The following is the third post in our miniseries covering Primary Change of Station (PCS) moves by guest blogger Janet McIntosh, Army wife.
Once you make the decision to conduct a DITY move you may not know where to start. This may be the first time you have conducted a move on your own. Well, no worries, because I am here with some great tips and resources to help you along the way.
First things first, you will want to contact the transportation office. You will have to make an appointment and attend a DITY/PPM move briefing, as well as visit move.mil to register for a DPS account.
You will also want to take a look at your orders and formulate an estimated timetable. Make sure you plan to arrive a few days before your report date so you have some time to get settled in. Be sure to call and ask your gaining unit to see if Permissive TDY may be available. This will buy you some extra days to enable you to find housing if needed and/or move in.
Next, you will have to come up with a shipping estimate. This also allows you to budget for items you may have to move in which your DITY/PPM allowance will not cover (i.e. boats, motorcycles, pets, etc.). Early in the process you will want to begin making shipping arrangements for any additional vehicles you own. Speaking of a budget, make sure to come up with one for your move. This will allow you to better track expenses and reimbursements.
You will also want to maintain a binder or folder to keep all paperwork organized. Start this now as you are just beginning the process. You will want to keep this binder close by and have it with you at all appointments. You should keep the following items in this binder, as well as any paperwork you acquire or that is requested by the transportation office:
Orders: Minimum of 5 copies
POV registration: At least 2 copies
ATV, Boat, Motorcycle, Trailer Registration: At least 2 copies
POV/Trailer Authorization: You will have to have written authorization is borrowing a POV and/or trailer
Special Power of Attorney: This is a necessity if you are representing your service member in their absence
DD Form 2278: This is your application to conduct a DITY/PPM move. Make sure to keep this in your binder. You will need to provide it again when you get to your destination and file for reimbursement.
Travel Allowance Paperwork: This will also need to be submitted at your new destination if you requested an advance on travel allowance pay.
A Pocket for Receipts: Include a pocket or envelope where you can track and maintain all receipts. This will be important for any expenses that will require reimbursement. You will also want to keep a copy of your budget and your timeline in your binder.
Your binder can also be a place to keep all your personal records as we know we need to keep those safe and ensure they are not packed so you can easily find them when you get to your new destination.
Next, you will want to start planning for your move. If you will be packing and moving everything yourself, then you will need to begin purchasing or acquiring packing supplies and schedule an appointment to pick-up a U-Haul or other moving vehicle(s). Remember that you will have to weigh your vehicle empty before you load up your belongings. Make sure you put all weight tickets in your binder as you will have to submit these when filing your claim for reimbursement.
If you are choosing to pack your belongings but have a company load and haul your household goods then you will need to select a moving service and schedule pickup and delivery dates. You will also need to arrange for storage of items if needed. Make sure you keep any moving company contracts in your binder, as you will need to produce these later.
I have included some helpful packing tips as well:
Be sure to use the right size boxes.
You will want to make sure you pack heavier items in smaller boxes and light weight items can be packed in larger boxes.
Don’t mix items from different rooms in the same boxes.
When you pack a room, try not to pack anything in those boxes from another room. Be sure to label the outside of the boxes by the room they belong in. This will make it easier when unloading and help you get settled in faster.
Be sure to tape the boxes well.
Make sure you tape the bottom of the box as well. This gives the box some added strength and lessens the chance of boxes breaking open.
Don’t leave empty spaces in boxes.
Make certain you fill empty areas with packing paper. This will keep things from moving around inside the boxes and lessen the chances of items breaking.
Ensure your insurance coverage is up to date and that you have appropriate coverage. If you are moving to another state, you will want to let your insurance company know this.
Once you arrive at your new duty station, you will have 45 days to submit your claim for reimbursement. Make sure you have your binder when you file, because you will have to submit most of the information within it when you file your claim.
I hope I have given you some helpful tips when it comes to conducting a DITY/PPM move. You can find most of these tips in a handy checklist provided by uShip for Military. Be sure to download it and keep it in your binder so you don’t miss anything as you PCS. Also, be sure to check out the uShip for Military website and get verified with Troop ID for special military discounts and promotions on moving and relocation services.
Next time I will continue this series with more helpful general PCS tips that will keep your move stress-free and organized.