Monday, September 1, 2014

How to Create Your Own PCS Binder

For my last two military moves I have created a PCS Binder. In our previous relocations I had something similar, but it was not organized and I found that to be such a headache! Now I've gotten smarter and this special thing becomes one of the most important items carried with us while we travel from one base to another.

So what is it really?

It holds all our important information that is or may be necessary before, during, and after a move.

I'll start at the beginning.
I'm sure you saw my lovely front cover. It's just my way of trying to get psyched up about our upcoming PCS. I try to include a city map because you'd be surprised how often you'll look at it to use as a reference. Also? It helps me begin to learn the layout of my new home and how to get around.
Open it up and you immediately see my list of Important Dates. These include pre-inspection for housing, last day of school, when the movers will arrive and load the truck, final inspection, the closing of our house, and when our movers will deliver the goods to our new house. Other things maybe to add, if needed, would be final out-processing date, first day of school, travel stop dates, or vacation dates if using leave en route.

At the front of my binder I have the vital pencil pouch with pens, sharpies, pencils, and highlighter. Sometimes you need different things so I like to be safe. Adding a small pair of scissors is also a good idea. If you want to you can include tape, paperclips, mini stapler, and sticky notes.

Now we come to the meat of the binder. I get dividers with pockets to use as my placeholders. GET DIVIDERS WITH THE POCKETS! You don't always get things hole punched and you really want to be able to keep everything together where it belongs!
These dividers are labeled and sometimes I don't use them all. My main ones are for the housing we are leaving, a section JUST for keeping copies of our orders, TMO movers, maps and info to the hotels we have reservations for, new housing stuff, kids' new school information, and health/doctor/therapy. Some people hand carry their medical records but I would not keep them with this binder. This is more for quick reference or fast production of documents.
In each section I also have a few pieces of lined paper for notes as things come up. There are a bunch of them at the back of the binder too for use as needed. Additionally, I keep a few clear document sheet protectors in case I need to keep several pages together and separate for anything else.

Somewhere in the binder I also keep a list of important phone numbers. This can be in the front, at the back, in its own section, or meshed with something else. But make sure the placement makes sense to you. These numbers should include your own cell phones, an emergency contact person (or 2), your previous base, your incoming base, TLF, housing/landlord/realtor, and maybe even your hotels.

When you reach the end of the binder, another pencil pouch can be found. This one is used mainly to hold receipts. Receipts for gas, receipts for the scales from weighing vehicles, receipts for hotels... anything that should be used to claim your reimbursement from financing when in-processing. You don't want to lose these and I found this to be the best way to transport them without losing them.
That concludes the workings of my PCS Binder. It isn't very hard to put together. In fact, if you get the basics laid out before you begin the process of PCSing you simply put the documents in as soon as you receive them and it builds itself. Easy peasy.

  • 3-ring binder (2" or bigger)
  • Dividers with pockets
  • 2 pencil pouches
  • lined paper
  • 2 pencils
  • 2 pens
  • 1 sharpie
  • 1 highlighter
  • List of Important Dates and Times
  • List of Important Phone Numbers
  • Orders
  • 2-3 clear sheet protectors
  • eraser
  • paper clips
  • small scissors
  • tape
  • mini stapler
  • sticky notes
  • spiral notebook

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