Throughout the entire pandemic, the one thing I kept saying to Nick was, “Thank God we aren’t moving!” And, “How lucky are we to have just moved before all this started?!” Ha!
When we found out we were PCSing to Colorado, I understood the reasons why, but I was bitter, angry, and scared. I hadn’t even been going to the grocery store, so the idea of dealing with movers and finding a place to live and traveling to Colorado had me really nervous.
I was completely overwhelmed with how to PCS not only with a toddler, which I had never done before, but also during a pandemic. So I thought I’d put a few posts about this together in case you find yourself in the same situation as me (hopefully not, as things hopefully will be getting better soon… but isn’t that what we’ve been saying for months now?)
Today I’m going to give a broad overview on how we did it and then I will put together some posts breaking down our RV trip and the things I bought to keep M occupied during the trip. Please ask me any questions about anything I may have overlooked!
Nick and I are extremely disorganized people by nature. So we work really hard to make up for it, and I think that the result is that we end up super over the top organized.
Nick made a PCS checklist that he divided into multiple categories – do now, do soon, do the day the movers get here, do the day before we leave, etc. We divided up the checklist (with Nick admittedly doing most of it). He also made a packing list with everything we would need for our move.
We save money for moving every single month, whether we just moved or are planning to move soon. That money goes into a separate account so we don’t even notice it’s missing. That helped a lot with all of the cost of moving so unexpectedly.
I think that there is a misconception out there that the military pays for your entire move – it doesn’t! We are out thousands of dollars every time we PCS. And by the time we recover, it’s time for the next move. This is one of my biggest gripes with military life. Bailey actually just posted a really interesting post about all of the costs she incurred with her PCS to Germany (also during a pandemic, with a baby).
I immediately got my PCS closet ready. Whenever we are PCSing, I pick a closet, take everything out of it and stash it wherever, and slowly put in things we will need for our PCS.
It is so nice to do this slowly instead of in a rush at the end. I am pretty much the opposite of a procrastinator – I need to do things immediately otherwise I get really anxious. We have to take with us lots of important papers like our birth certificates, medical records, etc, so I got all of that ready and put them in the closet, along with whatever else we needed.
Sometimes I would walk by something and realize I needed to bring it with us, so I’d immediately put it in the closet. I stashed away some toys and books as well, so that M wouldn’t have seen them for a while and they would be “new” again during the trip.
We have never bought at home. After briefly considering buying a home in Colorado, we decided to stick with renting. It all just felt too rushed with covid and the idea of buying a house sight unseen during a pandemic in a place I’ve never been before just was way too much.
After finding out that BAH doesn’t really seem to match the rent out here, we set up a Zillow alert with all of our requirements. We got an alert that a beautiful place in our budget was going to be available soon. We contacted the landlords, did a virtual tour with the tenant, and signed a lease within 24 hours. The house was just fine, it was in the neighborhood we wanted, and it was in our budget. This was a huge relief to both of us.
This is the first time that we have ever rented a place sight unseen. We didn’t even know anyone out here who could go look at it.
But with covid, I didn’t want to be touring multiple homes and then have to wait for applications to be processed and the landlords to get back to us and then for a move-in day. We also knew we would be living in a trailer when we got to Colorado, and I wanted to be able to move into our house as soon as we arrived. It was so nice to just have the house ready that I would definitely do it that way again.
I do wish we had the chance to look at different neighborhoods in person, but that is really not that important compared to everything else we needed to balance with this move. And it’s not like we’re going to be here forever.
The day the movers arrived, we kept the doors and windows open all day and asked them to only use one bathroom. I kept M away from the movers. We did the best we could to stay away from them but I really didn’t like having them in our house.
And we did the same thing when the movers arrived in Colorado. It was like 20 degrees outside, so M and I hung out in her room all day with a space heater on. I asked the movers to leave everything for her room in a different room so that we could just hang out in that room without having to be near the movers.
The movers on both ends gave us a really hard time about wearing masks. We had to constantly remind them to put them back on and they kept asking us if they could take them off. They also kept complaining to us about wearing masks. We were told by the moving company that everyone, including us, was required to wear masks at all times, so I wasn’t expecting that kind of push back and it really annoyed me.
It was really difficult to decide how to get to Colorado. If you are PCSing within the continental US, you are responsible for getting yourself and your cars there. So the military won’t buy you a plane ticket or pay to ship your cars.
We debated the safest ways to get to Colorado. We thought about all of the options. It was very hard because at that time, we had no idea what the pandemic would look like when we were moving. We were making decisions for a couple of months down the line when things were changing every day. We decided to drive in an RV.
After looking into renting an RV vs buying one, we decided to buy a small 23-foot travel trailer. We wanted to buy it not only for this trip, but to use to explore Colorado while we’re here. I know that we are extremely lucky to be able to afford to do this and I will post more about our trip in the RV soon.
Do you have any questions about our PCS? In case you haven’t noticed, I am an open book, so ask me anything!