Countdown to Your PPM
Chances are, you’ve found yourself here because you’re considering a Personally Procured Move (PPM). If that’s the case, I recommend that you consider using a countdown schedule. The countdown schedule is very similar to a unit redeployment, but it has been tailored to prioritize the needs of military families prior to PCS. When it comes to re-deployment, unit leaders schedule dates when the unit will discontinue operations/services and pack the necessary gear. This same routine can be helpful when preparing for your PPM. Utilizing a countdown schedule is especially helpful in prioritizing the order in which you can comfortably pack your household goods prior to your PCS. The schedule will also help you to minimize the items that are required to be packed last minute so that you and your family can access and enjoy your personal items for as long as possible before you move.
When it comes to re-deployment, unit leaders schedule dates when the unit will discontinue operations/services and pack the necessary gear. This same routine can be helpful when preparing for your PPM.
The Countdown Schedule, A Compliment to Your PCS Checklist
The window of time allotted to complete a PPM is very short. Once you are in the window, your to-do list always seems to grow and time accelerates. To make sure you’re being thorough in your preparation, utilize some of the publicly accessible tools online to build a custom checklist for your move. Plan My Move is a great resource. While the checklist allows you to create a list of to-dos, the countdown schedule allows you to strategically schedule packing, loading, and moving in concert with all of your unique checklist items.
When using the countdown schedule, I recommend completing the majority of your PCS checklist and packing before your first loading day. I have dismantled shelves and packed items as much as two or three months prior to a PCS. If an item isn’t absolutely necessary to keep around while you are preparing to move, go ahead and pack it. Packing and loading simultaneously can be exhausting.
Building Your Own PPM Schedule
To build your countdown schedule, open up a new spreadsheet and build a list of your household items by group. Consider lawn equipment, shop tools, the she-shed, the man-cave, home entertainment equipment, bedrooms, etc. Then, add a column for estimated pack time (hours). As you predict the pack times, consider how much time you will have after the duty day.
Start to order the items in your list but don’t assign a date just yet; you will do that next. Place your essentials towards the bottom of the list. You may want to plan a separate list of your essentials including food, drinks, hygiene, cleaning supplies, and these often-overlooked items. Make note of any exceptions on your list. For example, you may pack most of your lawn equipment, but leave the lawn mower and broom accessible for one last cut, two days before you load.
The last step in the countdown schedule is to order your list. In the column you’ve created for assigning a date to each item, assign each item a pack by date. Include items from your checklist to cover all your commitments (unit out processing, home rental inspection, medical appointments, etc). Packing can totally consume your brain so make sure to mark appointments with times in your countdown schedule to avoid skipping out on commitments you’ve made.
Sample Countdown Schedule
You never know what wrenches life will throw into your plans, so remember to stay flexible.
A sample schedule may look like the table below this paragraph. A spreadsheet is a good tool to use in creating your countdown schedule because change is certain and the plan is never final until you arrive at your destination. When I was moving from Illinois to Washington D.C, a family member passed away on the day I left Illinois. My brother and sister-in-law were helping me with the move so we diverted the convoy to N.J. for the funeral service. You never know what wrenches life will throw into your plans, so remember to stay flexible. After your move, keep your countdown spreadsheet handy for your next PCS. It is a great starting point for the next move and will be easy to customize for your needs three years down the road.
|Household Goods Group||Days to Pack (Hours)||Deadline||Time|
|Pack Shop Tools||24||1 Jun 19|
|Pack Home Office||8||27 Jun 19|
|Pack Fitness gear||8||28 Jun 19|
|Medical out processing||29 Jun 19||0930|
|Pack Lawn equipment (except mower and broom)||6||29 Jun 19|
|Pack Entertainment System||8||30 Jun 19|
|Pack Lawn mower and broom||0.25||1 Jul 19|
|Personal Appointment||2 Jul 19||0930|
|Unit Final Out Processing||3 Jul 19||0800|
|Pack Bedrooms 1 and 2||16||3 Jul 19|
|Pack Essentials (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom)||4||6 Jul 19|
|Loading Day 1||8||7 Jul 19|
|Loading Day 2||8||8 Jul 19|
|Cleaning Day and Home Rental Inspection||8||9 Jul 19||1630|
|Driving Day 1||10 Jul 19|
|Driving Day 2||11 Jul 19|
|Driving Day 3 (to destination)||12 Jul 19|
|Unpacking day 1||13 Jul 19|
|Unpacking day 2||14 Jul 19|
|Return truck||15 Jul 19|