The Defense Department stop-move order continues through June, but, if it is lifted then, PCS season will begin in earnest. To make your PCS move as stress-free as possible, Service members and families should begin preparing, according to Carlton Freese, transportation officer at the Logistics Readiness Center-Belvoir.

“My office is the starting point for everyone who is conducting PCS,” Freese said. “We process Service member and civilian applications for their outbound PCS moves. We ensure the entitlements that Service members are authorized is what they are getting, in accordance with regulations.”

Freese said the first step for everyone is to complete a self-counseling form on Move.mil, which provides guidance for all activities associated with processing shipments and storing personal property. The Move.mil automated counseling is available online 24/7 and provides information on what may or may not be shipped with household goods, and identifies the responsibilities of members, employees and providers at origin and destination. 

“The key point is that the client has orders in hand, as the orders contain either line accounting or designated funding for the move,” Freese said. “To have the best chance of getting requested pack-out and pick-up dates, they should submit their application as soon as they get their orders.”

If a Service member would like to come in, they’re welcome to talk to a household goods officer. 

Several categories are required to come in for face-to-face counseling, including retirees; ETS/Separatees; first-time movers; and wounded warriors, who are all handled on an appointment basis. 

The U.S. Transportation Command’s official Defense Department moving portal suggests moving on days that aren’t popular, including in the middle of any month, as those days are usually more available than the beginning or end of a month. 

People getting ready to PCS should also take photos of their property before the move, including pictures of the home’s condition before the movers get there. You can also take videos of electronics to show them working, in case they are damaged during the move. That way, you’ll have proof of damage, according to the TransCom moving portal website.

Another tip is to mark or block off items or areas as “do not pack.” Those items would be things you need during the trip to your new location, important items, or things you don’t want the movers to pack. This also includes making sure your car keys, IDs, passports and travel documents are not accidentally packed.  

Freese said the stop-move orders have put all shipping in flux, but he would be happy to talk to clients about it. LRC is open Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to noon, and 12:30 to 3 p.m.; and Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon, at 9910 Tracey Loop. Appointments are available by calling 703-805-5674.