pantry slowly as your PCS gets closer.
Plan for childcare on pack and move-out days
This was my first PCS with a child, and a toddler nonetheless. I made childcare arrangements for pack-out day, but unfortunately they fell through. Thankfully my in-laws were in town and helped out for a few hours. My husband was able to help on move-out day, but we all know boat schedules change and you just can’t be guaranteed anything. If you absolutely can’t get childcare, talk to your packers and ask them to pack your child’s room first. They were done with my son’s nursery in a matter of minutes, so I was able to put him down for his usual naptime.
Talk to your packers and outline your concerns, “do not pack areas”
After reading so many PCS horror stories – i.e. packers boxing up trash, dirty laundry or do-not-pack items – I was nervous. When they arrived and we did an initial walkthrough, I voiced some of my concerns and pointed out our “do not pack” areas. They were so friendly and understanding, I was relieved they followed through. It’s very awkward to watch people pack up your home, but kindness goes a long way.
Remember – packers cannot take anything apart or off the wall
I made a point to unplug electronics and remove artwork and picture frames, but I forgot about less obvious things like my husband’s wooden hat holder in the garage. I didn’t realize this until after they packed up our toolbox. Thankfully they had a screwdriver and I was able to unhook my husband’s hat. Remember that packers cannot take anything apart, that’s what the movers do (i.e. cribs, bookshelves).
Remember – packers cannot take liquids of any kind
I feel like this differs from company to company (previous PCS moves we were able to), but this time around our packers could not take any liquids or medicines, even unopened toothpaste or tolietries! Similar to your pantry, do an audit of your bathrooms and limit any bulk purchases in the months leading up to your PCS. I was so sad some bath bombs ended up in the trash.
Don’t overlook the pack-out inspection
This was my biggest mistake. By the time my packers were finished, I was without childcare and quite frankly couldn’t wait for them to get out the door. I felt rushed and even though we walked through room-by-room, I missed so many random items: three clear plastic storage bins under our bed, a serving tray on top of our cabinets, an extension piece to our vaccum cleaner, the removable tray to my son’s high chair. No matter what, always do the inspection slowly and go from ceiling to floor in every single room. Check every single closet, drawer, cabinet and corner. Otherwise you’ll end up like us, throwing random household items in your car.
What PCS lessons have you learned the hard way Comment below!