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dee1313's avatar

Which do you suggest, a DITY move or have the military move us?

Asked by dee1313 (948points) April 7th, 2011

My husband is getting out of the Marines, and I’m not sure which way I’d prefer getting my stuff back home (moving from east coast to midwest). I’m trying to figure out which I should do because I’d like to start packing as I spring clean my house for the move this fall. We’ve never PCS’ed before, so we have no experience. This is what I have so far:

Have the military move us:
Pros:
-less stress on me
-they’ll cover anything that is damaged
Cons:
-less stress during the move, but I’m not going to be able to pack up stuff early… which is stressful somehow
-we have two vehicles, and they won’t move one for us

DITY move
Pros:
-can make money
-we’re going to have to take two vehicles back anyway, so might as well hitch one to the back of a moving truck
Cons:
-if we break something its on us
-stressful

It’ll be an 18 hour drive with two kitties. We’ll break it up into at least a three day trip.

What do you wonderful Flutherites suggest?

Bonus questions:
How should I go about estimating how large of a truck we’ll need?
Tips for travelling with cats?
Tips for cleaning the house up / self-inspecting so I know what to do? (We’re in base housing.)
Any places you recommend we visit on the way home would be welcomed as well.

Thank you all so much!

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13 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

My personal preference would be let them move you and enjoy the drive.

Why spend your time fussing over your belongings and looking for places to park a truck with a car in tow?

The drive is an opportunity for a little vacation. There’s probably some tourist spot or city or relatives or friends on the route that you would like to see.

I have moved cross-country twice, taking a week each way. In retrospect I wish I would have stretched it into a two-week drive.

Seaofclouds's avatar

We just did a DITY move from Kansas to Maryland. We’ve had the military move us in the past and overall, I’d say letting them do all the work was a lot less stressful. Honestly, I’d say let the military do it. The only nice part about doing it ourselves was having our stuff here with us as soon as we arrived (since we already had a place lined up).

As far as what you need to do to clean the house for clearing with on post housing, they should tell you what their requirements are when you go to give them notice about moving and set up a pre-move out inspection.

If you decide to do a DITY move, most of the companies that have rental trucks have a calculator online that can help determine how big of a truck you need based on your house size. You can check with other people on post to see if any still have boxes from moving in and you can also check freecycle to see if anyone on there has moving boxes (that’ll help save you some money). Start collecting sales ads and newspapers now for your fragile things. Before you head out, plan out your drive with a plan for how far you will drive each day. We even went ahead and made hotel reservations in advance so that we would have to stop driving (we are the type that would say we could do another hour or two). Also, since you have cats, you may want to plan ahead because I know it can be hard to find a hotel that allows pets (my friend is struggling with this right now).

We drove both of our trucks, each with a 12×6 Uhaul trailer on them, across the country (well KS to MD) with a 9-year-old. There were definitely some moments that weren’t fun. Plan out your drive so that you avoid areas that may see a bit of congestion (especially if you are in a truck pulling a vehicle).

Either way it’s up to you, but personally, after having done both, letting the military do it is the better option in my opinion. If you decide to do a DITY move and want some more advice, I’d be happy to help. :)

CaptainHarley's avatar

I recommend letting the military move you. It’s just far too much hassle to do it yourself.

And the kitties? Buy a good-size cage for them. They don’t like riding until they get use to it, and you’ll have less hassle when you stop to eat or whatever. Been there, done that, got the damned t-shirt! : D

optimisticpessimist's avatar

We have never done a full DITY move; however, we have taken advantage of the partial DITY move. I am not brave enough to do a full DITY move.

If you plan on stopping at hotels along the way, plan a route which includes pet friendly hotels. We have moved more than once with cats. Have a cage (and litter box) handy, but we found when we were driving for extended times they just liked to lay in the sun or on a seat. Make sure you cage them before you open the car door though. We almost lost a cat that way.

As far as cleaning, @Seaofclouds covered it. You should get a checklist when you tell them you will be moving. They usually give it to you when you move in as well, if you still know where that paperwork is. Some just have you basic clean (sweep, mop), others want it inspection ready.

dee1313's avatar

The only reason we’re considering a DITY move is because we’re going to have to drive two vehicles back regardless, and one is a old-ish 1996 with 170,000 miles on it.

I’ve kind of gone through this before when I moved here. My parents helped. We got a Budget truck for the stuff, and towed my car on the back of it while my dad drove their car so they had a way home. I guess I just feel like I can’t make a decision until I have all the information from both sides, and I just don’t know if I have that information or not. Common sense tells me it’s a “duh” thing either way. I feel like I don’t know what questions to ask.

