5 PCS packing hacks

U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Ryan Zeski

Tis the season to be PCSing and whether you're feeling super ambitious and flying solo with a DITY move or you've lined up some questionably trained movers to come pack up your life, we want to make this move your easiest.

Take it from someone whose movers packed the leftover Chinese food from the night before that was in a plastic bag next to the door to take to the trash chute (super fun to unpack that nastiness in Guam three months later), packing is essential.

Here are five of our best packing hacks to help you live your best PCS life.

Day one box

Imagine all the things you really need on your first day. Thinking you might want to actually cook a meal after days of takeout? Put a pan in there with some paper plates, silverware and paper towels. Maybe you like pillows and sheets on your bed? Check, check. Do you generally prefer that your shower has a curtain in it? Yep, grab that.

Spend a few days taking stock of the things you actually need in your life and put those together for a "day one box." Make sure it's labeled as such so you can easily identify it, and once you're at your new location you'll be able to get through the first day with just that bad boy and a cocktail or two.

Sort your stuff

Take a page from the Marie Condo book and sort all your things. There's nothing more frustrating than opening 27 boxes and finding six books in each one. It's like a horrible birthday surprise that just keeps on giving. We can promise present you that future you will be so grateful you took the time to sort your things.

What does this look like? Put all your clothes in the same room. All your books in a pile. All your tools. The obscene amount of Christmas decorations. Your crafts. Baseball cards. Any grouping you can make, do it. Sort, my friend. It will make unpacking so much easier on the other side. Plus, we imagine that once you see the unreasonable amount of stuff you have, you're going to want to donate at least half of it. So, you're welcome.

DIY disassemble 

Anything that needs to be taken apart to fit in the truck will be, and we can more or less guarantee you that the screws needed for that one bookshelf in your office will somehow end up with your forks.

Save yourself a giant headache and 19 trips to the hardware store at your next duty station by taking apart anything that can be, ahead of time. Then, put the hardware in a labeled plastic bag so you know what it goes to. You can either duct tape that plastic bag to that piece of furniture, or store all of your hardware together in a tackle box to put in your "day one box."

While you should be taking pictures of everything you own before it goes onto that black hole that is your moving truck, we also recommend taking pictures of how the assembled furniture is supposed to look once it's put back together for easy reference.


Speaking of taking pictures, this moving hack will save you hours of frustration, Googling and potentially electrocution. Take a picture of the back of your television, appliances, electronics… really anything with multiple wires.

Sure, you think you know know that the red cord goes in the plug on the left, but wait until you've spent six days in a car with toddlers asking every five minutes when you're going to be there. You're not going to remember your middle name, let alone where the cords go. Save yourself the headache and take a picture of anything that's hooked up for easy reference of how to re-hook-it-up (technical term).

Egg carton jewelry

Your jewelry somehow survived the trip without finding its way into a pocket or spilled on a sidewalk, and now you have the next five hours of your life that you'll never get back to spend on untangling it.

Or, skip the hassle and put necklaces and bracelets into the compartments of an egg carton. Bonus points for the fact they'll have a nice little cushion. If eggs can make the trip from the farm to the grocery store, so can strands of pearls.

Moving is hard enough as it is. Packing doesn't need to be. Use our five hacks and visit PCSgrades to learn how to simplify your PCS life. From how to move to how to find a realtor and everything in betwee, PCSgrades has you covered.

This post is sponsored by PCSgrades.

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