Written outline of the plan ending with “Plan, Clean, Organize.”

My PCS Game Plan


Word has officially arrived, we got movers! This big detail that dictates so much has been weighing on my mind for months now. First, we found out our request for orders was under review to learn if the medical requirements for our family member with special needs could be met in the new location. That alone almost sent me into panic mode. Next, we got our orders late — wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not. Finally, we weren’t sure if we were going to get movers. But here we are! We are moving in two months EXACTLY to the day. Do you want to know what I have been doing all day so far? You guessed it, planning and organizing. My itch to start purging, cleaning and organizing has been present for several weeks now; but I haven’t had the time or confirmation of orders to do it. Alas, everything is a go. And I can’t wait to share my game plan with you.

  1. Kids room. My first order of business is the kids room. For the sake of space, our two kids are sharing a room. And you know what that means: double toys, double dirty clothes, double shoes, and mostly, double mess! I know once this room gets done, I will feel better mentally. So, I’m starting here. This is not a room I want to leave till the last minute. I still have a lot of energy because I’m just beginning, but I know if I wait the overwhelming nature of children’s rooms chaos will be more daunting. And honestly, I would probably procrastinate. So, I take the opportunity to go through all their clothes and toys and make a donate pile and a list of things (mostly clothing) that they might need before moving. All the while they are recruited to be my assistants and help do little things that would slow me down during the process.
  2. Closets. Next, I move on to smaller projects like storage closets, the pantry, laundry room, office space and then bedroom closets. This is a great time to purge and simplify your life. It is also great to see what you might need more of in the next house — things you’ve been low on, like towels or sheets or storage bins for paper. I like to keep a running list of things I come across that we need more of so I can be prepared financially and so I don’t forget. I’ll wait until we are settled in our new house before buying any of that. Also, make a plan for all your food in your pantry. Make sure to take stock and come up with a plan to use it all before you move. I also like to find a neighbor or friend that I’ll keep on standby for any useful, used items or products I don’t want to move with or throw away, like cleaning products or food.
  3. Bedrooms. If you have already done the kids room, then this will leave you with the guest room and master. I would couple a playroom with kids rooms. We don’t keep a lot of stuff in our bedroom and guest room. But this is when I evaluate our furniture. Is there anything we need? Or anything we can get rid of? Do we need to get rid of stuff because the next house is smaller? Is there anything we need to buy before we move? And I like to go through our sentimental items, too. I want to make sure everything is organized and stored properly before we move. This is also where important papers get organized and checked.
  4. Kitchen and living room. We have a simple living room (no toys allowed!) so besides going through the furniture and seeing if there’s anything to purge, it will be an easy task. Of course, kitchens are a big project. I’ll start with my junkier drawers: get them organized, try to downsize items. And then I’ll move on to every cabinet and drawer, purging duplicates, mismatched items and older items that haven’t been used once in this house. I’ll also wipe down all the drawers and cabinets, so it is one less thing to worry about when it comes to cleaning time after the movers. I’ll also start stashing items we want to bring with us to have before our goods are delivered.
  5. Garage, attic and yard. This is my least favorite one. And it is so time-consuming. But I know it is the biggest project that has been weighing on me. I will work on this project a little at a time on the weekends leading up to the move. I also tend to buy a lot of storage containers during this stage because I know it will be easier to organize on the back end when as much as possible is stored in clear tubs. I also mark all my tubs with genres and put an index card on every side and top, but from the inside so they won’t be torn off in transit. I keep a donation pile in the garage for anything I find that I need to get rid of. If the pile becomes too big, then I’ll have a garage sale.
  6. Bathrooms. I like to go through all my makeup and skincare to look for expired stuff so I can just get rid of that. As I’m going through the bathrooms, I will store things differently back into the cabinets and drawers. I’ll separate it based on what I need to bring with me when we move, as in, in my car with me, and things that can be boxed up and transported. I feel like most of our bathroom stuff tends to stick around with us.

This is my personal game plan. Once I’ve gone through the whole process of purging, organizing and cleaning, the movers can come in and start boxing up each room! I will already have everything I need to take with me in our vehicles before they show up, so we don’t run the risk of accidentally packing up something that wasn’t supposed to be packed up. Keep in mind that there are likely to be long delays in deliveries of goods and make sure to think through everything you might need (consider accessing loan closets for stuff to have while you wait for your stuff). I plan on packing up enough stuff to live for a month without our household goods. I have heard stories recently of families having to wait four months for stuff and it wasn’t even an overseas PCS!

Alas, the last thing I must mention is that it’s a good idea to make a PCS binder to keep all of your moving paperwork, pictures of valuable items and condition of furniture as a reference point just in case. Fingers crossed I won’t need them, and you won’t either!

photo of Katelyn Nixon
Written By Katelyn Nixon
Army Spouse

Katelyn has been a military spouse for six years and enjoys the adventurous lifestyle. To share her experiences with other spouses, she started a blog in 2018.

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