Here’s how to make your PCS more eco-friendly
Ecology house and family in hands against spring green background

By Julie Provost

PCS season is almost here and many military families will be moving sometime soon. There will be movers to schedule, packing days, and plenty of sleepless nights. There is a lot of planning that needs to take place and while you are doing so, think about these ways to make your PCS more eco-friendly.

Declutter and donate

Before you or the movers pack up your home, declutter as much as you can. Get rid of anything that you no longer use or need. Clearing out the clutter will help make your current home look nicer and moving with less stuff is going to make for an easier move that uses less gasoline or other fossil fuels. The fewer boxes the movers have to use, the less cardboard and packing supplies they will need. If you can, donate your items to someone in need or an organization that can use them.

Use non-toxic cleaners

When you move out of one home, you will need to do a deep clean before you go. Make sure all of your cleaners are non-toxic and safe for the environment. Mrs. Meyer’s, Method, and Seventh Generation are all brands that have all-purpose, non-toxic cleaners. Vinegar can also go a long way in helping clean your home.

Use biodegradable packing materials

If you are moving yourself, use biodegradable packing materials. You can find bubble wrap that is made from recycled polyethylene. You should also save and then reuse old cardboard boxes. Ask friends if they have any to use instead of going out and buying new ones. Shred newspapers and magazines to use for protective packaging.

Borrow instead of buying

After you get moved, you will probably be in your new home before all of your stuff joins you. It can be tempting to go out and rebuy things even if you know they are coming. See if you can borrow some of these items instead. Some military bases have borrowing closets, ask local Facebook pages, or borrow from friends you might have in the area.

Use reusable containers

You can put many of your items into reusable containers. This will make things easier when the movers come or when you are moving yourself. You can buy them at the Exchange or a store such as Walmart or Target. Once you get settled in, use them for other things around your house. They are perfect for clothing and linens as well as toys. As a plus, the bins are made of recycled plastics.

Watch your fuel

If you are driving to your next duty station, make sure to prepare your car for the drive. Get the car tuned before you go, pack lightly by only carrying your most valuable belongings, and plan your route, so you are not going out of your way and using excess gas.

Change your lifestyle

Moving is a fresh start. Take this chance to work on your habits and become more eco-friendly in your everyday life. Set up recycling or find the local recycling center at your new home, invest in energy-saving light bulbs, and plan to walk or ride your bike more frequently. If you need to buy a new car, look for something that is better for the environment. Making these small changes will be good for you and your family as well as the earth and a move is a perfect time to refresh and make those changes.

Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at