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The waiting game for new orders is only slightly more anxiety filled than when you get them. This new game is one I like to call starting over – again. Never fear though, it’s not all bad. How you approach your upcoming move is a matter of perspective. You could hide under the blankets to avoid facing the movers who will break your stuff and the dreaded goodbyes to friends. But then, you’d miss out on an incredible opportunity to add a beautiful new chapter to your story! Fill your cup with strong coffee, put your favorite music on, and dance. You’ve got this.

Here are steps to help guide you through receiving orders and getting to your new home:

Step 1: Find your place

When you are a seasoned military spouse, you’ve become an expert at researching new areas online. The computer is your friend – here you can find websites and Facebook groups dedicated to your new duty station area. Spend your time weighing the pros and cons for on base housing, renting on the economy, or buying your own home. Each option comes with different challenges – find the one that is right for you and your family.

Step 2: New everything

This is where the anxiety comes in, at least for me. When you move it means setting up new medical, dental, schools for your kids, finding employment and the dreaded search to find a new hair person. All of this really stinks, there’s no doubt about it, but it can be done. Lean on your new community to help guide you in making these decisions; their feedback is invaluable. Reach out to your ombudsman’s or key spouses, they are an amazing resource to assist in transitioning to your new duty station. Here are some extra tips:

  • Once you’ve narrowed down medical and dental, make sure you wait to change it on Humana Military. First, you need to move, then your service member will report in and change everything in DEERS. Once that’s done, you can make your changes!
  • Make copies of your children’s medical and dental records. You’ll need shot records for most new school registrations.
  • Wait until you have keys in hand before you change your address. Put your mail on hold instead! It is very simple and can be done here free of charge. Once you have your keys, do an address change and from there you can set up mail forwarding. This can all be done online.
  • Utilize the resources available to you for employment assistance! If you are a military spouse, LinkedIn gives you a year of premium FREE every time you PCS! This is an incredible opportunity and makes your job search that much easier. Don’t forget about your Military One Source either – it is a wealth of information and assistance.

Step 4: It’s PCS time again

If you are moving CONUS, or contiguous United States moves – you can decide to move yourself (also known as a DITY move), in which the military will reimburse you through a calculation that may be more of a headache than it’s worth. The other option is to allow the military to organize and set it up. This tends to be the preferred method, but, comes with its own headaches. My tips for a successful military PCS:

  1. Consider downloading apps and checklists to assist you in your move. Etsy has really cute ones and there’s even an app to help you out. Check out My Ultimate PCS.
  2. If it’s irreplaceable – keep it with you.
  3. Embrace the purge. This is a time where you can go through all the things and get rid of what you haven’t used since your last PCS. You know what I am talking about – if you haven’t touched it in a year, donate it or trash it.
  4. Have a closet or bathroom with all of the things you are keeping with you for your move. This is going to be whatever you need to sustain you until your HHG arrive, plus, those special things you’d be devastated to lose in a moving snafu. Put a sign on the door that says “Do not move”. They’ll stay out of there and your stuff will be safe and ready for your epic road trip.
  5. Do buy the movers lunch and provide drinks! This goes a long way to encourage the care of your treasured household items.
  6. Consider hiring a cleaning company if you are able to. This will eliminate a lot of stress over making things perfect for a housing or landlord inspection prior to check out.

Saying goodbye

It’s incredibly hard and it’s going to stink, but you are going to be okay, I promise! The friendships that you build with other MilSpouses are priceless. You will see each other again; this military world is small! While goodbye is hard, it makes those reunions that much sweeter. Thanks to the incredible invention of social media and video chats, you can still have coffee and cocktails together, plus, guess what? You will have brand new MilSpouse besties where you are going. Happy PCS’ing – your new chapter awaits!