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How to Successfully Plan Your DITY Move: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Moving is a challenging and time-consuming task, especially for military families who face frequent relocation due to Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders. In such cases, personally procured moves (PPMs), also known as DITY (Do-It-Yourself) moves, can offer a more flexible and cost-effective option for moving household goods. Planning ahead is crucial for a successful DITY move, which requires careful consideration of several factors, such as weight allowance, transportation options, and packing materials. This article provides a step-by-step guide for planning and executing a smooth DITY move, along with helpful tips and resources for military families.

Understanding DITY Moves

A DITY (Do-It-Yourself) move, also known as a personally procured move (PPM), is a type of military move where the service member takes control of their move rather than relying on a moving company. The service member is responsible for packing, loading, and transporting their household goods to their new duty station.

The pros of a DITY move include potential cost savings, the ability to keep personal property close, and the opportunity for incentive pay. However, there are also cons to consider such as the added stress and responsibility of handling the move yourself.

To decide if a DITY move is right for you, it’s important to consider factors such as the distance of the move, the size of your household goods, and your personal preferences. It’s also important to note that partial DITY moves are an option, where the service member can choose to move some items themselves and have a moving company handle the rest.

The DITY move process involves a few key steps, including calculating your estimated weight, obtaining the necessary paperwork, and weighing your vehicle before and after the move. It’s important to plan ahead and stay organized to ensure a successful DITY move experience.

PCS Moving Process

Moving as part of a permanent change of station (PCS) can be a daunting task for military families. A PCS move typically involves a lot more coordination and paperwork than a civilian move. It is essential to understand the process to make the transition as smooth as possible.

To prepare for a PCS move, it’s crucial to start planning as soon as possible. Military families should attend relocation assistance programs, such as the ones offered by Military OneSource and the Family Support Centers. These programs offer information and resources on the moving process, financial management, and housing.

The PCS process involves several key steps, including obtaining orders, scheduling the move, and arranging transportation. It’s essential to keep track of all the paperwork and deadlines, as missing any can cause delays in the move.

One of the key differences between a PCS move and a civilian move is the way the military handles the transportation of household goods. The military will generally contract a moving company to transport household goods to the new duty station. However, military families also have the option of a personally procured move (PPM) or a partial PPM, also known as a do-it-yourself (DITY) move.

Resources are available to help military families with the PCS process. The Transportation Office at the military member’s current duty station can provide information and assistance with arranging transportation for household goods. Military OneSource also offers information on PCS moves, including checklists and a moving guide.

By understanding the PCS moving process and utilizing available resources, military families can have a successful move to their new duty station.

Types of Moving Options

Moving can be stressful, but the type of move you choose can have a significant impact on the experience. There are several moving options available, each with their own pros and cons.

One option is to hire a full-service moving company. This option involves the company packing and loading your belongings, transporting them, and unloading and unpacking at your new location. This can be a convenient option but can be expensive.

Another option is a hybrid move, which involves hiring a moving company for transportation but packing and loading your belongings yourself. This can save money but still provide the convenience of professional transportation.

A third option is a do-it-yourself (DITY) move. This option involves renting a truck and handling all aspects of the move yourself, from packing and loading to transportation and unloading. This option can save money but can be more physically demanding and time-consuming.

To decide which type of move is right for you, consider factors such as your budget, schedule, and physical capabilities. It’s also important to research and select a reputable moving company if you choose to hire professionals.

Planning Your DITY Move

If you’re considering a personally procured move (PPM), also known as a Do-It-Yourself (DITY) move, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure a successful and stress-free transition. Here are some tips to help you plan your DITY move.

Calculating Your Weight Allowance

Before you start packing, it’s essential to determine your weight allowance. This will help you decide what items to take with you and what to leave behind. The weight allowance is based on your rank, dependents, and the distance of your move.

Strategies for Packing and Loading Your Belongings

One of the biggest benefits of a DITY move is that you have full control over packing and loading your belongings. This can also be one of the biggest challenges. Consider these strategies to help make the process easier:

  • Start early: Begin packing items that you won’t need in the months leading up to your move. This includes out-of-season clothing and items that you rarely use.
  • Use proper packing materials: Invest in quality packing materials to protect your belongings during the move. This includes boxes, bubble wrap, and packing tape.
  • Label everything: Clearly label each box with the contents and the room it belongs in. This will make unpacking much easier and help you stay organized during the move.

