Since military families move frequently, it’s important to create a plan of action that helps to make each permanent change of station (PCS) as simple as possible. With proper planning and focused attention to detail, you can minimize the anxiety that often accompanies this type of endeavor. A military move is generally more complicated than one that takes place in the private sector. Therefore, any steps you take to streamline the process can make a big difference in reducing the stress accompanying each hurdle of this activity. Here are a few tips to keep your military move as smooth as possible.

Contact Your Transportation Office

Begin the moving process by visiting your Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO) or your Transportation Office (TO) and ask lots of questions, particularly if this is your first move. Schedule your pick-up and move-in dates as early as you can to ensure that you get them. Of course, you will need to verify this information with the military moving company itself.

Choosing Your Moving Company

If you don’t care who is in charge of moving your possessions, you can allow the military to select your movers and arrange all of the details. If you prefer to do your own choosing, do some research into the military moving companies that you are considering. At least that way, you have some say into how your move takes place.

Create Check Lists

As soon as you get your orders, create check lists for all of the tasks that you need to accomplish. Start with a list that includes tasks that should be completed immediately. Continue making lists in two week increments until you get within one month of the move. At that point, your check lists should be in intervals of one week. For the final week, make a daily list of chores that need to get done.

Pad Your Time Allotments

Life never goes according to plan, so make sure that you add extra time to each task. If you finish up early, then you have time for some relaxation in between chores. If you don’t block out enough time, you are going to increase the amount of stress that you have to get through during your relocation.

Downsize and Sort

Making a move is kind of like ordering from a salad bar that charges by the pound. The more stuff you take, the more money you will have to pay. Take the time to sell or donate any items that you won’t need anymore. This might include clothing and shoes that the kids no longer fit into, items that you simply don’t use anymore, opened cleaners and detergents, and things that require special packing. Sort the rest of your remaining items according to the rooms that they will be used in and label the boxes accordingly.

Schedule Your Goodbyes

You should never leave your goodbyes to chance. Take the time to plan a casual get-together during which you can say goodbye to your friends.