It’s done. You’ve moved and you’re in the post-PCS honeymoon period. New house, new unit, just settling in and exploring.
Ahhhh, yes, it’s like a mini-vacation. You know, except for the one million things you still have left to do after your big move.
Don’t Miss a Beat with Your Post-PCS Must Do Checklist!
Instead of scrambling (again) to do all the things that might have slipped your mind, use our list! Straight from a 10+ year, 5+ move military spouse it’s all the things you might forget to do post-PCS.
Mail Call Updates
- Change your address on everything: magazines, subscription services, Amazon – all the important stuff!
- Stop the current mail hold and forward to your new address
- Update your credit cards and bank accounts to match your new address
- Send a change of address card or (let’s be real) email to your nearest and dearest
You can use USPS’s website and virtual services to set up a mail hold and arrange for forwarding services. There is a nominal service fee attached. Or you can go to a physical post office and get the same services done for you, for free.
Call up the various money accounts and mail services you have set up. Or use their online portals to change your address.
Mostly, just try to hit the important stuff: credit cards, banks, magazines and subscriptions of all kinds. You definitely don’t want your wine of the month club going to anyone else!
You already know that your life, service member and family alike, revolves around the info stashed in DEERS. Literally, everything.
Make sure it’s updated ASAP after you arrive and/or check-in to a new unit. It seems to go fastest if the service member goes down to update everything.
For When You Get Sick…
Medical care is decided based on region, with different options available based on where you are living or stationed. Right after you update DEERS, do these things:
- Check the plans and options available to you in your new location – there’s even a handy plan comparison tool on Tricare’s website!
- Contact Tricare or USFHP, if applicable, to enroll. You can do it via mail, online or over the phone
- Update your dental insurance with the new address/location
- Find a new doctor and/or dentist
- Make an appointment
- Arrange for your records to be transferred from your last medical office or MTF to the new one.
- Double-check your records made it, even if you went MTF to MTF.
- Triple-check that any and all allergies and serious issues made the transfer, too
Your New House
Cool! You got a place and it’s pretty okay, but now you’ve got a few things to line up.
- Insurance is needed for renters and homeowners alike
- Extra insurance for natural disasters, based on where you live
- Gas, water, sewage, trash, electric, recycling and cable/internet all need to be set up…again
- Do a walkthrough, even if you bought your house, to make sure things work properly and are safe; renters: let your landlord know about any issues ASAP
- Check the hot water settings and adjust as needed
- Snake the drains and use clog solution so you have a fresh start
- Check the septic and well, if applicable; ask about any restrictions, like garbage disposal or bleach use
- Confirm HOA rules, if any
Beyond the nitty-gritty of safety and basic living, you might also need to take into account how your HHG will fit into your new space.
- Measure every room, each window and all your furniture
- Don’t be afraid to move pieces around as needed until it feels right
- Rethink single-purpose items and be creative
- Check out the light situation in each room to see what you have from natural light and ceiling lights
- Think about curtains or shades to help with sound sleep, based on how much light comes into each room in the morning and night
- Meet your neighbors and let them know when the moving trucks will show up; ask about best options so that you’re not bothering anyone more than necessary
Things That Go Beep
Every military family seems to do the vehicle thing a little differently. Some get new licenses and registrations in every state while others keep it local in their hometown.
Your call. But either way:
- Update your driver’s license address, even with a white envelope label, just in case
- Change your car, boat, motorcycle, RV insurance policies and addresses
- Make sure your EZPass is linked to your new home
- Check up on your lease or loan agreements for vehicles you’re making payments towards
- Update or completely change your registrations, if needed
- Apply for resident parking passes, if needed, at your new home
Location, Location, Location
Making all the updates doesn’t do you any good if you don’t know your way around your new hometown!
Make sure you:
- Pin important places to your preferred GPS-platform: doctor, hospital, grocery store, playgrounds, parks, pools, Target, best ice cream spot – the essentials
- Pin your new house, or the closest intersection, in your GPS app
- Drive around!
- Walk around (it’s better for the environment)
- Try new places, leave the house, talk to people in your neighborhood
You might also want to check on:
- Pet or animal registration requirements and restrictions
- Trash and recycling
- Farmers markets
- HOA regulations
Kids & Schools
If you have kids, they might need to go to school. Even if you homeschool, you’ll still have a little bit of footwork to do!
Please make sure you:
- Locate your zoned public school or preferred private school
- Homeschoolers: read the state/local laws and regulations governing homeschooling, register as needed
- Register for public or private school
- Take your child to the doctor for a well-visit and updated immunizations, if needed
- Get school supply lists and purchase items as needed
- Assess the clothing/uniform rules to ensure compliance
- Determine how your child will be getting to school
- Set up a school lunch account, if needed or desired
For parents of littler ones, you might be hunting for a preschool or daycare. You’ll want to:
- Locate several options, including the CDC on-base if available
- Contact each preschool or childcare center via phone and/or email
- Determine enrollment requirements (potty training, starting age, etc.)
- Compare prices, inclusions, programs and extras (swimming lessons, extended hours, etc.) to see which ones might be the best fit
- Tour one or more of your preferred options to see if it really works
- Apply, get accepted and pay tuition!
Make sure that you fully vet all preschools and daycare providers for licensure, experience and references. Not all providers are created equal!
Make a List
Here’s the thing: even with a list of all the little things, there is going to be something that’s missed. Hopefully it’ll be something super little – like you’ve missed out on a cool dog park or something for a few weeks.
As you settle into your new home, make a list of questions or things to do and buy in a central location. Stick a whiteboard or chalkboard wall decal somewhere and jot stuff down as you think of it. Or keep a running list on your phone’s notes app.
Certain things only apply in some locations, like mass transit in the city or how to avoid tractors in the country. Try to imagine different scenarios that will pop up in the first 6 months or so, then make a plan for them.