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The PCS Moving Binder: Your Guide to a Flawless Relocation

How to Create Your Own Moving Binder

Military life is spent on the move, frequently packing up one residence and heading to the next. In fact, military families move on average once every four years, according to a study from The Professional Counselor Journal.

Moving is an exciting, but often stressful time, especially if you only have a few months to pull it off.

Planning ahead and keeping a moving binder will help you save time, effort and money.

Here are a few other quick tips to get your move started on the right track:

  1. Start looking for new housing options as soon as possible. To simplify the process, use a home affordability calculator to help determine how much house you can afford before you start getting excited about a potential home.
  2. Purge the clutter before and during packing. Start and keep a "For Sale" pile of items to donate or sell. Keep donation receipts for tax write-offs.
  3. While packing, keep a "Do Not Pack" pile to prevent any chance of valuable items accidentally making their way onto the moving truck.
  4. Small tasks are easily forgotten in the midst of a move. Set reminders on a smartphone or calendar to stay focused.

What to Include in Your Moving Binder

Once you have a sturdy three-ring binder and some pocket dividers or tabs, it's time to determine what you need in it based on your specific moving situation. Here are a few recommended sections to help keep everything related to the move in order:

Household Inventory List and Moving Checklists

Packing is the most time-consuming part of any move and can often cause the most amount of stress. Start right away by creating a list of all possessions, organized by room. If possible, include the price you paid for it and serial number – having these items can help speed along an insurance claim if anything breaks or goes missing.

One easy way to stay on track is to create your own moving checklist or step-by-step timeline of your move. It can be helpful to set packing goals for three months out, two months out, one month and so on all the way up to moving day.

While packing, label boxes with their contents and use a color-coded system to match what room each box goes in using the inventory list you created when you first started organizing. Color coding rooms and boxes will help save time while unloading the moving truck. Give the movers a copy as well so they can efficiently unload the truck.

If you are shipping any possessions, like extra-large furniture, include all reservations, shipping paperwork and delivery dates in this section.

Important Family Documents

Keep a separate section to house all of your family's important documentation, such as:

  • Birth certificates,
  • Medical, dental and optical records,
  • Social security cards,
  • Marriage certificates (or divorce decrees),
  • Photocopies of passports, driver's licenses and other forms of identification,
  • Passports (tip: place in a plastic bag and hole-punch)
  • Insurance policies,
  • Financial paperwork, such as credit cards and outstanding bills,
  • Vehicle title,
  • All pet ownership and vaccination paperwork, and
  • Wills and other legal information

Vital Moving Documents

Keep all documents related to the move in one safe place, for both the new home and the one you’re leaving behind. For the old, include old mortgage paperwork, a list of important home-related accounts like utilities, and other reports about your old home.

For the new, keep track of all moving related expenses that may be tax deductible, such as receipts for the moving company or truck and any stop along the way. Also, include an extra copy of your travel itinerary along with any airline tickets or rental car information.

Whom to Notify List

Schedule appointments early to ensure all family members and pets are up-to-date on their immunizations and vaccinations before the move. Moving often requires lots of appointments at both homes. Use this section to keep track of all of those appointments, obligations and subscriptions.

  • Professional Services:
    • Attorneys and accountants
    • Tax assessors
    • Insurance companies
    • Doctors, dentists and other medical professionals
    • Veterinarian
  • Community
    • Employer
    • Schools
    • Alumni associations
    • Clubs and organized groups
    • Gym memberships
  • Home Services and Utilities
    • Telephone, internet and cable services
    • Gas and electric services
    • Home security company
    • Magazine, newspaper and catalog subscriptions
  • Finances
    • Banks, credit unions and loan companies
    • Credit card companies
    • Financial advisor or investment counselor
    • Any company with an outstanding balance
  • Government Agencies
    • IRS change of address form
    • U.S. Postal Service
    • Voter registration
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Social Security Administration
    • DMV - new and old

Spending the time to get organized before your move can take a huge amount of anxiety out of an upcoming relocation.

Before you start your journey, get a military savvy team on your side. Talk with a Veterans United VA Loan Expert anytime at 885-870-8845 about VA Loans and relocation.

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