What I Wish I Knew Before My Last Move

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We are in PCS orders season but during unprecedented times. Move.mil, the government's hub for military moving information, states, "In many locations, DOD personnel must wait upwards of four to six weeks for available moving crews. Demand is similarly high for rental trucks and storage containers used by customers interested in a Personally Procured Move." Prior to this year, I thought moving couldn’t get more complicated, but moving during a global pandemic sure takes the cake!


Have you ever thought, “I wish someone would have told me this before I moved!!”? With each move my family has completed, we learn something new. We are currently preparing for our second DIY move in under a year (yes, we are crazy). I revisited some sage advice from fellow military spouses. I hope their tips help your family with your next move like they have helped mine!


7 Military Spouses Share their PCS Tips:

“Never drive across the country (including mountains) without checking the weather first! As we learned the science lesson of rain becomes snow! Also, make sure you pack for all season as a just in case! Otherwise when you HHG are delayed for 2 months due to your "sure thing house" you'll be buying yourself a new wardrobe. As snow gear does not work in May California…” -Elizabeth


“Moved from Whidbey to China Lake. 64 degrees when we left, 120 (no joke) when we arrived. I will check weather at new duty station from now on. Oh, and I will ask housing what they are going to do to the house before the next tenants move in this saving me hours of scrubbing walls when they will just paint them anyway”. - Brittanie


“I will never again leave my homemade cookies in a baggie on the counter. I will also never again do it while 8 months pregnant and alone. I'll make sure to have a friend or something to hang out with.” - Leslye


“I will never wait until the very last minute to do PCS cleaning. I will connect with the next duty station to find jobs/things to do/decent places to live about 60 days before we leave our last duty station.” - Fatimah


“Will never let them touch the motorcycle. They broke it.” -Christine


“Best advice I got was dryer sheets! Toss a few into boxes as they're packed... I went a step further and for all fabric items, I purchased (from the dollar store) wardrobe bags and covers and added dryer sheets to my clothing, towels, curtains, bedding, etc, placed them in the bag before they went in the boxes. Maybe a little overboard but my sheets smelled as clean as when they were packed 4 months prior. I'll be doing that again.” -  Gillian


“I always pack my crockpot and my Dutch oven in the car- so if we have a lot of time to wait before our shipment, we can still have homemade meals! I get so tired of eating out!”- Megan


Will you be moving soon? What do you wish someone would have told you before your last move? Share your advice below in the comments.


*Original Post Published August 2015, Updated June 2021.


Related stories:

14 PCS Tips from Veteran Military Spouses



NC 062021

Ivy 423
New Member

During our first move we made sure to have one box that stayed by our side the whole time. It was also the first box opened on move in day. What was in this box you ask? Toilet paper and soap! The last thing you need is to begin your move in day and then all of a sudden someone has to use the restroom, but can't find the toilet paper. It was very convenient to already have the bathroom ready as a large group of people entered our new home with boxes. 

Briana Hartzell USAA
@Ivy 423, That is an excellent idea! no one wants to be left stranded.... :) Thanks for the great reminder and for taking the time to comment. I look forward to more posts from you! Have a wonderful weekend!
Sue 73
New Member

When my husband was on active duty, we had 17 addresses in 24 years.  Best advice we ever received was to put everything NOT going on the moving van into one closet, tape the door shut and post a big DO NOT PACK sign. And yes one time they did pack up the kitchen garbage! 

Briana Hartzell USAA

@Sue 73 

17 addresses in 24 years! Remarkable.


I commend you and your family. We just moved and I pray we don't have to again for a very long time. Thanks for sharing, having a designated "do not pack" closet is a great idea!