Three very powerful words that can be good news or dreaded news for a military family. It’s time to PCS….again.

You have to admit. Most of the time, You were ready. Not that you didn’t enjoy where u were but after about 18 months in any given location, You would start to get “the itch.” You start looking around the house, and you feel the urge to start purging. You begin to get weary of the wall color or that fireplace you fell in love with a mere year and a half ago. It’s time to make a change. It’s time to go.

Despite wanting to move on to new adventures, You never look forward to the downside of PCSing: looking for new schools, looking to buy a house at the height of a seller’s market, carefully organizing each room before the packers arrive only to have the garden hose packed in the same box as my wedding dress. (true story) And to top it off, there is always the damage and lost items at the back end of a PCS to look forward to.

It’s nerve-wracking! And there’s no way around it once those military orders come through. But there are some things you can do to make it a bit easier before the boxes are packed.


In fact, I recommend purging even if you are stuck in PCS Limbo. It will give you a sense of accomplishment to clean out the old. This is usually my first task. Lightening the load gives a little psychological boost, and we can all use it whether we are looking forward to the move or not.

If you are a renter, give your notice as early as possible. Check your lease agreement regarding military release clauses. Be aware of what you are responsible for and stand your ground if they try to charge you for normal wear and tear. Our townhouse management company once tried to charge us for new carpeting. The carpeting when we moved in was several years old and in terrible shape. I also knew they had begun replacing the carpeting in all the units and that ours was due to be replaced in the next few months, so there was no way we were going to pay for it.

If you own your home, the decision needs to be made if you will sell or rent. Both scenarios have their own “to do” lists so the earlier the decision, the better.


Don’t assume these vital documents will make their way to your new school. As soon as you know what schools your children will be attending, let your old school know and confirm that the records were sent. It may take several phone calls, and if there is a snag, it’s often easier taken care of in person before you move.


Ditto for these records too. If you are moving from one Military Treatment Facility (MTF) to another, you don’t have to worry about medical records as everything is digital these days. But if you are moving from a non-MTF to an MTF or vice versa, you will want to request copies of your records to hand deliver. You will also want to include records from any outside specialty care.


I know this seems like a no-brainer, but it is surprising how many people don’t take the time to “plan their move.” Once you have your pack out dates, think about the transition. The move was early enough in the summer that it left plenty of time to unpack on our return and get the kids ready for school.


PCSing can be draining. Issues pop up. Things rarely go as planned. But once you know where the military is sending you and you’ve checked out your housing options. Make the time to have lunch with friends. Let the kids have those “last” sleepovers. Even if you end up going back to this duty station, it won’t be the same. So savor what you have enjoyed about it and let go of anything that you didn’t like.

As much as PCSing can seem like a burden, and you dread being at the mercy of those military orders, it offers us an opportunity for new adventures, new friendships, and new chapters in our personal story. Use these tips to help you get a good start on your upcoming PCS.


Call or Email Cristina Alexander for an Investment property analysis and consultation.
NEXTHOME Arctic Sun, Fairbanks, Alaska 907 987-6897
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