Each PCS brings it’s own challenges, but one thing’s for sure, most families usually have too much stuff. Between weight limits for military movers, or the possibility of a smaller home or less storage, it’s always a good idea to downsize when preparing for a PCS.
Even if you’re planning to have another child, you don’t need to keep all the baby things. You should donate or sell anything your youngest has outgrown, especially a play mat, activity bouncer, high chair, or stroller. These are easy to replace at the next duty station.
On military bases, backyard items are often donated from one family to another, finding new homes on the same street. That’s because these heavy items are generally not worth their weight during a move. Considering selling a trampoline or play house. Get rid of that rusted firepit, old grill, or broken toys.
You probably have some unused dishes and gadgets in the kitchen but you may also own appliances you won’t need at your next house. Try to find out in advance where you will live, and whether you should bring a washer, dryer, or microwave.
Yes, a PCS is a good chance to update your own wardrobe by thinning out those skinny jeans that will never fit again or those large dresses from your post-baby body. Don’t forget to sell or donate the stockpiles of clothes that your children have outgrown. Unless you have some hand-me-downs that will fit your children in the next year, there’s no need to horde old children’s clothing.
Most kids don’t play with all their toys. And sometimes, there are toys that parents wish their kids would stop playing with! A PCS is an opportunity to be ruthless and take back your house. Maybe you can sneak some of those annoying musical toys into the donation pile, too.
Some furniture isn’t designed to be disassembled and moved. If it’s made of pressed wood, it can easily crack or split during the move. Fake leather can crack or peel when exposed to high temperatures in storage or transition. And that piece with the wobbly leg is just going to be worse at the next house. Lighten your load now to save money on the move.
Depending on the next duty station, you may not need beach chairs, sand toys, a lawnmower, or a leaf blower. You may not have a two-car garage either. Clean it out now to make the move easier.
Some records, like tax documents and medical paperwork, should be kept for years. But that stack of drawings from your preschooler is not essential. Select a few pieces for a child’s memory book, then clean out paper from school or old bills.
If you have items like a laptop, printer, computer screen, or shredder that no longer work, you need to dispose of them properly. Be sure to take SIM cards, hard drives, or personal data off a computer before recycling it.
Chemicals, paint, liquids like antifreeze or oil, and anything flammable or explosive cannot be packed by movers. You will need to research local disposal laws to understand how to properly get rid of these items. Do not simply throw them in the trash or down a storm drain!
This should give you some ideas on where to begin your cleaning you prepare for a PCS. But you know what you can keep? That box of curtains. Because you never know which ones will work in the next house!