Our first experience doing a personally procured move (previously called a do-it-yourself, or DITY, move) was completely unintentional. Somehow, my husband signed us up to move ourselves, and by the time we realized it, it was too late to change the paperwork. As one might imagine, I was completely overwhelmed at first — especially since we had a two-year-old and an infant at the time. I was in no way prepared to box up our entire home and move across the country within a matter of a few weeks. But somehow, we made it happen, and it ended up being one of the best things we ever did. In fact, I don’t think we will ever have the Army move us again!
Some people will treat you like you’re crazy when you tell them you’re doing a PPM, but I can promise that once you do it, you’ll most likely choose to do it again. In my opinion, the benefits seriously outweigh the negatives. Of course, the process is tedious, and the logistics can be overwhelming, but if done right, your efforts will pay off big time, literally.
Here are the reasons we prefer to do PPMs with each change of station:
- Making money. This is the most common reason that people choose to move themselves within the military community. You can make quite a bit of money doing this, especially in recent times as the military has increased its monetary incentives. You may find that doing a PPM is a good way to build your savings back up. Or you may need some extra cash for a specific reason. Whatever the cause, if you are willing to put in the effort, you can make thousands of dollars in the process. And I do want to highlight the importance of doing it right. This means making sure to collect proper documentation such as certified empty and full-weight tickets, and all receipts, to ensure proper reimbursement. You will also need to have quite a bit in your savings for upfront costs, as it can take a few months to be fully reimbursed after your move is complete. Save money in the months prior to your move to use for supplies (boxes add up), truck rentals, temporary living, and necessary travel expenses like gas, food and hotel stays.
- Having full control. If you’re like me, the thought of being in control of when and where your goods are moved from place to place will bring you great peace of mind. When doing a PPM, you have almost total control of the timing of transportation of goods, the treatment and care of your goods, and how things are packed and unpacked. It is an unfortunate reality that items can get broken or even stolen in the moving process. Letting others handle your entire collection of home goods is a trust like no other, and while many have no issue with this, there is still risk involved. My husband and I prefer to be the ones who carefully pack up each item and get it all to our next home. I also like to pack boxes in an organized fashion to make the unpacking process more efficient.
- Organizing and purging. This is perhaps my favorite part of a PPM. I live for the months leading up to a PCS when I go through every nook and cranny of our home to sort through the belongings we’ve collected over time. I’d make piles of things to donate, sell or trash. There is no process like a PPM that better forces you to purge and pare down your home to only the most purposeful and meaningful items. It can be the most tedious part of a PPM but is so rewarding in the end.
I share this insight not to try and persuade others to move themselves but rather to offer encouragement to those who are thinking of moving themselves and need a little push. If we can move ourselves, your family can, too. I just can’t stress enough the importance of making sure you do it correctly and gather all necessary information so you can reap the full benefits of your PPM.