The big bad PCS move is over…now what?
Feeling settled after a military PCS can be challenging, but with some planning and organization, you can make the transition smoother.
After moving into your new house and getting in-processed at your new location, it’s time to face down the reality of finding all the things. Gym, coffee shop, mechanic, doctor, church, babysitters, grocery store…friends?
Here are a few steps to help you get settled:
Unpack and Organize
Start by unpacking the essential items and setting up the basic necessities in your new home. Prioritize items like bedding, kitchenware, toiletries… and probably your (or your spouse’s) uniforms!
As you unpack, create a system to organize your belongings, making it easier to find items you may need later.
Try the A, B, C method. A being daily use items, B being weekly use, and C being seasonal items. Find a home for each item based on how often you will use it. If you need help storing and organizing – check out The Container Store for inspiration or storage containers.
Don’t feel like you have to do this all in one day – 24 hours is not enough time to unpack your entire life into a new space!
Get in the Car and Drive
Familiarize yourself with your new community! Take some time to explore the surrounding neighborhoods.
Make sure you figure out where the closest Chick-fil-A is… kidding, kind of. But really, scope out the nearest post office, hospital, pharmacy, and anything else you may need close to your house.
If you have kiddos, this is a great time to figure out the commute times to daycare or school, and look for parks nearby for those after school play-dates! Try Meet-Up if you want to get a headstart on meeting locals.
Ask for Recommendations
This can be done before you leave your losing duty station, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most military installations have Facebook groups specific to the military community. The local Military and Family Readiness Center is a great resource too.
These online groups are a good place to ask for recommendations for just about anything.
Need a birthday cake? A military spouse is waiting to help.
Need to know which on base doctor is the best? That question has definitely been asked before.
How about a babysitter? These groups are a great place to find candidates to vet and interview!
Spend some time finding those online communities specific to your location. Military families know how hard it is to settle into a new place, and they are always willing to share their advice!
What’s the best overall advice we can give you about moving? Stay positive. Yeah, that sounds cheesy and cliche, but moving is HARD – physically, mentally, emotionally.
A positive attitude can go a long way in the midst of cardboard boxes and take-out containers. And sometimes all you can do is laugh when SHTF and nothing goes as planned and everyone is having a meltdown.
Adjusting to a new location takes time, so be patient with yourself and your family. Reach out for support from fellow military families, attend local events, find your new favorite restaurant, and give yourself the opportunity to explore and embrace your new surroundings!