Something most military families will have to deal with is a PCS, or permanent change of station. While you may or may not be looking forward to the move, there are things a military member and their families can do before relocating. The biggest thing is to make sure you know all the regulations surrounding your move, so you can plan accordingly and stay away from stressful unforeseen obstacles.

Tip #1: Call your Personal Property Office (PPO) Your first step should be to call the Personal Property Office and set an appointment. Before your appointment take the time to do some research on your own. Even if you have moved many times before, each situation is unique and your new duty station or military regulations will change and affect each move differently. According to Move.com, “PPOs have materials available to aid you in your research. An excellent resource for explaining basic entitlements and responsibilities is the "It's Your Move" pamphlet that is also available online on various web sites, including LIFELines. General move information is available on LIFELines in the "Relocation and Housing" information area.” Tip #2: Contact Your New Command and Sponsor As soon as you have PCS orders in hand, a new command will assign a sponsor to help in your time of transition to your new command and new duty station. If you do not receive a contact within a reasonable amount of time, contact your new command. Their website may also be a great place to get familiar with. A sponsor is especially important if you will be moving overseas or to a more remote place. Your sponsor will also be responsible for informing you on your host-country rules and customs. They will be able to let you know which belongings you should bring and which ones you shouldn’t. Tip #3: Take Charge of Your Move Even though you should have enough assistance throughout your move, you are still ultimately responsible for planning it from beginning to end. Stay active and involved during the entire process. Know all the rules and regulations and make sure you start making arrangements at least a month before moving day. The actual move day will go much more smoothly if everything is planned out far in advance. Tip #4: Know Your Entitlement Know the maximum weight you can move at the government’s expense. This amount should be based upon your personal situation and rank. If you do go over the pre-set amount of weight, you will be responsible for paying all extra charges. A good rule of thumb to estimate the weight of your possessions is to assume you have 1,000 pounds per room than add any additional weights of large appliances and items. Tip #5: Find Out What Personal Effects You Can Bring Your personal effects and property from your home are referred to household goods, or HHG. Your HHG’s usually fall within your weight entitlement, and should be moved at no additional cost to you. However, sometimes items such as boats may or may not qualify. Also some carriers have restrictions or there may be local ordinances for certain items. Be sure to check out the Defense Transportations Regulations website for a complete guide on determining what you can and cannot bring at no additional charge.

Finally, be sure you have any paperwork that needs to be completed, filled out and ready to go. It is important that you have adequate copies of your PCS orders as well as the following papers: • powers of attorney or letters of authorization • appraisals of high-value items • inventory with video or photo documentation • Insurance policies, in addition to those provided as part of your move.