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A military PCS (permanent change of station) would never be complete without the purge! A military family is packed and moved by a contracted moving company, but that’s not as blissful as it sounds. It actually means that people who won the contract bid by the lowest bidding terms will come move your stuff. Not only that, but these people could care less about custom-made, solid oak dressers and your great-grandmother’s antique hutch. They need to get your stuff in boxes, into crates, and onto trucks as quickly as possible. When unpacking from every PCS so far, we have found broken things.
Hand-in-hand with the pack out is the weight limit. A military family is limited on how much household goods the Army will pay to move. We always know exactly how much our household goods weigh, because when we sign for them on the back end, you see your weight limit and how much weight they moved. Due to the size of our family, we are always very near the line. We don’t have a lot of stuff, we just have heavy stuff. Without fail, every duty station finds us picking up more stuff and that leads to the purge when we get PCS orders.
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With my hubby being a chaplain, we have an allowance for his professional books, or his theology/counseling books. To date, we have not had to count those out for our PCS move, but we were very close coming to Alaska. Since being in Alaska we have added the massive weight of a snowblower, 2 sets of studded tires, and another dresser. My moto is “one thing in, one thing out.” This year, I had bee putting off the ‘out’ part of that equation till we were closer to next summer’s move. These surprise orders meant that I needed to get to the purging part FAST!
[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”2304″ caption=”Organized chaos in the corner.” align=”right” size=”medium” autoHeight=”true”]I grabbed a few boxes and a rubbermaid bin to keep by the door, and began to purge almost right away! Everything that does not belong in our house to us, or that is no longer necessary goes into the appropriate box/bin. I will also dive into closets and ask myself “what have you not touched in 6 months that you really don’t need?” This has been the most help when I open drawers of my ‘dream’ jeans that really do need to go! I can always reward myself with new clothes if I make it back down to that weight, right?
It is extremely helpful when friends call to ask if we need to keep something they are interested in. This is a great time to hit me up for toys or clothes or whatever, because the answer is almost always ‘yes’!! Some things we list for sale, but then you have the inundation of spam that accompanies such a posting.
For me, the stressful part of the purge is guessing how much has joined and how much has to go. When we moved up here to Alaska, we chose to begin a necessary downsize of our household ‘stuff’ and size. So even though we have gained household weight here, we still have the effect of that downsize. I am very thankful for this as we are looking at this 5 week PCS. I don’t have that weight limit hanging over my head. Though I have shared several laughs with my friends here as I state, “Dude, I gatta lose a few hundred pounds by Nov. 1!!”
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This is part of a blogging series Planning a Military Move.