PCS Move Checklist for a Stress-Free PCS Season

August 14, 2018

It’s no secret that moving can be stressful - especially PCS moves. You may not know where you’re going or any other details about the move, but what you can do to minimize the stress a PCS move is prepare. Put together a military moving checklist with our PCS move tips, and start ticking off the boxes so you can make the move as easy and stress-free as possible!

Young Military Family Playing while Packing for PCS Move

Helpful PCS Move Tips

Here are some of the best items to include on your military moving checklist so you can prepare your family for PCS move season:
  1. Keep All Your Files Together

    Nothing adds to moving stress more than the loss of important files and documents. Eliminate the possibility of losing these by keeping them all in one place. Some experienced movers have a moving binder in which they keep important documents and resources like birth certificates, orders, family budgets, social security cards, to-do lists, etc. Go the extra mile by color coding your binder by section so you can easily locate the items when you need them!

  2. Keep Track of Your Inventory

    Ensure the safety of the items in your home by taking inventory of your items. Don’t worry - this doesn’t mean you have to scour through your house with a clipboard and a pen writing down every item you own. Instead, take time to open every cabinet in your home and snap a few photos so you can see the items inside. This way, you know exactly what should be there when you start unpacking. It’s recommended you do this shortly before the packers arrive so you don’t photograph anything you are going to throw away before the move.

    Woman Holding Box of Donated Goods
  3. Take the Opportunity to Purge

    The best way to look at a PCS move is like a fresh start. Take advantage of moving homes by getting rid of things you don’t use or like anymore. Moving with less will make the whole process easier, and you may feel lighter with less clutter around. This is also a great way to earn a little extra cash before your military move move. Try posting items for sale on OfferUp, LetGo, Craigslist, Poshmark, and Facebook Marketplace.

  4. Pack a Moving Day Bag

    One of the most important items to include in your PCS move checklist is packing a moving day bag. Sometimes it’s hard to control when the moving truck picks up and drops off boxes. As a result, it’s important to keep the items that you’ll be needing immediately at the new house in a separate box or bag that you keep with you. Items to put in your moving day bag include a change of clothes, toiletries, phone chargers, valuables, and paperwork/documents. It may be a good idea to pack a moving bag for each of the family members as well and task them with keeping track of it during the move.

    Person Wearing Rubber Gloves while Doing a Move-Out Clean
  5. Set Aside Time to Clean

    This one goes for both the old house and the new house. You will probably be required to clean your house before the next person moves in. A deep, thorough cleaning requires time and lots of effort. Set aside one day to clean the entire house.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family members. You can assign each willing helper a room and get it done even faster with teamwork! As for the new location for military housing, never assume it will be clean and move-in-ready on arrival, especially if you have high standards. Set aside a few hours to clean the floors and wipe down and sanitize the bathrooms and kitchen so you can ensure it’s ready for your family.

  6. Protect Yourself from Damage Liability with Photos

    It’s always a good idea to go the extra mile to protect yourself. Have a family member go through the new house (while it’s empty) and take pictures of the walls, floors, counter tops, and any other surface in the home. Note any damages or scratches and communicate those to your housing office sooner rather than later. That way, if problems come up down the road or they try to blame you for those damages when you move out, you have proof that you weren’t the cause.

Your PCS Move Checklist

The very first step in preparing for your military move is to put together a PCS move checklist with the things you need to do. Below is a list to get you started, complete with the points discussed here:

Military Moving Checklist

Moving Task


Keep all your files together


Keep track of your inventory


Purge your belongings before the move


Pack a moving day bag


Thoroughly clean the old house and the new house


Take photos to protect yourself from damage liability


No matter where your PCS move takes you, it’s important to have a positive attitude and an open mind. Being fully prepared can help make the transition smoother for the whole family so you spend less time figuring out the logistics and more time
making your new military house a home.
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Our mission is to provide premier homes and outstanding management and maintenance services to military families, who deserve nothing less. We strive to understand the changing needs of military families and consider it our duty to improve the quality of life for those who live in our communities.

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