Last week B came home with orders in hand.  10 copies to be exact! It is time to PCS. It just became real that we will PCSing (Permanent Change of Station) from Japan at the end of the year.  We have 4 ½ months to get do things on our Japan bucket list, organize things in the house that we will sell, giveaway, or trash. 

Time to PCS

This will be my 3rd time to PCS.  I would not say I am a pro at it, but I think I could offer some tips to the next spouse who is about to PCS.  Other spouses always tell you about things to look forward to, but I must say I will be very sad to leave Japan.  It has been a blast the almost 4 years we have lived here.  This adventure has been great and we have been lucky to live overseas and experience another country and it’s beautiful cultural.  I know many people who during their time here were homesick, some even have hated it.  Japan felt like home and I did not feel homesick.  I went back to Louisiana where my parents live in 2011 when there was the earthquake here in Japan.  I was there almost two weeks. Other than that, my visit to the States was only to Hawaii for vacation.  Because who doesn’t love sun, sand, and beautiful blue water?

We are lucky to be moving back to a place we are familiar with and own a home there.  This eliminates having to either live in base housing or house hunt. We were stationed there once before.  But if you are going somewhere new, it is always good to reach other to other military spouses.  It could be your ombudsman, FRG, sponsor’s spouse, or even a Facebook page for spouses at the base you will be heading to.  I know I will be reaching out to homeschooling groups, so that toddler girl and I can join in on field trips, play dates, and other homeschool activities. 

I have already started to get ready for the PCS by giving away and selling a few things.  We have found a buyer for our car.  One way to start getting ready and not get overwhelm is to take one room at a time.  It is better than trying to do a little in each room.  

We have already looked at the calendar to see what dates will work best for our pack out, turning off cell phones, canceling ETC for driving tolls, cable, etc.  I have a spreadsheet I am making so that we can check things off here as they are done and also check off for things once we are back in the States that we need to do.

For the pack out my plan is to write numbers on each box for what room it will go into.  (The movers do label each box, but I also want to have my own system) Once we are in the States, I put the number on each bedroom door; to make it easier to know what room each box should go to.  Before anything is packed I like to take picture (and video) of our household goods (HHG).  I like to keep a very up-to-date inventory of our items, along with any item that has a serial number on it.  Things sometimes do get broken and sadly I have heard many people say things have gone missing.  We have been very lucky that nothing has gone missing and the few things that did break was not of value or sentimental to us.  This inventory list should be put in your PCS binder along with other important documents you will be traveling with. 

To avoid having a ton of luggage, we will mail things back to the States that we need right away.  Some of those things are B’s uniforms, our winter coats, most of toddler girl’s homeschooling material, etc.  These will be things we will need within the first week of being there, but do not want to weight our luggage down with it.  We plan to travel with two suitcases, three suitcases max.  Plus, we will each have small carry-on.  

The flight. We will be breaking our flight in half, at least that’s the plan.  We plan to fly to Hawaii and vacation for about a week, before heading to the mainland.  It will help a little bit with getting ourselves slowing on a new time zone. 

Am I ready to leave Japan? No.  But I do know the time is coming, so I will enjoy it as much as I can in the last few months living here. But I do know I will make this PCS go as smoothly as I can, by organizing and doing things ahead of time.

Have a funny, crazy, everything was smooth sailing, or everything went wrong PCS? Comment below and share your PCS experience.  Have a question about PCS? Please ask away. I am here to help.