5 PCS Tips: Moving Advice and Planning For Your First Navy Move
by Heather Goffrier
I’d moved a lot of times in my life before I met my husband. Mostly it was loading up my own car with box after box, trip after trip. I’d never moved Navy-style. After getting married in San Diego, we were set to move the very next week to Newport, Rhode Island. That first move was very “educational” and I learned 5 PCS tips that I hope can save you some trouble.
PCS Tips 1-3: Before the Move
1- Be Prepared for the Stress and Exertion
The energy it takes to move can be a challenge, even if you’re not physically lifting anything. You may feel excited, apprehensive, or even scared about moving, which can be draining. Not to mention the logistics, details, and little delays that make your head spin.
All you can do is be as prepared as possible. Plan ahead about where your meals and snacks are coming from and make sure you get a good meal to start the day. Decide ahead of time if you’re buying lunch for the movers (or wait and see how hard they work). And know the process will probably take longer than you think.
In our first move, we had three locations to move from– Adam’s rental house, my apartment, and two storage units in one building. It was weird having someone else pack us out. I remember sitting at the storage unit most of the day, exhausted, watching them pack our stuff and thinking, “I’ve never been so tired from doing nothing!”
2- Expect the Unexpected
Something weird is bound to happen. It’s almost like Murphy’s Law. You just have to know that things happen and face them with a positive, resourceful attitude.
In San Diego after our wedding, we had our first random event. We had moved out of our two apartments and were staying in the BOQ (Bachelor Officer Quarters- basic hotel/apartment room). A huge storm came through and blew over a lot of trees. In fact, it blew over a huge tree that happened to fall right onto the room we were staying in.
No one was hurt, but due to the tree falling, the cold water in the building was turned off. That may not seem like a big problem. But it’s kind of impossible to shower in scalding hot water. Not to mention washing our hands or any other use of water!
Not being able to clean up after a day of packing and moving was a pain. We took it in stride but it was just one more stressful thing during a very hectic time. I learned quickly that these things happen. You might as well have a laugh about it and don’t let it bother you too much.
3- When Shipping A Car, Don’t Be Fooled
Since we were driving cross-country, we decided to ship one car and drive Adam’s truck. I know many people do the same. However, we had a bit of a problem with our shipping company.
When we chose our company, we picked one with 5 stars and great reviews. What we didn’t realize was that great companies sometimes sub-contract with not-so-great companies. Our car was driven an extra 40 miles, and arrived on the truck in terrible shape. The engine was really messed up too.
It was a sporty red car, but that doesn’t give them the right to drive it and damage it! We ended up getting some of our money back, but not all of it. So we learned our lesson the hard way. Do your research, document everything, and make sure you know who is shipping your vehicle.
PCS Tips 4-5: During the Move
4- Keep your Special Stuff Close– Like Really Close
Sometimes a moving company loses an item or two. Sometimes items arrive damaged. It’s unfortunate and it happens. But you can prevent some of this by taking your most precious and valuable stuff with you on your trip.
That’s what we did. We had a nice little box of some very cool and special things, including our wedding guest book. It was in our truck with our suitcases and other random belongings that rode with us.
The only problem was, once we arrived in Rhode Island, we couldn’t find the box.
You know, the box with all the special stuff that we didn’t send with the movers to make sure it got there. Ya that one.
We lost it.
Somewhere along the way, we must have taken it out to get at a suitcase, and promptly left it at a rest stop or hotel parking lot. Either that, or someday we’ll be going through old boxes and yell out in disbelief that we had it all along.
So if you do set aside a special box or bag, make sure it actually stays with you! Oh the joys of military moving. =)
5- Be Flexible and Hold Your Plans Loosely
On our road trip across country, we planned a special stop to watch a University of Kansas Jayhawks basketball game. I played and coached basketball for a long time, and the Jayhawks are one of my favorite teams. We got lucky with some connections and got tickets right during our trip east.
After a night in Vegas, we hit I-40 and planned to make a stop in New Mexico. The next two nights were in Oklahoma with some of my family, and then the big game was the next night.
Soon after getting onto I-40, we hit a roadblock. The highway was closed all the way through the mountains, and we’d have to go around. Going around meant driving all the way south to Tucson and then around the mountains. This added a whole day to our trip! Talk about a drag!
It was a bummer because we had to rearrange plans to visit with family in Oklahoma and cut our time short. However, we stayed positive and adjusted our plan. We bunked that night at Davis-Monthan AFB, which was neat because we got to see the Boneyard. The Boneyard is a huge field where they send broken and retired aircraft– it’s pretty amazing to see.
Even with the detour, we were able to get to the game in Kansas after all. Adam’s aunt and uncle live in Lawrence, and they treated us to a tour of campus and gave us a ride to the game. We had a blast.
Staying positive and adjusting to all that came at us made our cross-country move a fond memory for the most part. The rest are just PCS tips now– lessons that I’ll remember for our future moves. =)