Military Life

Our First PCS Move

This June we moved from my husbands 1st duty station to his 2nd.  It was bitter sweet, as I’m sure most moves are.  We were excited to see what Virginia had in store for us since neither of us had been there before, but were sad to leave our friends, jobs, and our house. Tennessee had become home.

Prior to moving to Virginia we had a solid plan that consisted of a house to live in, utilities ready to go, and our home goods arriving at our house the day after we arrived.  Everything was going to go smoothly, I was so sure of it that I didn’t even pack a weeks worth of clothes .. HA!  I arrived first at the home we were renting and I was not impressed.  There were dead bugs all over the carpet, the last renter had left random stuff all around the house, it wreaked of dog, and it was just plain dirty (And really why should we have to clean a house that we have never lived in before when we just had to deep clean the house we moved from??).  Once my husband arrived later in the night we made the decision to try to get out of the lease and find somewhere else to live.

Fast forward to the next few days… we were able to get out of the lease, but all the townhouses that were in our budget (which is HUGE compared to TN BAH) and had reasonable commuting distance from work were just plain gross! We came to the conclusion that no one really cares to clean or make needed updates to their homes in this area.

That left us in an Extended Stay hotel and unsure of what to do next and wondering if we made a mistake getting out of our original lease.  Was it really that bad???

So we decided to go check out on post housing, which is where we ended up, just 2 long, weeks later.  We were so excited to get out of the hotel and move into our own space again. Housing on Fort Belvoir is really nice.  We are living in one of the older subdivisions, but it is still a nice home and area and we are very happy we did not stay in the first place.  Though while living in the hotel we had other thoughts…

It has been very nice living in our new digs.  Now we are just waiting on our home goods to arrive and then let the decorating begin!

Lessons learned:

  1. Try really hard not to rent a house that you didn’t quite like the first time you saw it, but were tired of looking for homes online.
  2. Pack at least 2 weeks of clothes.  You never know what could happen. (Or don’t and you will have an excuse to go shopping 😉.)
  3. If needing to live in a hotel for a period of time, make sure it has a kitchen area.  It will be great being able to make your own food, at least what you can with a microwave and 2 burners.
  4. Moving is EXPENSIVE!  Wow, you get to a brand new place with so much to explore and you feel broke.  “Want to go on that Segway tour, honey?” Just kidding we can’t because we both feel like we are going in the hole with this never ending move.😬 Not exactly how you want to feel when you want to act like a tourist.


– Setting up utilities

– Deposit and 1st month rent (Unless you live on post.  We didn’t have to put a deposit down for our home on post, which was great news.)

*Also, I learned that my husband wouldn’t be collecting the new areas BAH rate until he signed in and even then it takes a while to process.  This is very important to know in case you move to an area where rent is 2X more than what it was at your previous location.

– Gas

– Food

– Hotel

– Cleaning supplies

– Household items, such as, curtain rods because your new place doesn’t have any already put in

– Sightseeing (especially if you moved somewhere with a lot of sights to see)

  1. If doing a partial- DITY (Do it yourself) move like us and then get stuck in a hotel.  Bring in any valuables from your car.  We had quite a bit of police presence at our hotel.  Also, I made the mistake of taking with me silly things that I didn’t need and just took up car space, like my tissue paper flowers for my classroom.  I ended up throwing a few away because they blocked my view out of the car.  They would have been much better in a box with the movers.
  2. Moving would be much easier without pets!  Finding a pet friendly hotel can be a pain, plus the pet deposit they will make you pay.
  3. You may be living in a house with no furniture or cooking supplies.  Make sure to pack: camping chairs, shower curtain, towels, a frying and sauce pan, at least a fork and cup for each person, a knife, and a  spatula.  You could bring also bring a few plates, but paper is just as easy.
  4.  Make friends as quickly as possible and if you know of anyone in the area, hit them up!  Transitioning to a new place is much more enjoyable when you have friends.
  5. Depending on where you are moving to, things may be much more expensive.  The cost of living in TN is very cheap compared to VA.  I can tell the difference in cost of gas, food at grocery stores, meals and drinks at restaurants, and housing costs.
  6. Enjoy where you will be living and make the best of it.  You probably didn’t like the last place you lived at right away either.  It takes time.  Stay in communication with friends and family, this will keep you busy.

Thanks for reading!


The pups and I as we left hotel living for our new home.



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