Millitary Families

8 Tips for Your PCS Move Without Your Spouse

Article by: Jenah Wieczorek, Base Advocate

PCS-Solo-PicIt’s the night before a PCS and all through the house not a creature is stirring, except you because you are one giant ball of nervous energy. Did I forget anything? (Of course you did.) Will the mover’s arrive on time tomorrow? (Laugh hysterically because you know the answer.) Should I have made more lists? (Roll over, get out of bed, and start making more lists.)

PCSing always brings about anxiety, but what happens when you add in the extra worry and stress that comes with making the move WITHOUT your spouse? Reducing the stress of this seemingly monumental task, however, is possible if you plan ahead!  Follow these 8 easy (okay, helpful… we hope) tips to help you prepare for your solo-PCS move. Hold on tight… you can do this!

  1. Enlist Help- Now is not the time to put that super-hero cape to work. We all need help at some point, and PCSing without your spouse absolutely qualifies. Whether it be a friend or family member, ask for help. There should be at least two sets of eyes on the movers when they are in your home. A good approach would be to park that friend in a chair with the clip board and let them check off all the numbers on the boxes, so you can focus on the progress of the pack-out and placement of items in your new home.You may also need help with the kids or your pets during a part of the move, someone to help you get all the stuff you are donating out the door, or simply a friend to help you organize your thoughts and prioritize. Reach out and ask, and then vow to pay it forward in the future the next time a friend needs the same.
  2. Copies of POA & Orders- First of all, double check to make sure you have the appropriate Power of Attorney documents for your move. Not all companies will accept a general POA and require a special POA  for specific services.Then, make sure you have copies and they are kept safe. While you might feel the need to print multiple copies of each, three sets should be more than enough. One copy on your mobile device, one set printed and with you while you travel, and then a back up set because, well, you never know.
  3. Do You Have Access To All Accounts? Don’t wait until the week of the move to try and turn off or transfer your utilities and bills. Call ahead to see what they need from you; this is where that POA and copy of orders will come into play. Make sure you can access everything from the cable, internet, power, to water, sanitation services, etc. Do you have access to all of the credit cards and bank accounts you might need when traveling or setting up new services? Store all of the passwords in a secure location and make sure that your spouse has added you as an authorized user to all accounts well in advance of your move.
  4. Label Your Rooms This is one of the easiest and most recommended moving strategies. In theory, it can give the packers and movers a sense of respect for your family. “I’m not just packing a kid’s room. These are little Ruby’s toys.” The labels will also help the unpackers with placement of items at your new home. Labels or not, make sure to download our “Movers Notice”, print it out and give it to all the members of your packing and moving team so they know you are looking forward to a positive experience with their company… but you do intend to hold them accountable for how they treat your belongings.
  5. Food For Thought Making healthy choices during a PCS move can be challenging. You and your family need to take breaks for lunch and snacks throughout the day, and it can be tempting to utilize take-out or fast food frequently, leaving you sluggish. Preparing meals and snacks in advance is key. Some suggestions would be frozen lasagna and bagged salad, pre-made sandwiches and chips, fruit, waters, etc. You can also keep your crockpot in your things to carry with you in the car, giving you some no-fuss, healthy dinner options during packing and after you arrive at the new location. These meal options also make great lunches for the packers and movers if you choose to feed them.
  6. Outsource Outsource as many services as your family can afford. If you can drop Scout at doggie day care, do it! If you have the means to hire a babysitter or use the CDC hourly care for your kids, do it! You will be under enough stress without having to run around all day saying “Where is the dog? Kids don’t touch that!” Hire someone to take care of the lawn and to do the final cleaning of your home. It will greatly reduce your stress during a solo-move.You can even outsource some of the research involved with your PCS move by visiting PCSgrades and registering for your FREE account! You can read and submit reviews on real estate agents, lenders, neighborhoods and more… and they are reviews you can trust. We have a community of active duty, veterans, and military spouses sharing their honest opinion of so many of the services you need when you are relocating. Take the guesswork (the Google work) out of getting the real scoop about your new home, register today.
  7. Entertainment Keeping small children from getting bored during the move process is important, not only for your sanity, but to keep their minds off of what is going on and reduce their anxiety about the process. Have the kids decorate the moving boxes in their rooms with crayons or washable markers. It can provide hours of fun and psychologically speaking the movers might be more careful with boxes covered in hearts and stick figures, so win-win! Kick everyone out into the back yard to play if the weather permits. (This might be a great time to hire a neighborhood teenager to come play with the kids!) Charge up the laptop or DVD player and have a special movie night on the air mattresses that are now your beds. Wherever the kids go make sure the animals are there too, so you don’t have to keep tabs on both.
  8. Make Lists You can never have too many lists, and during a move they can be a lifeline. In addition to helping you remember the many small details that must be taken care of, they can ease your stress and make you feel accomplished when you can check items off that list. Sometimes I even write things on a list that are already finished just so I can cross them off! It’s a great way to stay organized and your brain will be going a thousand miles a minute as it is, so write down those “to-do’s” as soon as you think of them and sleep a little bit better tonight.