Tips for Maximizing Your Reimbursement

The Department of Defense (DoD) will reimburse you for the cost of your move based on your weight allowance and distance of your move. Here are some tips for maximizing your reimbursement:

  • Keep all receipts: Save all receipts related to your move, including packing materials, truck rental, and gas expenses.
  • Weigh your vehicle: Get an accurate weight of your vehicle before and after loading your belongings. This will ensure that you receive full reimbursement for the weight of your belongings.
  • Take pictures: Take pictures of your loaded vehicle and the weight tickets to prove the weight of your belongings.

By following these tips, you can help ensure a smooth and successful DITY move while maximizing your reimbursement.

Partial DITY and PPM Moves 

  1. Partial DITY move, also known as a Partial Personally Procured Move (PPM), allows military service members to move a portion of their personal belongings themselves, while the rest of the items are moved by the military.
  1. The pros of a partial DITY move include the potential to make money through reimbursement for moving some of your own belongings, as well as having greater control over the move. The cons include the added responsibility and stress of packing and moving some of your own items.
  1. When deciding which type of move is right for you, consider factors such as the amount of belongings you need to move, the distance of the move, and your personal preferences.
  1. The partial DITY and PPM move process involves obtaining authorization from your transportation office, weighing your belongings before and after the move, and submitting your weight tickets and other required documentation for reimbursement. It’s important to carefully follow the guidelines and requirements to ensure a successful and smooth move.

Moving Resources and Support 

Moving can be a stressful experience, but fortunately, there are resources available to help military families through the process. Military OneSource is a valuable resource that offers a range of services, including counseling, financial assistance, and education resources. Family Support Centers provide a wealth of information and support for military families, including help with relocation, employment assistance, and counseling services. Utilizing relocation assistance programs can also be beneficial, as they provide assistance with finding housing, navigating the moving process, and adjusting to a new location. Additionally, it is important to remember to register to vote and change your address with the appropriate agencies to ensure that you stay up to date with important mail and voting opportunities. By taking advantage of these resources, military families can make the moving process less daunting and ensure a smooth transition to their new location.

Benefits of Choosing a DITY Move

A DITY move can provide a number of benefits for military members and their families. One of the main advantages is the level of control over the moving process. With a DITY move, you can choose your own moving company or rent your own truck, allowing you to tailor the move to your specific needs.

Another potential benefit is cost savings. With a DITY move, you can receive reimbursement for the expenses you incur, including the rental of a moving truck, packing supplies, and more. By doing some of the work yourself, you can potentially save money on moving costs.

For military members who want to keep their personal property close, a DITY move can be an ideal option. This is because you have the ability to move your belongings yourself, rather than entrusting them to a moving company that may not be as careful with your possessions.

In addition, a DITY move can also provide the opportunity for incentive pay. If you are able to move your belongings under the weight limit and within the allotted time frame, you may be eligible for an incentive payment from the military.

Finally, choosing a DITY move can also have benefits when it comes to VA home loan benefits. By using a DITY move, you can potentially save on moving costs, which can then be used to fund a down payment on a home. This can ultimately make it easier to secure a VA home loan and purchase a home.

Overall, a DITY move can offer many benefits for military members and their families, including greater control, potential cost savings, and other incentives. By understanding the advantages of this type of move, you can make an informed decision about whether it is the right option for your upcoming move.


In conclusion, there are many moving options available for military families, each with its pros and cons. Planning ahead and utilizing resources can help ensure a successful move, whether you choose a DITY move or another option. DITY moves offer benefits such as control over the moving process, potential cost savings, the ability to keep personal property close, and opportunities for incentive pay and VA home loan benefits. Understanding the PCS process, calculating your weight allowance, and packing and loading your belongings strategically are also crucial for a successful move. Remember to take advantage of relocation assistance programs, Military OneSource, and Family Support Centers for additional support. With careful planning and preparation, your next move can be a smooth and successful transition for you and your family.