The key to a future filled with family stability and success starts with a good education. We can help you better understand what the educational landscape looks like for military spouses, and how to make use of all the possible government and corporate financial support that is made available to you for your family’s service to our country. If you have any topics that you would like to see us write about, feel free to email the editor:
PCS and Textbooks, the Heavy Choices

 To keep your textbooks or not, that is the question. At least it is for military spouses preparing for a PCS move.

When my family moved from Florida to North Carolina four years ago, the weight of our belongings wasn’t an issue. We were lugging everything northward by ourselves.

When we moved from North Carolina to Hawaii, every ounce counted. As the giant wooden crates quickly filled and the workers began to take bets on how much over our weight allotment we would be, I began to panic.

The first thing we ditched: the books.

But, I had graduated from college 10 years ago and been working in my field ever since. It was easier for me to pack only those I regularly used and store the rest. For military spouses in the middle of earning their degree or changing careers, it might not be so easy to let those professional tomes go.

And just because they are necessary for your professional development, doesn’t mean the military cares if they make it to your next home.

The amount of weight your family is allotted is based on paygrade, not the number of people you are packing for. Find a detailed listing at:

Only military members are allowed to declare their professional equipment. Those items are weighed and then removed from the total weight and shipped, basically, for free.

So, what’s a student to do? Choose wisely.

Multiple blogs and forums that discuss this very issue suggest keeping the books relevant to your field or those you genuinely have an interest in. Meaning, that 800-page, dry, narrative about the history of fleas? You’re probably safe to toss it.

Did you despise economics class but are hanging on to that darn book, just in case? Are you an economics major? If so, keep. If it was a one-time requirement class, toss the book.

Also, in the future, to avoid the issue altogether consider purchasing textbooks as ebooks or even renting books. Be sure to read the fine print, however. Several online book renters will not ship to APO or FPO addresses and many charge significantly higher shipping rates to Alaska and Hawaii.

Still feel you’ve got to bring all those books? Try to do an annual purge and re-evaluate which you need to keep lugging around the globe and which can stay behind.

Here is information on shipping professional books, papers and equipment from the Personal Property Shipping Office which handles PCS logistics for all military branches. Remember, only the military member is allowed to declare PBP&E items.




When properly listed on the inventory, PBP&E are not counted as part of your weight allowance. Here's how to handle PBP&E.

  • Declare the PBP&E Weight - You must provide an estimated weight to enter on your application for shipment or storage. This constitutes an official declaration of intent to ship PBP&E. Spouse PBP&E is allowed up to 500 pounds net weight.
  • Separate PBP&E Items from the rest of your property so they may be packed, marked, and weighed separately.
  • Check your inventory - Before signing the inventory prepared by the movers be sure these items are listed as "PBP&E" and not as "books" or "miscellaneous." The proper designation of these items and the exclusion of the weight can be very important.

Depends on what the job is for military member weight allowance

PBP&E DOES NOT include office, household or shop fixtures, furniture (such as bookcases, desks, and file cabinets), or sports equipment.

PBP&E DOES include, when required to perform official duties, the following items:

  • Reference books, papers, and material.
  • Instruments, tools and equipment needed by technicians, mechanics, and other professionals.
  • Specialized clothing such as diving suits, flying suits, band uniforms and other apparel not considered to be normal or usual uniform, or clothing.
  • Communications equipment used in connection with the Military Affiliated Radio System.
  • Individually owned or specially issued field clothing or equipment, official awards, and other memorabilia given to a member by a uniformed service, professional society or organization, or a U.S. or foreign government.


For Military Spouses
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