My husband and I just experienced our first true PCS move together as a married couple and we decided to do a DITY move (also known as a Personally Procured Move)! I will be honest: the idea of people in my home, packing my stuff and then moving it across the country made my Type-A personality incredibly uncomfortable. I have heard stories about moves gone bad. At least with a DITY, any issues were our own!
Some DITY best practices:
- Start early and clean out often. We had to really rationalize if something was worth moving…again.
- Pack up the seldom used items first and then decide if it might be time for a garage sale or to donate. This is a great time to pack them up those “necessary” wedding presents and promise yourself you will use them at the next place or put them up for sale!
- Shop where you can save time and money. Amazon Prime gives you access to 2-day shipping. I used Amazon for most of our packing materials. FYI: Packing materials are a reimbursable expense. You can also use Amazon Smile to have a portion of your proceeds go to the NMFA! Home Depot was my second go to for this move. I used a packing calculator to determine how many boxes we would need and ordered a variety of sizes. We kept all of our boxes from this last move and plan to use them again. The we picked up our rental truck from Penske. We chose Penske because they had the lowest rate overall, offered a 10% discount for booking online, as well as a 10% military discount when you pick it up in store.
- Don’t forget about your pets! Moving can be stressful for your animals, especially during a DITY move. Bring plenty of water, treats and food, comfortable bedding, and toys for your animals while traveling. Also, keep their vaccination records on hand and make sure their microchips and name plates are up to date. As for hotels, La Quinta will let up 2 pets stay for free in a hotel room and they even have dog potty stations at their hotels.
- Have help for loading and unloading. This was probably the most difficult part of the move. If we did it again, I would hire movers to load/unload the truck.
- Invest in plastic storage bins
- Keep in mind that while weight is a crucial part of your reimbursement, the more items you add to your truck is more you have to unload when you get to your destination
- Research weigh stations beforehand! The closest weigh station was 50 miles in the opposite direction from where we lived.
- Don’t forget that some costs will need to be paid up front
Despite the difficulty of the move, it was nice to have all of our stuff as soon as we got here. Within 2 days, it already looked like home. We made sure to save our receipts for reimbursement and researched the rates to get an expected amount for per diem, dislocation allowance (DLA), mileage etc. We spent about $1,800 upfront and our reimbursement was close to three times that.
Would I DITY again? Yes, I would, and I would recommend it to anyone that is up for some hard work and adventure (or if they just want to ease their mind by doing it themselves).
Have you ever done a DITY move? Leave your tips for others in a comment!
Posted by Lesley Boatright, NMFA Volunteer, Fort Benning, GA, Army Spouse