Military Moves Don’t Have to be Stressful, Here’s How You Can Help
by PCSgrades Staff - June 11th, 2022
Let’s face it; no matter how often you do it, military moving is stressful.
Having all your worldly goods packed up and hauled away wears on the best nerves. Saying goodbye to family and friends, leaving your favorite book club or bunco group, and having to part with the best house in the best neighborhood you’ve ever lived in is stress on steroids.
We’ve all heard horror stories: valuable antiques damaged beyond repair, irreplaceable family heirlooms lost forever. Aunt Sallie’s table, Grandma’s sewing machine, and prized baby clothes were all sacrificed to the PCS gods. Or rather damaged, disrespected, and sometimes flat-out lost by seemingly incompetent packers and movers.
But I have to say, despite the anxiety that sometimes accompanies finding a new house, a new school, or a new spouse club, my biggest stressor with every move is thinking about what I might lose this time. Would this PCS be the move where my original Dark Side of the Moon album would break or, worse yet, disappear? Would my holiday dishes make it in one piece? I know these are all just “things,” but they are my things. And the emotional attachment to my most cherished possessions is irreplaceable.
Should you move yourself as a military family?
We were lucky in that all our moves were stateside. I was able to transport my most valuable possessions in my car. During every military move, my husband would just roll his eyes as I would stuff the car full of my scrapbooks, family photos, my kid’s baby teeth, and wisps of hair from their first haircuts. And there was no way I could trust any moving company to transport them safely.
There are many reasons military families choose to move themselves in what used to be called a DITY (Do-it-Yourself) move, and is now referred to as a PPM (Personally Procured Move). One major reason to choose a PPM for your next PCS move is because you have control over your own belongings, and it's much less likely for anything to go missing when you pack it yourself.
Read more about the difference between a PPM and a standard military move here.
But what if you can’t PPM/DITY?
But it isn't always possible for military families to pack and move themselves. For overseas military moves or even some cross-country moves, you can't always move your prized possessions yourself. We’re familiar with the heartbreaking stories of HHG shipments lost or damaged every day. We even hear nightmare stories of items covered in black mold, bug-infested, or many times completely lost.
Military spouse Renee G. says, “I have photos of one of our moves that would make your head spin. The driver put my antique table leaves under the belly of the truck. And they tied our mattress to the back of the overflow truck!”
While there’s no way to avoid all mishaps when moving, you can help make the process more bearable and efficient. When military families submit reviews on their packers and movers, it strengthens the voice of the entire military community.
Reviews are important for PCS moves
Military families can help each other by writing honest reviews of their moving companies.
Dealing with a favorably reviewed moving company can provide peace of mind that your belongings will be treated with respect. Likewise, it’s possible to avoid a particular company if the reviews show frequent or severe shortcomings. In some cases, you can request NOT to work with a particular moving company (although still subject to DoD approval). If you read reviews about your moving company that indicate a history of damaged electronics, you might consider a partial DITY/PPM.
“I had a Disney snow globe collection,” says Sherry M. “It was over 20 years old, and they broke ALL of them before they ever got them out of the house!” Suffice it to say, Sherry will never work with those movers again! Wouldn’t you like to know which company she worked with? Well, you can find out by reading reviews.
Access reviews written by and for military families here.
Documented reviews are better than social media rants
Many moving companies are leery of online review forums. Legitimate reviews from verified military members in an open, third-party forum have a much bigger impact than anonymous/un-verified reviews, and certainly more so than venting in a closed group on Facebook.
The PCSgrades review process is meant to encourage and reward positive behavior among the companies and professionals we all do business with. Our review forum allows participating companies and PCSgrades members to start a conversation through our messaging system. This communication between military families and moving companies is unprecedented.
Your reviews are supplying Military and Veteran Support Organizations with unique and reputable data so they can wield even greater authority when advocating on behalf of military families everywhere.
Be part of the solution for military moves!
As in many situations affecting the military community, most family members seek to be part of the solution. We feel strongly that moving companies should be held accountable just like all the professionals and vendors who impact the military moving process. The claims process needs to be easier to navigate. Military families should not have to endure added stress and financial loss to serve America.
Help your fellow military and veteran families by leaving a review on your base housing, your local neighborhood, or your last moving company. Your experiences, observations, and yes, even your horror stories help all of us as we move around the world.