We are currently in the beginning of the busiest time for moving. Since my spouse will be issued new orders in the fall, I have begun to think about all of the organization (and purging) that will need to be done in order to have a successful move. Additionally, we have been living in one place for three years; I am starting to get the PCS itch! Here are my recommendations to prepare your home office for a move (tips for the kitchen can be found here):
1-3 Months Prior
Start getting copies of records. I recommend starting this process sooner than later. This will take longer than you think it needs to; give yourself PLENTY of time because you will inevitably have some issues with this process. Ensure you get copies of any necessary school records, medical records, your pets veterinary records and anything you can think of you may need a copy of (can never hurt to have a copy of something and never use it, better safe than sorry).
Along with your important copies, you should go through some of the other documents you have and get them organized for your move. Instead of leaving your papers in the filing cabinet (where they could get opened and lost during the move) I recommend purchasing file boxes for transporting file folders, paperwork and other loose documents.
During a move, you should always have your significant documents packed with you and NOT with the movers. I suggest while you are organizing these items, you prepare an important document binder. It should include the following items:
• Insurance and banking documents
• Savings bonds*
• Stock certificates*
• Vehicle and Property Titles*
• Marriage License
• Copy of your home inventory
• Children's school records
• Birth certificates*
• Social security cards*
• Copy of your drivers license and military identification
• Power of attorney
• Medical records
• Pet documents: immunization records, medical history
*while not PCS-ing I recommend these items be kept in a safety deposit box
Back up everything on your computers to an external hard drive and make sure this goes in the “do not pack area”. I recommend also keeping the hard drive with you during the move.
Take everything off the walls, and place them in an area with other “breakable” items. I like to have all of the art and frames in once place when the movers arrive so I can cordially request extra care be taken with the items in a certain area.
Remove the ink and toner from your printer (store in plastic bags).
Store and wrap cords (individually bagging and labeling helps when unpacking) I like to label where I have unplugged the cords from (i.e. “Printer Cord plugged into second port on bottom right”) so I will know where to plug them back in when I am setting everything back up.
Separate your non replaceable sentimental items (wedding photo album, diplomas, keepsakes, etc.) from the rest of your office goods and consider placing them in your “Do not pack” area. If you have room I recommend moving these items yourself. I would be very upset if something happened to them.
Similar to the kitchen, you can bag the contents of each desk drawer to make for an easier unpacking without all of the reorganization.
The weight of professional books, papers and equipment does not count against the total weight of your shipment. Before signing your inventory prepared by the movers, be sure these items are listed as “PBP&E/Pro Gear” and not as “books” or miscellaneous”. The proper designation of these items and the exclusion of the weight can be very important. The rules regarding the weight limits for professional books, papers and equipment has changed May 1, 2014. For full guidance and details see page 9 of this document.
Finally, I like to take digital photos of my significant and valuable items before a move (including serial numbers and make and model of all of your office equipment) in the chance something gets damaged. What have I missed regarding preparing your home office for a move? Please share your tips and experiences in the comments!