Let’s face it, moving is stressful for anyone. When service members and their families have to PCS, it means a complete disruption of their lives. And PCS is costly, especially for enlisted personnel.
According to the 2021 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, “Two-thirds (66 percent) of active-duty family respondents report having unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses related to their last PCS move, and among those with unreimbursed moving costs, more than half (55 percent) report those expenses to be over $1,000.”
Most Air Force bases have Airman’s Attics and/or base thrift stores to help those in the lower ranks stretch their dollar.
Run by volunteer service groups like the Spouses Club, Airman’s Attics enable enlisted personnel (E-1 to E-5 or E-6, it varies by base) to get housewares, uniforms, rank insignia and furniture at no cost.
If you arrive at a new base without some necessary items, they might be able to help you.
Due to “real estate issues,” the Airman’s Attic at Luke AFB is combined with the thrift shop, according to Spouse Club member Lucinda Carmichael.
Vouchers are available monthly at Luke’s Military and Family Support Center to buy items in the thrift shop. At Luke, it is $20 a month for those E-5 and below, to which they can add their own money, but Carmichael said that more help can be available. She said first sergeants will contact them when there is a particular problem.
“We are always there to help young families in need,” she said.
The money raised by most Spouses Clubs through the shops and fundraisers is returned to the community in scholarships for military children. The clubs also provide activities such as monthly bunco and bingo games, craft groups and recipe swaps.
“The military community is known for helping each other out,” said Carmichael.
She added that Luke’s thrift shop is lucky in the amount of donated goods they receive. Often, personnel who PCS, retire, or leave the area will donate unneeded items. Check your base’s Facebook page as new arrivals are often highlighted there, and follow them for news about hours and upcoming sales.
Likewise, if you are PCSing out, you could donate your unwanted home goods instead of sending them to an on-or off-base thrift store. Help out your fellow troops. Some Airman’s Attics will even pick up your items.
Edwards AFB/Family Services
Open to E-4 and below, Monday and Thursday a.m. to noon.
E-4 and above and retirees, the second and fourth Wednesdays — 10 a.m. to noon.
Everyone, the second Saturday of each month — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Verify hours on Facebook page, donations can be dropped off behind building
4148 Mountain Home Street
Bldg. 605, near Commissary
Open to E-6 families and below
Open Tuesday, Thursday, and every other Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thrift Shop/Airman’s Attic
4200 Mountain Home Blvd, inside commissary
Open Wednesday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Open to E-6 and below full access to donations.
Open to E-7 and above for uniform items only
Open Mondays and Wednesdays 3-5 p.m.