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Military PCS (Permanent Change of Station Move) Moving Checklist

Updated on September 9, 2012

Six Weeks Prior to Move

  • Update Shot Records for you and family.
  • Obtain Passports if necessary.
  • Visit your Transportation Office to set up a move date and budgeting.
  • Call the Chamber Of Commerce and Visitors in your new town and get their new resident information packages. Learn up!
  • Tentatively pack the things you may forget or that you don't want the movers to touch. Think about how to transport these items yourself.
  • Set aside items that are going with you.
  • Gather and update personal records file and address book. While you are doing this, you should make a list of contacts that you want to send change of adress cards to once you get there. (Or even before if you're an over-achiemer!)
  • Remove all items from basement, storage sheds, and attics and plan a garage sale or charity donation for all items you don't want to move.
  • Start using things up that you can not move, like cleaning supplies and frozen food.
  • Curb your spending on frivolous items and groceries. You are only buying more things you will have to move!
  • Start saving money for unexpected expenses that arise during a move.
  • Make a list of all organizations you need to contact about your change of address.
  • Complete U.S. Postal Service change of address form. This can be done on the USPS website.
  • Get copies of (or arrange for transfer at both ends of move) all school, medical, dental, veterinary, legal, military and accounting records. Reminder: It may be best to hand carry medical records.
  • Contact insurance agents to transfer or cancel coverage.
  • Give written notice with your realtor or the housing office.
  • If you own a firearm, make sure the laws will allow you to take it overseas or across state lines if you plan on doing so.

Four Weeks Prior to Move

  • Contact all current and new location utility companies (gas, water, electric, cable TV, phone & trash collection) to set connect/disconnect dates. Remember to keep current utilities hooked up until at least one day after move day. Keep the phone numbers to both utility companies handy, incase you need to contact them for changes or payment arrangements.
  • Call the Housing office in your new home and inquire about the base housing list or housing assistance ("set aside" program) if you wish to live on base.
  • Make arrangements for relocation of pets.
  • If you are packing yourself, acquire packing materials/boxes and pack items you won't need for the next month. Good examples of things you will not use are books, photos, extra linens... and probably most of the things in your garage!
  • If a professional mover is packing your goods, schedule packing day(s) 1 or 2 days before your actual move. You will need time to get your house and affairs in order before leaving town.
  • If you plan on hiring a house cleaning service, call now for an estimate and appointment. Make the appointment for a time when the house will be empty, such as the day after move day. (Cleaning services will appreciate it if the water and elecricity are still on when they arrive to work. No one wants to clean in absence of the A/C or heat.)
  • Set an inspection date with your realtor or housing office. Schedule a time that you will be there to avoid being charged for nothing. In many cases, the military member must be present to set this appointment.
  • Be sure the sponsor makes arrangements for personal travel time during your move. You don't want to unpack alone, do you?
  • Find out how much money you will receive (up front) for your move, especially a DITY move. They will not pay everything up front; you must make arrangements to supplement the cost yourself.

Three Weeks Prior to Move

  • Make travel arrangements for moving trip, allow time for unexpected delays.
  • Collect all important papers into a small file box. It is easier to start this process early so that you will not forget something at the last minute.
  • Arrange to close all local bank accounts and open new ones in new location. Make sure that your money remains accessible during the move. Acquire travelers checks if necessary.
  • Make sure you have all serial numbers for electronics and other expensive items noted.

