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PCS Time: How Checklists Can Save Your Sanity!

Mitzi C. Graham June 17, 2015 2

Dealing with Military PCS

A permanent change of station (PCS) could bring feelings of panic and anxiety. With careful planning, this event can open up a whole new world of possibilities for you and your loved ones. Here are some tips to help you get through your PCS smoothly.

PCS Time: An Overview

If you haven’t noticed yet, the military is big on using acronyms for many of their recurring activities. PCS is an acronym for Permanent Change of Station which can be the start of an exciting new chapter in your life. It also means, however, that you have a big job ahead of you. There are many items that need to be taken care of to make your PCS time a success.

PCS Time Table

When you arrive at a duty station, there is an understanding that you will be there for a certain length of time. This time frame can vary depending on a host of factors, including — but not limited to— the branch of the military you or your spouse is in, the locale that you are stationed at and the needs of the military. In some cases, families have remained at a duty station far longer or even shorter than anticipated.

Preparing for PCS Time

Moving your entire household can seem like a daunting task, but making a military PCS checklist can help organize your move. It is helpful to have a planner or a large color-coded calendar that highlights the dates of your PCS events. A PCS checklist in a dedicated notebook or a list in your mobile phone or computer can also help you remember the things that you will need for the move.

Regardless of the particular system you use, the following items should have a place on your PCS checklist:

  • Meet with the government office in charge of relocations. Try to schedule the meeting as early as possible so that you can find out about any military PCS entitlements that are available to you.
  • Make preliminary plans for your move such as contacting movers and the housing office at your new duty station.
  • Notify your current housing office, if you are living in base housing, and learn about your cleaning obligations.
  • If you own your home, begin exploring options for renting or selling it.
  • Contact the family center at your new duty station to learn about the area you will soon be calling home.
  • Make an appointment with the finance office to discuss your options for relocation benefits.

When creating your checklist, break down the tasks that must be completed in increments. Progressively narrow your focus so that within the last month before you leave, you are concentrating on packing household items as your moving day approaches.

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