Spring Cleaning: PCS Edition

Keating Bartlett

Springtime is here and it is the perfect time to dive into some cleaning. Spring cleaning has a whole new meaning to military families as this is the time of year that many are PCS’ing to a new duty station. This means a lot of cleaning and often, a lot of downsizing as well.  Sometimes cleaning out the old to make room for the new can be fun and exciting.  It’s refreshing to do one big cleanup of all of your belongings and to get rid of things you don’t need anymore.  Your home always feels fresh and new afterwards.  So I’m sharing five tips for spring cleaning if you are planning on making a move this summer.

Discard old documents.  For me, this is the most important item on this list.  It can be easy to hoard documents over the years, but it’s so important to go through them all and determine what you need and don’t need.  If you don’t need it and it happens to contain personal information such as social security numbers, birthdates, addresses, etc., then you should probably shred it.  You wouldn’t want this information getting into the wrong hands.  Once you’ve determined what you do and do not need, it’s then important to make sure the files you keep are in a safe place.  I always recommend families create a PCS binder of some sort to keep these types of documents in.  Documents may include birth certificates, your marriage license, any leases you have on apartments and/or cars, social security cards, passports, military orders, the title to your car, insurance information, moving documents, etc.  The list goes on.  In short, any important documents that you need to have on hand during your move should be kept in the same place.

Declutter your home.  We all have some type of clutter in our homes.  Go through every single room and determine what items in that room are really liked and/or needed.  Sometimes we keep things just because we feel like it but we don’t really have any type of a connection to that item.  Don’t keep items simply because you liked it at one point.  If you don’t have a use for it, then it’s just taking up space in your home.  Add it to your yard sale or donate it if you can.  Either way, get rid of it.  

Toys are a big one when it comes to decluttering.  Kids tend to collect a lot of toys throughout the years.  Some of them aren’t even touched on a daily, or even weekly basis.  So this is another area you can spring clean in your home as well.  Any toys that your children do not play with or have outgrown can be added to your yard sale or even donated to a charity.  If the toy is broken, then it can go in the trash.  Sometimes children have a hard time parting with their toys. If that’s the case, try explaining to them that they’re helping out another little boy or girl.  Sometimes knowing that a toy is going to a loving home where it will be played with every day can help a child let go of it more easily.

Clothing is another area that needs attention when it comes to decluttering.  Many of us tend to hoard clothes, but it’s good to clean some of it out in order to make room for new items.  Go through your closet and create three piles.  One pile for items you’re keeping, another pile for items that go in the trash, and a third pile for items you plan to donate/sell.  If the item doesn’t fit properly or hasn’t been worn in a while, then you should get rid of it.  I have a rule when it comes to my clothing that if it hasn’t been worn in two months, then it can go.  Some items such as dresses or weather/occasion-specific clothing are the exception to this rule, since it’s not likely that you’ll wear those things as often.  Any clothing that contains holes, rips, and/or stains that can’t be washed out can go in the trash.  Once you’ve gone through all of your clothing, you can move on to other areas of your wardrobe likes shoes, accessories, pj’s, lingerie, etc.  Same rules apply here as well.  It can be hard to part with clothing, but everything can be replaced.  Getting rid of items that you don’t wear and/or that don’t fit you properly allows you to make room for newer items.  And who doesn’t like an updated wardrobe?

Start on the deep-cleaning.  If you live on-base, then a deep clean has to happen at some point.  This is the perfect time to start working on it before you have an inspection. Go through each room of your house and do all the tasks you wouldn’t normally do on a daily or weekly basis.  Deep clean the carpets, move around furniture and appliances to clean underneath them, clean on top of the fridge, deep-clean the stove.  The list goes on.

Sell some furniture.  Depending on where you’re PCS’ing to, you may have a limit on how much you can bring to your new base.  This means you may have to do some downsizing.  Go through all of your furniture and appliances and determine what absolutely has to go and what could potentially be sold. Any money you make from a yard sale can be used to replace these items once you get to your new base.  If there are items you can’t take with you, but don’t want to get rid of, put those in storage.

Host a yard sale.  Once you’ve worked your way through your entire home and determined what you want and don’t want, then it’s time to have a yard sale or donate these items.  There are plenty of military families who are moving in around you, so there’s bound to be someone out there who is looking for something that you happen to be trying to get rid of.  It works out for everyone.  

PCS season is stressful enough, but adding in these spring cleaning tasks can make the process much easier.  Your home will then be left feeling much cleaner and ready for your upcoming move.



Keating Bartlett is a military wife, freelance writer, PR student at SNHU, marketing and PR enthusiast, coffee addict and the girl behind Keating & Co..  Her husband has been in the U.S. Marine Corps for five years now and they are currently enduring a year-long separation while he is stationed overseas.  Her blog is a beauty and lifestyle blog with a focus on beauty, married life, military life, and so much more!  You can keep up with their life by visiting keatingandco.com or follow her on Twitter at @keatingbartlett.

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