After weeks or even months of waiting, it’s finally time to pack and move your stuff. But where to start? Military OneSource is committed to making your PCS move as smooth as possible, and below you’ll find an overview of what to expect during the actual moving days for a household goods shipment. The Personal Property Quick Reference Guide is also a great resource to give you a snapshot of the key responsibilities for both you and your transportation service provider, or TSP, during each step of the process.
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Before the packers arrive
It’s important to make sure that you and your residence are ready for a flurry of activity. If you haven’t checked out some of these packing tips, now would be a great time. Being proactive about your move is the best way to make it as stress-free as possible.
A representative from the moving company or your TSP will call or come by your residence to complete a Pre-Move Survey. During the survey, they will complete a weight estimation and note any special items that you identified when you arranged your move. If you are within a week of your scheduled move date and a survey has not been completed on your home, it’s highly recommended that you reach out to the TSP or your local transportation office for assistance.
Pro tip: Make your own inventory
- Before the packers come, it’s recommended that you document any high-value and electronic items yourself. Check out How to Inventory Your Belongings for a helpful guide. Make sure you document the make and serial number of each item, along with a photo or video of the item showing its condition. (If it’s a TV, appliance, or other electronic, a simple video showing it working can save you a headache later.)
- In addition to keeping your own record, make sure these details are also listed on the TSP’s inventory sheet for these items BEFORE the truck leaves your house.
Special note: Mold management
When shipping goods, it’s extremely important to try and prevent the spread of mold, which can be a health risk and can spread to other shipments that come in contact with it. Prior to your move, you must ensure your personal property is free of any visual signs of mold. Work with your TSP during packing and loading days to reduce any exposure that could result in mold. At delivery, your TSP will conduct any remediation work caused by mold.
Packing days are different from loading/moving days. During the packing phase, your TSP will send packers to your home to put all your items in boxes. You or your designated agent must be available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on these days. The loading/moving phase includes the dates that movers put your household goods on the truck, with your final loading date usually being moving day.
The packers will contact you ahead of time to inform you they will be coming on the scheduled pack dates and within a specified time period. It’s critical that you’re available during this time. If for some reason the TSP fails to show, quickly notify your local transportation office and your TSP.
The packers will load just about anything and everything that they can fit into boxes during this portion, which can be a blessing and a challenge. Make sure to sort out what needs to go with you (and not on a moving truck) before pack day, or you run the risk of those things getting lost in the mix of boxes.
Items to hand carry
Separate anything you plan to take/keep with you from the rest of your belongings. Put these items into a closet or your vehicle before the packers arrive. Clearly mark the area with a “Do Not Pack” sign. See these suggestions for what to hand carry when you move.
Special note: Secure your pets on packing day
Anytime packers, movers or other representatives helping you with your move are scheduled to be at your home, please make sure pets are secured and out of the way. This will make the process smoother, distraction-free and safer for your pets.
Call your local transportation office.
If at any point something doesn’t feel right during the packing process, call your local transportation office and ask for assistance from an inspector or quality assurance personnel.
Loading and Moving day(s)
The truck has arrived, and it’s time for all of your household goods to be loaded. Remember, you or your designated agent must be available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. During loading/moving, the driver of the truck is usually in charge of the show and will make sure there is a crew and that everything is properly loaded onto the truck before departing. If you run into any issues during this phase, talk with the driver first, and if the issue can’t be resolved, don’t hesitate to call your local transportation office for help.When your movers first arrive
When they first arrive, the loading crew is required to put down some type of material (plastic, fabric, etc.) to protect your flooring, doorways and any tight corners. If damage is done to your residence, you have the option to file a Real Property Damage claim. For information about claims, review the Understanding Moving Claims MilLife Guide.During packing and loading
During packing and loading, the TSP will create an inventory of your household items and put colored numbered stickers on all the boxes and larger items such as couches and household appliances. On the inventory sheets, they will also indicate whether any of your household goods had pre-existing damage.After everything is loaded on the truck
After everything is loaded on the truck, do a walk-through with the driver to make sure everything is out of your residence and loaded so that nothing gets left behind. Ask the driver to provide his/her phone number so you can reach them if needed.
