Moving In – PCS Tips and Advice

Getting organized and planning your PCS and subsequent move-in are crucial for success.  Life will throw a lot of challenges your way, but a good bit of preparation can make things go a lot smoother.  The first thing you need to do ahead of time is call and set up services to your new house.  This means calling your new utilities and services companies and arranging to start up services.  In many cases such as natural gas, this will require a serviceman show up at your home.  Call several weeks before move-in and set up your dates of service (and if necessary, your in-home service call dates and times) so that you can move in to a fully functioning home.

For families with kids, we’ve underlined all of our kid-specific emphasis items in this article.

Phone, Internet, Cable TV

If you have a family with children, one of the most important things to set up (as quickly as possible) is the cable TV.  Obviously, since Al Gore invented the internet, you almost require internet service to function today.  So, one of your most important appointments is the Phone/ Internet/ Cable TV service installation.  Call early to make this appointment.  Perfect timing is to have the installation person come to your home within the first 24 hours of your move-in!

Before-Move-In Cleaning

It’s always a good idea to hire some professional cleaners before moving into a new home.  As a minimum, we recommend an appointment with Stanely Steemer for carpet cleaining.  Stanley Steemer now also cleans tile and hard-wood flors as well as cleans your air ducts.  Before the movers arrive with all of your boxes, take the time to wipe down all counters and shelves so that you are ready to unload, unpack, and put away all of your belongings.

Schedule your Contractors and Repairmen

If you are purchasing a home, your Home Inspection should have brought up any issues and impending repairs your new home requires.  Additionally, you may elect to repaint portions or all of your home’s interior and/or exterior.  Before you move in, take the time to investigate which repairmen and contractors you wish to hire (or get a price quote from).

It is desirable to call and schedule appointments before you even move in so that the work can be completed as soon as possible.  We recommend using resources such as Angie’s List to read reviews on contractors and repairmen.  If you are interested in repainting your home’s interior – we highly recommend doing this early and hopefully getting this done before your household goods are unloaded from the moving truck.

If you plan on installing garage shelves or overhead storage, try to have the work accomplished before the movers unload your boxes that way you can unpack items and immediately place them in organized storage locations.

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Unload and Unpack

Echoing our advice in our PCS Move Advice article, we recommend placing big sticky notes on the doors of the major rooms in your house so your movers know exactly which room to take your boxes.  Label the name of each of your kids on their bedroom doors.  If you kitchen or other room is particularly small, have a plan on where you want those boxes placed so that you are not “boxed out” of an important part of your house.  Also, remind your movers when they unload the boxes to place them with the label facing outwards and unobstructed so that you can quickly and easily read the contents of each box as you unpack.  Discuss with your spouse how you want the living and family rooms arranged based on the furniture you currently own (i.e. “where do you want the sofa?”)

As soon as your movers unload your boxes, have a plan as to what items in which boxes are the most critical and need to be unpacked your first day.  We suggest, bedding, linens, towels, and some kitchen items.  Also, if you have children, consider unpacking baby bottles, toys, bath items, backpacks for school, and things that can entertain your kids as you spend the next several weeks unpacking (i.e. TV, DVD players, iPods, video game systems, etc.)  Distraction is a good thing.

What did the Movers Break?

Keep a keen eye on the movers as they unload and reassemble your items.  This is the most dangerous portion of your move as the movers have no incentive to be careful – they want to quickly unload your stuff and move on to the next job.  This means they could care less about scraping up your doorways, banging things up and down your stairs, dropping boxes and fragile items, and often, they don’t even unload all of your stuff (and accidentally leave items on their truck when they depart).

Pay close attention when your movers unload big items, furniture, fragile items, and your high value items.  Don’t let them rush you as the unload your boxes in a flurry.  You set the pace of the unload and make sure the movers bring the right boxes to the right rooms.  This is especially important if you have a two-story home – you don’t want heavy wardrobe boxes or furniture delivered to the wrong floor of your house.

As you spot items that are damaged, bring it immediately to your movers’ attention and note what item # or box # it was.  This makes it a lot easier when you submit your damage claim.

Make sure that anything the movers disassembled at your old home they re-assemble at your new home.  Grills/Bar-b-ques need to be placed in the correct location (backyard, etc.)  All garage shelving that was moved needs to be unpacked and re-assembled by your movers once more.

Items that routinely get damaged or are not re-assembled properly include: dining room tables (movers don’t care how they re-attach your table legs – inspect closely); baby cribs and changing tables (movers like to manhandle these items and may not re-attach all hardware or shelving – this can be a safety-related issue); table-top glass (when removing or applying the table-top glass, movers often scratch up tables and/or forget to re-apply the small plastic spacers on the surface).  Movers also like to take apart bicycles and then leave them in disarray in a pile somewhere in your garage – if they took something apart, they are required to put it back together.

When we say keep a close eye on the movers when they re-assemble, we mean keep a very very close eye on them.  They should not be performing “field repairs” on your furniture – we caught a mover with United Van Lines using gorilla glue on our dining room table trying to repair damage he had done.  The same mover (United Van Lines) also broke apart part of our very expensive bedroom headboard and decided to try and gorilla glue that piece back together and not tell us – we didn’t notice until several days later.

By reading the above lessons learned, hopefully you will be able to make your next move-in a smooth one and at least avoid making some of the mistakes we made!

Related Articles:

PCS Packing and Moving Advice
How to File a PCS Damage Claim
PCS Reimbursements
Military PCS Information

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