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{June 13, 2016}   Military Spouse: PCS Packing

It seems like just yesterday, I was moving 6,000 miles from home to with my hubby in a foreign land. And now here we go again… Tis the military wife life. The first time, hubby and I were moving from two separate locations, so this is our first office PCS together. I’m excited yet daunted. Per everything military nothing is happening on time and yet our deadlines are quickly approaching. We are a month out and no official orders, what this means in terms of moving is that no movers can be scheduled, no housing can be arranged, no plane tickets can be secured, no storage drop of dates can be planned. So in the mean time, I will organize my house so that no junk is moved back across the world. Welcome to my PCS packing….

Packing System

  1. Massive Shredding Project – I am working my way through all of my files to shred repetitive and unnecessary documents. I’m throwing out old bills, junk mail, and anything that I won’t need for taxes in the future. This graphic from H&R Block is my guide right now.
  2. Military Files – My husband has nearly two decades of documents. I quickly learned that me asking him to pare it down was not working (he’s been planning on doing it since September). Instead I went through them in sessions and left piles labeled by topics across the living room floor. One, my husband doesn’t like a mess so piles of paper across the floor had to be dealt with. Second, my husband doesn’t like his military documents out in the open, much less on the floor. For about three evenings he came home and sorted and shredded his papers. Each evening he came home a new set of piles was waiting. It was tedious on my part, but I am determined not to move back to the states with the same cluttered boxes of paper he came with.
  3. Filing System – In the midst of the shredding project and any paperwork save by my husband I revamped our filing system by buying portable filing cabinets, colored files and using a filing system designed just for us.
  4. Memories & Art – While I’m at it I am organizing postcards, stickers, magazine cutouts, and digital pictures that represent our time here. I am trying to make a memory book for each year to journal our life together. I also am keeping memory boxes for those sentimental things that just can’t be scanned and uploaded.
  5. Small electronics – Items such as our roku, apple tv, gps, etc. we will need before our home goods shipment arrives so I didn’t want the movers to pack them. I used an old box to store them until I packed them our suitcases, so they were in one spot. Then I used quart and gallon size plastic sandwich bags to keep all cords, remotes, and gadgets together. I labeled each bag. If we still had the box I put them inside the boxes. I also labeled all the remotes and cords so that if they were separated I knew instantly which gadget the item belonged to.
  6. Clothes-  Today I removed all of the clothes from my side of the closet. I separated them into summer, winter, workout, and other. Then I divide my summer and winter clothes into casual and professional. From there I reviewed each item for holes, wear and tear, and general unpresentable features. I then made a pile on the floor of everything that was going to good will. Everything else I organized and put back in my closet. Summer clothes in one section to be pack in the carry on (it will take home goods about 2 months to get to us so I need all my clothes for the season). Winter clothes were place in another section to be bagged and prepared for TMO to pick up.  I then marked on a Goodwill tax form everything I was donating. Now my tax form is already prepared and my closet is cleaned out. And I have an accurate record of what I donated.  I did the same with workout clothes and later hubby’s clothes.
  1. Shoes –  Anything worn or damaged went into the donate pile and then was recorded on the Goodwill tax form. Anything with a shoe that was a duplicate or too similar in style and color also went into the donate pile.
  2. Kitchen- I separated unopened or gently used dry goods and spices to be donated to a local ministry that feeds a large number of people regularly. I also developed my dinner menus to reflect the perishable goods in my fridge and freezer about a month ahead of time. Anything leftover I also set aside to be donated. Then I decided on a few pots, pans, and dinnerware to keep aside, just in case our household goods weren’t delivered for a few weeks. I don’t want to be in a position where I have to buy everything because we are without kitchen supplies for several weeks. Also when we packed our suitcases I designated one just for household supplies we would need such as: kitchen supplies, a bathroom supplies, two sets of towels for each of us, computers and electronics we would want right away (roku, dvd player, extension cords).
  3. Bathroom- About a month in advance I stopped buying large amounts of my favorite items. Then we switched to the large supply of hotel shampoos, lotions, and soaps, I have collected over time. I also put them in our travel toiletry bags and made an airport toiletry bag since we spend about 15 hours in route from South Korea. In the checked household suitcase I put anything I thought we would need for a few weeks. I only added it if we already had it, this was to avoid throwing it out. Things like toilet paper I didn’t pack, its easy to get that. But special hair products (since we are moving to a rural area), skin care products, towels, sheets, a blanket, and a couple pillows.
  4. Vacation- Because we are taking our vacation on our way to our new base (this is called leave-in-route) we packed a separate bag just for the trip so the other larger bags don’t have to be riffled through while we are traveling. We are landing in Seattle and then leaving most of our bags with my parents. Then we are traveling to New York for our vacation. We will return to spend sometime with family, reusing our vacation clothes and the collect our car which my parents have graciously stored for us and finish our move to our new base.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of how to do a OCONUS to CONUS move, but these are the specific highlights of what we did in the packing process to make it easier for ourselves. I hope it helps.I have all of the resources I used for this move here: https://www.pinterest.com/carynragin/pcs-to-conus/

 

 

 

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