Every three years, I swear that I’m going to do it. I’ll actually organize the house to PCS better, to make things more efficient. I’ll sort, store, trash and donate starting six months out from our move. I swear I’ll be super prepared!
And yet, here we are, 3 months from our next move with a house that is even more of a disaster than the last PCS. All my promises of doing better, organizing more effectively, apparently disappeared along the way.
But this time I don’t have the luxury of just letting things go again. I need to get my house into optimal PCS mode.
Organize Your House to PCS Better with Pro Tips
It’s crunch time. We’re coming up on this move sooner than later; the days are literally speeding by!
So I called in a pro, Melissa Rogers of Modified by Melissa. She’s an organization guru! Plus, as a military spouse, Melissa totally gets the need to be ultra organized to prevent PCS disasters.
Make Papers a Priority
Melissa’s number one tip is to sort and separate your paperwork and documents before the movers arrive.
So, good news for me! We’ve been doing this for years! I’d still like to go back through and weed out the documents we no longer need and pull out the ultra important stuff.
Paperwork that should be hand carried includes birth and marriage certificates, health records (a digital file is fine), professional licenses, insurance, and anything else that’s irreplaceable. If you’re traveling with a pet, keep copies of their health documents with you, too.
Melissa recommends sorting and storing these valuable papers in a binder or folder with lots of pockets. Another great option is to scan all of these important documents and store them digitally. Even if you need to “official” copy with a seal, the digital files at least create a papertrail.
Liquids & Lotions
I’ve got a few bottles of half used perfume and lotion floating around at all times. That stuff is expensive! I’m not about to trash it just because we’re moving. But I also don’t necessarily want to waste precious suitcase space on those toiletries either.
However, actually packing your liquids can be iffy.
To help your spillable stuff make it safely, Melissa recommends that you put a bit of plastic wrap under the cap, over the opening. Tighten the cap down over the plastic wrap. It will create a seal and stop spills.
Another option is to place your liquids into sealable plastic bags. If something does spill, it will at least be contained in the bag!
To help you unpack later, try to sort your liquids by type: cleaning supplies, soaps, lotions, perfumes and so on. Sorting this way will also prevent your stuff from getting mixed up or spoiled if spills happen. Plus, you’ll be able to quickly place each bag into the correct spot when you unpack!
Keep Things Separated
Did you know that packers will just pack everything in one area? Yup, if it’s in the same general area then it’s all going in the same box! This explains why my linens keep ending up with the board games.
According to Melissa, it can help to sort your belongings and put some space between things.
Consider putting all your towels and other linens together, maybe mixing in other blankets or clothes. Keep artwork and other wall decor in the same section. Basically, if you want things packed together, put them in the same spot to begin with. And if you’d prefer to keep your knives out of the breakables, put them far apart on packing day!
Clean Out Your Closets
I’ve been making passes through my clothes (and my kid’s clothes) for the last six or so months. I’m trying to weed out things that we no longer wear or that are too small or just plain worn out.
I always seem to skip cleaning out my pantry and supply closets though. Which leaves me with boxes of random non-perishables and half-empty bottles of Windex.
Before the movers come, make a sweep of your kitchen. They’ll pack anything that it’s a liquid. We learned the hard way when we opened up a neatly wrapped package containing a 1/4 full bag of white sugar.
Melissa recommends that you pull out anything you really don’t want to see again. Some items to consider removing include anything open, expired, or that you plan on eating between pack out and move out.
Do the same hard edit to your cleaning supply closets.
Trash or “regift” whatever you don’t want to take with you.
Keep the Movers Out
Truth time: you’re gonna need to keep some things secure during the pack out process. Documents, packed suitcases and those last minute cleaning supplies are all things that you 100% do not want the movers to pack.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about orders or passports getting mixed into moving boxes.
To prevent that type of calamity, keep everything you’ll need after the packers leave and on the road (or on the plane) in a separate locked room. Put a sign on the door to keep movers out, too. Living OCONUS? Consider adding a translated sign in the local language, too.