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Why Wait for a PCS to Purge Your Space

We’ve moved about every 2 years for the entirety of my husband’s military career. And now, whether we are facing a PCS or not, I frequently get the itch. You know the one I’m talking about – the itch to redecorate and reorganize.

The one that requires me to rip everything out of the closets and match socks (where do they go?). Over the last 19 years, I’ve learned that tackling the pre-PCS purge continuously. And, if you’re not moving anytime soon, the start of the year is a great time to clear out and make a little extra room before the holidays.


Make a list


I made a quick list for our family so we could tackle something (and feel accomplished) based on the time we had available and stuck it to the fridge. A lot of these things are out of sight, so likely out of mind. 

Examples from our list include: junk drawer, linen closet, coat closet, mug cabinet, under the bed, laundry room cabinets.

The list is now accessible for everyone in the family to see, as well as add to, and it can be worked on as time allows.

It doesn’t need to be a major project


I remember when my Mom would ask me to clean my room. I’d be found hours later reading in my closet or sitting in the middle of the floor with everything I owned strewn about. Multiple times, I had to clear a space to sleep. 

But, it doesn’t need to be an all-out cleaning session! Take it one section at a time. 

Maybe you’re like us and you’re running between school and extracurriculars. There’s that awkward hour when there’s not really enough time to get back to work or start a big project, but there’s still enough time that you’d be sitting idly, most likely scrolling on social media. This is when the list comes in handy. 

Have 30 minutes? Take control of the junk drawer. Empty everything out, wipe out the drawer. Test pens and toss random odds and ends. Put everything back in its place. Boom. Mark it off the list. (Doesn’t that part feel good?)



Tackling bigger projects



Also on our list: the garage. But, instead of keeping it as a huge project you might dread and will likely put off, break those larger projects into smaller ones, like garage storage area or right side of garage rafters so you’re not overwhelmed; you can do more areas at a time if you choose, but breaking big areas down helps make it manageable.

If you have a couple of hours, tackle a small space, like a linen closet or the pantry. Pull everything out to take inventory of what you have. Toss expired items. Donate the sheets that no longer fit your bed. 



Where to take your unwanted wares



If things are still in good condition, consider donating them to your installation’s Loan Locker, Airman’s Attic, or the equivalent. These are often “shops” that loan or give items to other service members. Many bases also have thrift shops where you can consign items to make a little extra money or accept donations and use funds for charitable purposes like scholarships. 

Another of my favorite thing ways to say goodbye to our unneeded items is through Buy Nothing groups. This awesome concept is an online community where you can give (or get) items for no cost with the intention to keep things out of landfills and help communities.

As much as I love a good PCS purge, I find that for us, making it a more ongoing project helps us stay more decluttered. If needed, I’m also giving your permission to donate the curtains that you’ve been carting around since your first duty station that haven’t fit a single window since. 

What are your favorite ways to declutter and stay on top of the accumulation?



*For more from Sheila, visit her M:M Author Page.




  • Sheila Rupp

    Sheila Rupp is originally from Michigan and is married to her high school sweetheart. She is a copy editor and writer with 20 years of experience. Like many military spouses, Sheila’s career has varied greatly over the years while staying within the communications field. Sheila has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, and a minor in professional writing from the University of New Mexico.  Sheila is a military spouse of 20 years. Having spent the first 17 years as an Air Force spouse, she is now a proud Space Force spouse after her spouse transitioned to the newest branch. In her free time, you’ll find Sheila on hiking trails, curled up with a good book, watching her daughter dance, or traveling the globe. Sheila is currently based in Los Angeles, California, where she lives with her husband, teenage daughter, and dog.


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The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

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