Before our first PCS move, I did everything wrong. I had recently discovered the local yard sale/resale page, and as a thrifty cheapskate, I was completely hooked. There were so many great deals on everything we needed as newlyweds moving into an empty house. But I was afraid that the base we were moving to wouldn’t have a similar resale page, and I wouldn’t be able to get discounted furniture after we moved. I started buying the furniture before our move. I scored a new queen bed, kitchen table, and baby gear.
The good news was that we were moving into a four-bedroom house, where all this furniture would be necessary. The bad news was that we were living in a three-bedroom apartment that became very crowded.
And then we did a DITY (Do-it-Yourself) move where we had to move all our stuff down three flights of stairs! Here’s the kicker—the next base absolutely had a yard sale/resale page. A very active one, with plenty of great deals.
Since then, I have learned from my mistakes. Now I know that we don’t need to hang onto a lot of things during each move. In fact, there are many household items that are easy to replace or upgrade at the next base. Here are the main culprits you may consider keeping, but you should definitely purge before your next PCS move.
Get rid of these 10 things before a PCS move
Baby gear: Even if you’re planning to have another child, you don’t need to keep all the baby things. You should donate or sell anything your youngest has outgrown, especially a play mat, activity bouncer, high chair, or stroller. These are easy to replace at the next duty station. Even personal items like a breast pump can be given away or donated, because TRICARE will cover a prescription for a new one if you become pregnant again.
Large outdoor items: On military bases, backyard items are often donated from one family to another, finding new homes on the same street. That’s because these heavy items are generally not worth their weight during a move. Considering selling a trampoline or play house. Get rid of that rusted firepit, old grill, or broken toys.
“Sell large items, get rid of broken things.” ~The Seasoned Spouse
Kitchen items and appliances: You probably have some unused dishes and gadgets in the kitchen (I’m looking at you, juicer and immersion blender!), but you may also own appliances you won’t need at your next house. Try to find out in advance where you will live, and whether you should bring a washer, dryer, or microwave.
Old clothes: Yes, a PCS is a good chance to update your own wardrobe by thinning out those skinny jeans that will never fit again or those large dresses from your post-baby body. Don’t forget to sell or donate the stockpiles of clothes that your children have outgrown. Unless you have some hand-me-downs that will fit your children in the next year, there’s no need to horde old children’s clothing. There are thrift stores and resale pages at most military bases.
Toys and Books: Let’s be honest—most kids don’t play with all their toys. And sometimes, there are toys that parents wish their kids would stop playing with! A PCS is an opportunity to be ruthless and take back your house. Maybe you can sneak some of those annoying musical toys into the donation pile, too.
Cheap furniture: Some furniture isn’t designed to be disassembled and moved. If it’s made of pressed wood, it can easily crack or split during the move. Fake leather can crack or peel when exposed to high temperatures in storage or transition. And that piece with the wobbly leg is just going to be worse at the next house. Lighten your load now to save money on the move.
Garage clutter: Depending on the next duty station, you may not need beach chairs, sand toys, a lawnmower, or a leaf blower. You may not have a two-car garage either. Clean it out now to make the move easier.
Paper clutter: Some records, like tax documents and medical paperwork, should be kept for years. But that stack of drawings from your preschooler is not essential. Select a few pieces for a child’s memory book, then clean out paper from school or old bills.
Old electronics: If you have items like a laptop, printer, computer screen, or shredder that no longer work, you need to dispose of them properly. Be sure to take SIM cards, hard drives, or personal data off a computer before recycling it.
Hazardous items: Chemicals, paint, liquids like antifreeze or oil, and anything flammable or explosive cannot be packed by movers. You will need to research local disposal laws to understand how to properly get rid of these items. Do not simply throw them in the trash or down a storm drain!
This should give you some ideas where to begin your cleaning a you prepare for a PCS. But you know what you can keep? That box of curtains. Because you never know which ones will work at the next house!
The Breastfeeding Shop provides name-brand, high-quality breast pumps and breastfeeding supplies. Catering to the military community, the Breastfeeding Shop’s quick and easy service ensures that TRICARE beneficiaries can receive breast pumps and supplies at no-cost to them.