Pro tip: Note before you sign
The last thing you do on moving day is sign the inventory sheet. If you don’t agree with something on that form, make sure you note it in the remarks section BEFORE signing. Also, remember to keep your copy of the inventory sheets — you’ll need them during the delivery of your goods.
Special note: Containerization
In some cases, such as overseas moves, containers and crates are used to ship and store your household goods.
- See the Personal Property Containerization Fact Sheet for more details on this method.
- Listen to the Containerization of Your Personal Property podcast for more information.
On the road
Because you are traveling to your next destination, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open and be available for the TSP driver and your moving coordinator. If your driver or your moving coordinator has any updates, they may try to contact you as they make their way to your next destination, so it’s important you be available to answer any questions.
Direct delivery vs. storage
- If you have arranged a direct delivery move, you MUST arrive at the delivery destination before the driver. If the driver arrives at your new residence before you do, they may have to put your items in storage, depending on their schedule.
- If you had planned for your items to go directly into storage, you have more flexibility with your arrival timing.
Notification of delivery
- The TSP must provide 24-hour notice before delivery.
- They will attempt to contact you twice, at least six hours apart.
- If they do not hear back from you within the 24-hour notice timeframe, they may try to call the local transportation office and have your belongings placed in storage.
Once your goods are in storage, it can sometimes take up to a few weeks to get them delivered again.
Pro tip: Emergency contact
It’s a good idea to provide your TSP with an emergency contact in case the driver cannot get in touch with you during transit.
You or your designated agent must be available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Before the truck is unloaded, you can expect to do a walk-through with the driver and the delivery crew to identify any pre-existing damage to the residence and to let them see the layout of the home to determine the best way to unload your household goods. As with your loading day, the delivery crew is required to put down some type of material to protect your flooring and any tight corners that may be in the residence as well.
Keep track of your inventory.
Prior to the delivery crew offloading your household goods, they will give you the inventory sheets so you can check off the “numbers” to ensure everything is delivered. The use of bingo cards/check-off sheets is another way the crew can check off the numbers. These are only internal moving company documents.
Special note: Personally check off all numbers on the inventory sheet.
Do not let the delivery crew check off the numbers on the inventory sheet. This is not in your best interest.
As the boxes come off the truck, you should expect to direct the crew to a room where you’d like each one to go. If you’ve got friends or family who can help during this phase, that’s always a bonus.
Verify all of your items have been delivered.
Once the truck is empty, you should verify on the inventory sheet that everything has been delivered.
Special note: Note lost or damaged items.
- Note any missing items on the inventory sheet before you sign it.
- Note any damage that may have occurred to the residence.
- Any items not received or that arrive damaged should be written on the Notification of Loss or Damage at Delivery form provided by the driver.
- Remember to keep your inventory sheets until your claims process is complete.
Select how to have your goods unpacked.
Unloading at destination includes the one-time laying of rugs and the one-time placement of furniture and like items in a place you or your representative has designated. You also have a couple of unpack options the delivery crew can do for you:
- Full — the movers unpack all the contents of the boxes in your specified rooms.
- Partial — the movers open, but do not unpack, boxes in select areas.
- You can also have your mover reassemble any furniture that they took apart at the origin (beds, couches, etc.).
The movers are responsible for hauling away empty boxes and packing materials after they’ve finished delivering your belongings, but they are not required to come back after that. If you ask them to come back to take your empty boxes and they agree to do it, that’s great. If possible, have everything piled up in one location to get this done quickly.
Questions about the moving process?
If you have questions or concerns at any time during the moving process, contact your local transportation office.
Filing moving claims.
For information about filing a loss or damage claim, review the Understanding Moving Claims MilLife Guide.
Customer satisfaction surveys.
Remember to fill out your Customer Satisfaction Surveys. These surveys help the Defense Department know what to focus on for future changes to make the program better for both you and your fellow moving customers.
Resources, benefits and support services for Managing Your Moving Days
RESOURCES FOR MANAGING YOUR MOVING DAYS
BENEFITS & SUPPORT SERVICES FOR MANAGING YOUR MOVING DAYS
Related MilLife Guides