Thursday, June 7, 2012

The PCS Files: One-Month Countdown

The US Navy will be coming to pack up our house in 20 days. (!!!) When we first got orders to PCS (Permanent Change of Station) to Japan,  I was overwhelmed with all of the paperwork we had to do. It wasn't quite as awful as I thought it would be and once we got things rolling, it seemed like we were just laying low for a few months until it time to actually move. Well, it's here!! And now I feel overwhelmed again! I feel very similar to the weeks just before I had a baby - the "nesting" phase. I feel a huge urge to clean and organize things that I hadn't previously even noticed. My husband lovingly tells me that instead of "nesting," I'm "molting" and getting rid of everything.

About a month out from our move, we started purging anything in the house that we didn't want to take overseas with us. We put things into one of three piles: yard-sale, donation, and trash. Our yard-sale went fantastically, generating a lot of money that I'm sure we'll need in the coming months while we're traveling and without a home. We were also able to clear things out of the house that will make moving generally easier and quicker. Since we won't be able to take our vehicles to Japan, we also started trying to sell them by posting them on Craigslist and giving them some tune-ups. I am happy to report that we have already sold my Mazda 5 and are in the process of transferring the title in the next couple of weeks!

So what else do we have to do? Here's my list.

In the next couple of weeks: 

- Complete our home inventory. This is almost-done, but I still need to inventory the closets. I've included descriptions of everything in the house - room by room - along with any monetary value things may hold and the serial numbers of our electronics. I also labeled everything with where it is going - HHG (house-hold goods/main shipment), Express (day-to-day things that will be sent to Japan fastest; can't exceed 1,000lbs), Luggage (checked-baggage), and Carry-Ons.

- Contact our moving companies. There are two moving companies in charge of our two different shipments (HHG and Express) and I need to contact them to confirm the days/times that they are coming to pack and to also set-up a walk-thru. They will come to the house before the pack-up day to look at our things and estimate how many and what kind of packing materials they will need. HHG will be done before the Express shipment and they are both supposed to be picked up by the 2nd of July.

- Contact our utility companies. I need to set-up the shut-off dates for all of our utility services.

- Call our cell phone company. We will be cancelling or suspending (I hope!) our cell phone contracts when we leave the US.

A couple of days before:

Wash all the linens/curtains/towels/etc. I'm planning on washing everything that will be packed with HHG and storing it in space bags to seal in the freshness (I hope!).

Wash all of our laundry and pack suitcases. Once our stuff gets packed up, we'll be living out of suitcases. And, I need to get those suitcases packed with everything we'll be taking with us so that the movers don't accidentally pack them.

 - Pack/set-aside our carry-ons. If we don't want it packed up and shipped to Japan, I've got to set it aside or go ahead and pack it in a backpack.

Mark things with post-it notes labeling where it is going. Our tv? Express shipment. Our printer? Express shipment. Things that we want to get there asap will be in the Express shipment and I don't want them accidentally packed with the large shipment. So, those things will be getting a post-it not letting the movers know where to include them.

- Go through every room/closet/drawer and purge! I'm going to pull everything that can be trashed or donated to make sure only things we truly want to keep will get packed up.

- Put everything that won't need to be packed (suitcases, carry-ons, Express items) in our guest room with a sign on the door. This will make it easier for the movers to know what to leave alone.

In-Between Pack-Up, Pick-Up, and Move-Out:

- Clean out the refrigerator. Enough said.

- Clean the house in preparation of a walk-thru with our landlord. Bathrooms, kitchen and basic sweeping/mopping. Not much more.

- Have some drinks and food on-hand for our movers. I want them to treat our things well, so I'm going to treat them well!

- Try to breathe and relax! The movers are professionals. I don't need to help them. I just need to keep my kids and dog out of the way and trust that everything will go smoothly!

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