Military Life, Travels

The Ultimate PCS Binder Guide

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The Ultimate PCS Binder Guide

PCSing = Permanent Change of Station


Start packing sugar cakes….you’re moving!

When I was a kid I LOVED moving! We only moved a couple of times during my childhood, and it was only across town but man I thought it was so exciting! Now that I am an adult I have moved three times, but they were just across my hometown. Two years ago my husband and I bought our first house and I moved by myself (well with the help of friends and family) because the hubs was in Tanzania. It was NOT the fun and exciting experience I remembered from my childhood. It was hot, and there was a lot of stress and tears involved!

Well now it is time to move again, and this time is a big one! This is our first official PCS and we are going to Germany. If you read my Meet Lindsey post, then you’ll know I’m excited but also super duper stressed. I am totally type A and this has for sure been a learning experience! One of the very first things I did after getting our orders was create a PCS binder. I made some mistakes in the beginning, but now that we have made it over some of the big PCSing hurdles I am pleased to say this bad boy has served me well! What is this PCS binder you speak of?

What is a PCS Binder?

It is the mother load of your life! Haha…but really….it has everything in it that you need in life to be an official person with a life! From shipping inventories to passports and SS cards it has it all! With moving across the country or even world, much of your stuff is out of your control. You don’t want the important stuff to be all mixed in with your home decor or kitchen boxes so it is a great idea to keep it all together.

Now, at first, was all about the cuteness of this binder. I bought a three-ring binder from Target and boy was it cute! After about an hour of assembling this thing, I realized my mistake! It wasn’t big or secure enough! Without a way to really close it, my passports were falling out all over the place!

PCS Binder for any military pcs. Follow this guide to make your own.

So back to the store I went….this time I went to Office Depot and bought an accordion file folder. Round two was also a fail. I didn’t like the accordion because it was hard to see each paper down in the files and the smaller things like SS cards kept getting lost in the bottom. Third time is a charm, right? RIGHT! 🙂


PCS Binder for any military pcs. Follow this guide to make your own.

I finally went with this binder and it has been perfect!

PCS Binder

I would suggest getting a binder/trapper keeper that zips! The one I got came with extra pockets that zipped with was great to keep my smaller items like SS cards and passports safe and sound! This has been a LIFESAVER!

PCS Binder

PCS Binder

PCS Binder for any military pcs. Follow this guide to make your own.

Now, throwing everything in a binder is not going to fly when you’re standing at the airport or the travel office and you can’t find anything. So, get some dividers and a label maker and start organizing.

As a military wife….you need to go ahead and get a label maker right now! They are so awesome! This one is super cheap and does a great job!! 🙂

PCS Binder Sections/Tabs

Here are the sections I had. You may need more or less depending on your family situation!PCS Binder for any military pcs. Follow this guide to make your own.

Important Documents- Orders, orders and more copies of your orders. Your birth certificates, titles to your cars/house. Bonus: Keep a copy of your passwords list here too! I can’t live without that thing!!

Medical- Copies of EFMP paperwork, vision, dental, shot and immunization records, and doctor records of everyone in your family.

Pet– Copies of shot records, microchipping documents, and vet records. You MUST have original copies!!!!!

House- We sold our house so I kept everything related to that in this section.

Shipments- Inventory list and all the papers the movers give you.- Keep video and pictures of all your stuff on your phone! I even emailed them to myself just in case!

Budget– If you want to keep a budget (we didn’t :P) We did, however, keep travel-related receipts here.

Work- Anything related to your career…I keep letters of recommendations, copies of resumes, and copies of school records like transcripts here.

Notes- I took lots of notes from other service members and spouses who had lived in our destination.

Contacts- Keep all the phone numbers here! I kept all the number of our current post and our destination post on file! Bonus tip: Add the super important ones to your favorites on your phone!

That is only 9 in all…not too overwhelming!

So remember …. it doesn’t have to be cute, but it does have to be functional!

PCS Binder for any military pcs. Follow this guide to make your own.

If you have any other tips or questions drop a comment below!

Happy travels,



Want more? Head over here for more PCS tips and tricks!

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21 thoughts on “The Ultimate PCS Binder Guide

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  3. Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any helpful hints for newbie blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    1. Hi! Thanks! I’m so happy to have you here! I still feel pretty new to the blogging game as I started this about 10 months ago! My biggest advice would be not to compare yourself to other bloggers on social media. It can be so discouraging when you focus on how many followers, likes, and shares other are getting in comparison to yourself! Make sure your site is clean, organized and has quality content! Think about your readers as you write each post:) Good luck and feel free to ask me anything any time! :)- Lindsey

  4. Hello! Relocating to Italy next month with the Navy and I have a binder similar to yours.. Helps me keep my stress at bay! My husband, 10 month old pup, and myself are first time OCONUS goers 🙂 Biggest headache so far is preparing our dog for the move.. Can’t wait to settle in over there and R E L A X once again! Love your blog, xoxo.

    1. Hey girl! Italy will be so great! It is my favorite country so far! Good for you for keeping a binder! I promise it seems soooo stressful but it will all work out! We bought our airline crates super early so our dogs could get used to them. We also practiced carrying them around and driving with them in their crates so the movement would become normal! Feel free to let me know if you ever have any more questions! Good luck! -Lindsey

  5. Great post! I know PCSing overseas is stressful but being organized can take a load off. I bought the same zip up binder when I transferred to Spain with my daughter and dog. Everyone was amazed when I pulled out documents and everything was nice and neat. 😊. I would recommend using Staples Avery side load zip up sheet protectors. It keeps from all your papers falling out like regular sheet protectors, and you can store tons in each one!

    1. Hey girl! I for sure got a secret thrill when people were impressed with my organization! Haha! I’ll have to check out those sheet protectors! They sound amazing! Thanks for the suggestion!

  6. Hey there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout
    out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading your articles.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics?

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