Two Weeks Prior to Move

  • Prepare auto(s) for trip to new home. Check your tires and have vehicles serviced. Make sure your drivers license, registration and insurance are up to date in case you get pulled over.
  • Even if your current state does not require a vehicle inspection, the next one may. Find out in advance if you will need one from your future state, you will not be allowed on base until your vehicle is legal in the state.
  • Terminate any services such as newspaper delivery or trash collection.
  • Give away house plants you do not intend to move.
  • Contact your TMO and confirm your arrangements.
  • Return library books and rented DVD's, pick up any dry cleaning, etc.
  • Make sure to settle any unpaid debts, such as traffic tickets.
  • Make a Video/Photo Journal of Personal Property. Have serial numbers and owners manuals for all big-ticket items on hand and in your personal file. It also helps to have an inventory of all DVD's, CD's and games. Have a copy on hand to be included with the mover's inventory.
  • Make sure to have Travel Request, Advance Pay, Travel Pay and DLA. These should be considered important papers and treated as such in your files.
  • Confirm that your home inspection date is in place.
  • Be sure to plan some fun on your trip. Maybe you can camp out while driving through the country, or visit Graceland while driving through Tennessee. Make early arrangements and you can turn your move into fun. You joined up to see the world, right? The biggest ball of twine is a part of the world!

1 Week Prior to Move

  • Pack lunches or arrange for food delivery on move day.
  • Verify Date with movers.
  • Send change of adress cards to family and friends, make sure that everyone knows that you are moving.
  • Make plans for a babysitter for small children on moving day, they only get in the way.
  • Make sure that everything is clean: grills, dishes, clothing, blender and microwave. You don't want to unpack dirty and messy things on the other end.
  • Separate cartons and luggage items you need for personal travel and all-important items. Put them in your vehicle to keep them safest from "accidental packing" by the pros.
  • Pack a box of items you will need immediately upon arrival at your new home, mark it accordingly and make sure you know where it is.
  • Have washer/dryer disconnected and prepared to be moved.
  • Fill prescriptions. Have 2-4 weeks worth of medication on hand for everyone in the family.
  • Do not disconnect your telephone until the day after loading.
  • If you have not yet done so, make kennel reservations for your pets.
  • Notify schools about your child or children's last day of attendance.
  • Make payment arrangements with the cleaning service.

Moving Day

  • Do not leave items that are to go with you into the house. Have the car packed with everything they are not to take before the movers arrive.
  • Discuss any and all concerns with the movers when they arrive. Be sure that they understand your instructions.
  • Do not leave the movers in your home alone. Plan on supervising them all day.
  • Stay with moving supervisor to oversee inventory of goods.
  • Make sure that nothing is disassembled that is not meant to be.
  • Make sure descriptions of major items are complete on the inventory (i.e.; "36 inch TV" rather than just "TV")
  • Review carefully and sign inventory. Keep your copy on file until all claims have been settled.
  • Keep all perishables, items not meant to be packed, food and trash out of the movers' way. You never know what they may put in a box.
  • Be sure that all cartons and loose items have a tag
  • Check the inventory list from time to time to make sure all cartons are marked and clearly identified.
  • Make sure boxes that contain electronics are clearly marked with a make/model and serial number
  • If the inventory is inaccurate or you disagree with what the carrier has written down, tell them, and write your message on the inventory
  • Do not sign anything until you have read it and agree with it.
  • Do not sign for services that have not been performed.
  • Make sure you get a copy of the inventory.
  • Make final walk-through of house with the movers. Including the basement, attic and closets. Make sure it's empty.
  • Lock all windows and doors, and drop off keys with Realtor, housing office, or cleaning service.
  • Make sure to pick up the kids from the sitter on the way out of town!

Moving Overseas

  • If you are going overseas, then things are more susceptible to break or get lost in the move. The government will pay to store items (during the tour) that you do not wish to risk, or think that you can live without. Antiques or Crystal are good examples of things not to take overseas. Make arrangements for this.
  • Attempt to learn a little bit of the local language and customs if you are going overseas.
  • Find out if you will need to acquire an international drivers license in order to drive in your new home (overseas)
  • Make shipping arrangements for your vehicles if you are going overseas. If you are not taking your vehicle, arrange for storage or a sale. Be sure and call your insurance company if your car will be stored, they can give you a discount on insurance.
  • Overseas: you must have certificate of health from your vet in both languages, dated no less than three days prior to leaving if you are bringing an animal.


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    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      This is fabulous work! Can't think of a base you haven't covered. Was going to refer you to my hub, Tis the season for military families to move. But you know what? I think your's is way better!