How to Do a Pre PCS Purge

Preparing for a military move? Start your next duty station with a lighter, cleaner space by clearing the clutter before you move.

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The military spouse version of "spring cleaning" comes before a PCS. Spring came and went, and I did not touch a dusting cloth, organize any closets, nor contemplate moving the refrigerator to see what horrors lie beneath. I know too soon this will be a requirement when we get our next orders and are preparing for a military move. Moving is a great time to get organized and purge your home of items you no longer want or need. I like to go through each room, creating piles: keep, donate/sell or trash. This process also allows me to separate our belongings into organized sections for the movers. 


Kitchen: Bag all open items or items that can spill. For example, place your spices in gallon zip top bags, same with flour, sugar and rice. Use this time to check expiration dates and get rid of any canned goods, boxed items, and spices that are past their fresh date. No need to pack things that will just get thrown out when you move into your new home! If there are canned items you know you will not use, donate them to a local food bank. 


Children's rooms: To encourage children to part with some of their items, make a game of it. Visit the shelter or place you plan to donate and explain how this could help someone else's child get a new toy, etc. Encourage them to help with a yard sale and give them their own earnings. 


Office: Begin by going through all of your desk drawers and file cabinets to ensure your sensitive and important documents are placed in a transportable file folder and kept with you. Throw unimportant papers and receipts away. Give old magazines and books you do not plan to read again to a library, sell them to a used bookstore or donate them. 


Closets: If you have not worn an item in a calendar year, it needs to go. You do not need to hang onto those legwarmers from the last '80s themed party you attended. I admit, I am guilty of hanging on to clothes that are a bit too small, hoping someday I will fit into them again. Don't be like me, get rid of these items! If you lose weight in the future, FANTASTIC, but chances are you will have forgotten about those skinny jeans you had been hanging on to and buy the newest style anyway! 


Bathrooms: Separate liquids and cleaning supplies away from the other bathroom items. If you are doing a military-procured move, liquids are normally banned from being packed with your household goods, but it is better to have these items separated to ensure they are not accidentally added to a box. I learned that the hard way when a bottle of shoe polish exploded all over our bath towels. 


At your next destination, remember the challenges of your previous move and attempt to stay organized and not collect unnecessary items for the next move.


Share with the Community: How do you prepare your home for a military move or a do-it-yourself move (DITY or PPM)?