Having to navigate a PCS move without your spouse presents some challenges, yes. But by asking for help, outsourcing some of the busy work, making lists and doing some much needed prep work before-hand… you can have a successful solo-move that doesn’t leave you stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated.

What tips would you add? How have you successfully navigated a PCS move without your spouse?

Read Next: Put Your Movers on Notice the Next Time You PCS

569aa6d8-a66c-4162-94bd-1a460aab9a94Author Bio: Jenah Weiczorek is a military spouse and an active volunteer in the military community. She recently joined the PCSgrades team as a base advocate and as a social media manager.

 

 

 

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The Big Moving Adventure…There is an App for that!

The Big Moving Adventure

Children in military families move six to nine times between kindergarten and high school, and a mobile app launched in December can help them cope with leaving a familiar place for the      unknown. Military parents face unique challenges during a move, and the app helps their young children through the experience.

The Big Moving Adventure app lets children create a Muppet friend to help them through the moving process.

Developed for the Defense Department in partnership with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization The National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2) behind Sesame Street, the mobile app is available for download from the App Store, Google Play and Amazon for Kindle Fire.

Senate Armed Services Subcommittee Hearing on Personnel March 26 #KeepYourPromise

NMFA

When you break a promise you’re tampering with the delicate formula upon which the strength and vitality of all – volunteer force is based.

The National Military Family Associations continues to fight for Military Families in this budget  battle. Members of NMFA team will be joining other organizations to testify before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel next week March 26, telling Congress to KeepYourPromise Tell National Military Family Association, what do you want Congress to know? The National Military Family Association is counting down the days until they testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. Tell them what you want Congress to know about how the proposed budget that will  affect Military Families at Info@MilitaryFamily.org.  For a listing of the members of the committee http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/active-guard-reserve-and-civilian-personnel-programs_03/26/14

Museums Offering Free Admission To Military Families Through Labor Day

Blue Star Museums

Ready to start the summer vacation off with a bang? The 2013 season of Blue Star Museums is going to be the best yet with more than 2,000 art centers, museums, and exhibits offering FREE entrance for all active duty, National Guard and Reserve military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Blue Star Museums is a partnership among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, Joining Forces, MetLife Foundation and museums across the country.

You can go to BlueStarfam.org and find all the museums available by state.

 

Family Vacation Time…A Fun Way to Record It!

16096414_sBy: Williamsburg Military Insider

Planning a vacation with the kids this summer?  Here is a techy way to help plan and remember that trip.  HipGeo,  is an app to help you journal and blog about your trip. You can get the kids to help you choose what you talk about and how you share it. Make it a family activity each day to post. Add pictures, share on Facebook, and more.  I’ve just started using this app and it is easy to set up.

Happy Vacation Times!!

PCS Orders in Hand …Now on a Quest for Essential Apps for the Military PCS

Moving-boxes-in-a-houseBy: Williamsburg Military Insider

All of us Military members have become quite savvy when it comes to our PCS moves.  I recently discovered some great apps that are essential and very convenient to help with your upcoming PCS.   I really enjoyed around me; so awesome when driving across the country.

1. Moving Day – Free (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)

Military movers know how overwhelming a home filled with boxes can be. It is likely that you have also had the experience of opening a box that is labeled “kitchen” only to find tools from the garage. Moving Day gives you the opportunity to easily catalog all of your things as you or the movers pack. Built-in bar code scanning and label-making will ease the struggle of locating particular items within a sea of cardboard. Helps to quickly identify what boxes/items are missing or what items may be damaged. Photos taken as the items are packed will provide documentation for insurance or damage claims. Print or email reports directly from the app.

2. Moving Van – $1.99 (iPhone, iPod Touch)

Similar to Moving Day, this app will allow you to inventory the contents of each box, include a photo of the items and assign each box with a unique name or number. Find that you are searching high and low for the box that contained your kitchen towels? Simply search for the specific item and the app will identify which box it is located in. It might be helpful to have friends and family with this app to help you during the packing process as it is tough to keep up with the packers sometimes.

3. Moving List – $2.99 (iPhone, iPod Touch)

Utilize the pre-populated to-do lists created from 95 common moving tasks. Create and add your own list of important items and organize them by category or due date. Great way to keep your lists organized and accessible to you at all times.

4. Moving Checklist Pro – $0.99 (iPhone, iPad) Another app with over 210 moving related items that can be used to create checklists and timelines. Create your own or use pre-loaded checklists, which can be emailed to friends and families so they know how they can help ease your stress.

5. My Move – Free (iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire) In addition to a complete moving checklist, the My Move app will calculate your household goods moving weight, which can be extremely useful for military families that are considering a full DITY or partial DITY move. Requesting a specific mover may not always be an option for military families, but you may be given the choice of a few approved providers. Reading the online reviews may give you a leg up when trying to make a decision of this nature.

6. Moving Guru – Free (Blackberry, iPhone) This app offers features similar to the other apps mentioned, such as chronological task lists, but one cool feature it offers is the “We’ve moved” notification that you can send to pre-selected phone contacts. Change of address cards are still nice to send out, but this is certainly a less expensive and quicker option.

