Building A PCS Binder

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Anytime you move, it helps to be organized. When you move once a year, it is essential.

Living the Army life, I knew it would come with its fair share of moving. For us, though, it has meant 4 moves in under 4 years and I think by now I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

The most important part of my moving process is a PCS Binder, so today I thought it would be fun to give you a peak into ours.

In this binder, I keep all our personal documents, moving information, orders, reservations, medical records, insurance documents, and anything else that would cause a lot of problems if it gets lost in the move.

Here is my layout:

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Zipper Pouch: I throw all of our receipts in here from food, gas, car rentals etc. to be claimed for reimbursement later. (TIP: it’s always better to over collect receipts than miss out on reimbursement money) Also, throw in a pen and a permanent marker. You’ll need it.

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Contacts List: This has all the major contact numbers of both our losing and gaining duty station.

Dividers with Folders: I use a set with 5 dividers. I like having the folders so I can easily throw things in the binder if I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to put something in its designated spot right away.

Page protectors: These are great because you never have to hole punch anything, and of course they keep your documents protected.

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Card Protector: I used one of these card protectors for our social security cards, insurance cards, extra passport photos, and whatever other small things I want to keep track of.

My binder is divided into 5 sections:

Personal Records:

  • birth certificates
  • marriage license
  • social security cards
  • passport copies
  • most recent LES
  • insurance policies
  • car titles

Housing:

  • new housing application
  • old housing clearance
  • bill termination notices and contact information
  • inventory of household goods

In Transit:

  • documents/forms from movers
  • clearing paperwork
  • leave forms
  • hotel reservations
  • flight reservations

Medical:

  • shot records
  • medical records
  • DEERS/TRICARE enrollment forms
  • EFMP screenings
  • Addison’s CYSS paperwork

Orders & POAs:

  • 10 copies of orders (every office you visit wants one)
  • current POAs (powers of attorney)

I like having a general POA and specific ones for DEERS/TRICARE and housing so I can handle all our enrollment stuff at the new duty station while my husband is trying to inprocess.

I know this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a PCS but, in my opinion, it is the most important. I hope this glance into our binder was helpful to anyone out there getting ready to embark on a PCS journey!!!

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35 thoughts on “Building A PCS Binder

  1. This is hugely inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing. We’re getting ready to PCS soon from Italy to California, and I haven’t done an international move back to the States yet. I have already promised my husband I’d make a PCS binder for us!

  2. Great idea! Be sure to keep this important documents binder in a secure locked place for safety. And let a love one know where it is for backup.

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  5. Pingback: Anytime you move, it helps to be organized. When you move once a year, it is essential. Living the Army life, I knew it would come with its fair share of moving. For us, though, it has meant 4 move... - Amazingly DIY

  6. This would be more useful if even one person anywhere said what on earth PCS means. I clicked the pin solely to find out and I still don’t know.

    • Sorry about that! In a world of Army slang and abbreviations it’s easy to forget to clarify. PCS stands for Permanent Change of Station, which is when we move from one base to another. Thanks for reading!

  7. Thank you so much for this list. My husband has PCS’d before, but since then, he has gotten married to me, and we have had twins. I have never moved before and this is so helpful to me! Thank you for taking time from your life to share this list with us!

  8. Thank you so much for putting this information so clearly out there! I’m getting ready for my first PCS from Japan to DC.
    Just a question: why would you need/keep the most recent LES?

  9. I love this and am currently working on one but I have to figure out everything I am going to need for my fur children to add to it. All I have so far is their records and health certificates.

    • When we went to Korea we ALMOST brought our cat and I know we needed a special cert. 10 days out, shot records, and the rabies titer test. I would just give them a whole section and fill it up as you go. Goodluck!

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  13. Love seeing Korea and Humphrey’s on your page! We are in Korea right now, PCS’ing to Fort Benning! I had 2 kids in Korea, so my organization for this PCS is so different since it’s our first move with kids. Loving all these binders!

  14. This is super helpful! I know my husband has his “I Love Me Binder” for Army/ school documents. I have been wanting to make a binder for me and the kids, and your post is a great start.
    Do you have both a PCS binder and then an “I Love Me Binder” or do you just use the one PCS binder? I ask b/c I know that some of the paperwork already organized in my husbands “I Love Me Binder” is the same as would go into the PCS binder (i.e. his birth certificate, marriage certificate, housing paperwork)
    Should we move the paperwork to one binder or have copies and keep them in both binders? What have you found works for you?

    Thank you so much for you help!

    • Great question! I keep originals of marriage certs. birth certs. etc. in my PCS Binder and he keeps copies in his I Love Me Binder. I do this because there have often been times where my husband is in processing while I’m also trying to enroll kids in the CDC or get housing set up and it would be a huge waste of time trying to wait for him to get done with his stuff so I could use the binder. :)

  15. I am about to experience my first PCS or TDY then PCS, not sure yet… we haven’t received official orders yet lol. Either way, this is going to help soooooooooo much!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

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