@optimisticpessimist I definitely want to hear more about this partial DITY move. I’m going to see if I can find some information on it as well.

We’ve talked to a friend about flying them here to help us out, so that’ll help.

Thanks for the info about the truck calulator. I’ll look for one; it’ll definitely help!

We do have a couple cages for the kitties, and I plan on using them both. One of them falls asleep a couple minutes after we’ve starting driving, and the other likes to look out the window. I don’t thing they’ll be too much hassle.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

Don’t know if you are aware of this website. Totally free to AD. You can call them 24/7 and they can email you answers to questions. I have used them before and got the info I needed.

dee1313's avatar

@optimisticpessimist I’ve been browsing it. I’m compiling an email, but like I said I feel like I don’t know what kind of questions to ask.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@dee1313 Even with having to drive two vehicles, the trip may be more peaceful and less stressful if you aren’t dealing with moving all your stuff at the same time. Regardless which type you pick, you will have to go to a briefing for the move at the transportation office. If you have questions, they can help you with the information as well. They will have the specifics for your area and all that.

If you do a DITY move, you will have to weigh the moving truck empty and then again once it’s full. You’ll have to keep your receipts for everything related to the move so that you can submit them once the move is completed. Some bases require more information than others when it comes to processing the final payment. All of that information is discussed at the moving brief your husband will have to go to.

Basically, you are going to need moving supplies: boxes, tapes, markers (for labeling boxes), packing material such as newspaper, bubble wrap, etc. for cushioning. You may need some furniture pads to protect your furniture in the truck (or you can use old blankets to save some money). You’ll need the moving truck or trailer (whichever works for your move) and some people to help load up your truck before you leave and then when you get to your new place. If you don’t already have a place lined up, you’ll need to consider either storage for your stuff or a place to hold the truck while you are waiting to get into a place. Also, when it comes to renting a moving truck, pay close attention to the deal you are getting. Most of those go by mileage, so any extra stops you may off your planned route may end up costing you extra money (so every stop off the interstate to fill up, eat, or stop for the night adds mileage to the trip).

Once you decide on which type of move and get it set up with transportation, you may be entitled to an advance on the amount they will give you for the move (it depends on the base and type of move). Basically, what they do is estimate your weight and then determine what they would pay a company to do the move. They will pay you 90% or 95% of that amount for the move, but not until after the fact. It’s all based on the mileage from where you are back to your husband’s home of record if he is ETSing or to the new duty station if it is a PCS. If you qualify for the advance, I believe it’s about 60%.

After the transportation brief, you are on your own. Once you arrive at your destination, your husband will have paperwork to fill out and turn in, in order to receive the final payment. There will be a timeline on getting that paper turned in. When we went to our transportation brief back in March, they told us it takes about 6–8 weeks to receive your payment once they get the final paperwork processed. That was for the Army though and before all this talk about a government shut down. Obviously the shut down won’t effect you getting moved, but it could effect you receiving a payment in a timely manner… just something to think about.

With a partial DITY move, it means you are going to move part of your stuff (just like a DITY), but the military is going to move the rest (and usually the bulk of it). You pretty much do a bit of both and both would be addressed at the transportation office. You would estimate how much you are moving weight wise on your own and the military would figure out the money based on that weight (just as they would a full DITY). One thing to think about and pay attention to is how much weight he will be allowed to move. That’s based on his rank and having dependents and is something the transportation office will tell him. Whether it’s a military move, partial DITY, of full DITY, the military will only cover up to his allowed weight. Anything over that weight is your responsibility.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

@dee1313 I would just ask them, “How you would do a partial DITY move?” My husband took care of all that stuff when we did it (twice MD to AZ then AZ to GA). We had two cars, packed all the expensive stuff we wanted to keep with us and just drove across country. He turned in the paperwork, and ‘magically’ money appeared.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

Here is a link which may help.

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Seaofclouds's avatar

One other thing to think about with doing a DITY move, if you want to stop and sightsee while you are driving across the country, you are going to have to have somewhere to park that moving truck/car trailer each time you stop. Not to mention leaving it unattended for long periods of time while you are off doing other things if you plan a full day somewhere away from your truck. I just wanted to point that out in case you are planning to sightsee since you asked for suggestions of things to see/do while driving across the country.

dee1313's avatar

@Seaofclouds Thank you so much, that is so helpful. I didn’t think about the extra mileage sightseeing would cost us. I’m not much of one for full planned days, I was just thinking maybe stop for an hour somewhere if there is somewhere interesting to stop at, so the longest the truck would be unattended would be at night while we’re at a hotel. Parking is something I forgot about too.

@optimisticpessimist Thank you as well. That link helped with the specifics.

I appreciate everyone’s help. Thanks!

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