7. iHandy Level – Free (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) You have finally made it to the stage where you are ready to hang your photos on the wall and having the iHandy Level will ensure that every item you hang is on the level. Portrait and landscape options housed in a classy wood grain interface may make you feel like a professional carpenter.

8. Yelp – Free (iPhone, iPad, Android) You are settled and ready to explore your new surroundings. Apple and Android users can utilize this app to find everything you need to make this new place your home. Gather information on local business with details such as address, hours, price, reviews, tips, and deals. Easy access to directions and the opportunity to book reservations for restaurants using Open Table. It just may be time to try out that Thai restaurant down the street!

9. Around Me – Free (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android) Similar to Yelp, this app is also available in both platforms. With GPS locating, this app will show you gas stations, banks, hospitals, hotels, supermarkets, theatres, and other essential amenities that are nearby. Find the location on a map and quickly get directions from your current location.

10. Military Traveler (Free iPhone) Military Traveler is a universal base directory application for iPhone and Android. It contains information like phone numbers, hours of operations, websites and more for establishments on military installations

Baggie Bonanza… and the PCS Military Move

neighborsBy: Williamsburg Military Insider

With many Military Families PCS season is coming up. I have moved 14 times in the past twenty years, and can relate with everything in the article at Call Dibs  “How to MOVE IT without LOSING IT!: Helpful Tips for your PCS Move” I got the biggest chuckle out of the Baggie Bonanza paragraph. In my twenty years I thought I was the only one who did this, as I am the same and do not want movers all up in my space. 🙂 I recommend reading her tips on your next PCS move; they are some of the same I have done for the past twenty years. Take to heart the refrigerator stocked full with drinks, I can tell you from experience moving in this past July, and it was 110 F, my movers were the best! They were just so thankful for the endless supply of Gatorade. They even assembled everything without being asked. We all know sometimes that can be a challenge. Happy PCS season…wishing everyone very smooth moves!

Where are the Facts?….Defense Budget Faces Cuts To Personnel After Decade of War

Shape Our Lives 4 by 6 copyBy: Williamsburg Military Insider

I rarely ever put a opinion out there on articles I read.  But as I came across this story written by Mr. David Wood, Defense Budget Faces Cuts To Personnel After Decade of War…I had to say something.

What does Mr. Wood  honestly expect to add to the national discussion with a story that has more errors than facts? . As a military wife, I’m terrified that readers might actually think this story features facts. Mr. Wood has  a responsibility to inform the public, inherent in that responsibility is that your information be TRUE. Mr. Wood, Military Members are all – VOLUNTEERS. They chose to stand up, put the best interests and security of the country first, even at the risk of their own lives. They aren’t in it for glory, or fame, or getting their names in the papers. They do it because it’s the right thing to do. They do it to protect your right to malign and degrade them, to say they don’t deserve a good paycheck for the price of their lives. A paycheck, I might add, that is paid for by the government, and your taxes, which they also pay. In effect, they pay themselves to safeguard our way of life.

You should personally thank each and every one of these military members for their service and their courage to protect your rights and your freedoms.

Military Families to Get Free National Parks Pass

Active-duty military personnel and their dependents will soon be able to enter every national park for free as part of an effort to thank service members and their families for the sacrifices they make, the Interior Department announced Tuesday.

An annual pass will be made available to members of the military free of charge beginning Saturday, which is Armed Forces Day. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass ordinarily costs $80. It provides access to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands.

The initiative is being marked with a Tuesday ceremony at Colonial National Historical Park in Yorktown, Va., the site of the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War.

Kiplinger-BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families.

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

The 2012 Kiplinger-BBB Financial Field Manual is out! I was very humbled to be interviewed for the section on Home-Buying Resources. The Guide helps with financial strategies, rules and resources for military families are often very different from those for civilians. The 20-page guide provides comprehensive guidance on a wide range of timely personal finance topics, including:

Special Home-Buying Resources. Military families, who tend to move frequently and sometimes with little notice, have been hit particularly hard by the housing downturn. But they also have access to special mortgage programs and tax breaks. The guide addresses these valuable resources and some key investing decisions to protect them from housing troubles that can jeopardize their financial situation.

Investing for the Future. Members of the military have access to special investing plans that can help them save for the future, but they’re also frequent targets of scam artists and identity thieves. The guide shows them how to make the most of their special savings plans, make smart investing decisions, and avoid the new generation of scams

Protecting Investments and Family. Military families have some unique risks–especially when they’re deployed–but they also have access to special programs to help them protect their savings and their families. The booklet guides them on how to make the most of these resources in areas such as insurance, estate planning, and new tax rules.

Protecting Investments When Leaving the Military. Service men and women need to make some key investing decisions after leaving the military. The booklet provides guidance to help ensure that the savings they have built throughout their service lasts through retirement – which is particularly timely as they enter a challenging civilian job market.

Special Benefits for Military Families. Members of the military have special legal rights and access to other valuable benefits, such as a GI bill that can help service members, their spouses and their children pay for college. The guide shows them how to make the most of those benefits to help protect their savings.

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763 e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com