What We Learned from Our DITY Move to Georgia
This post has been highly requested and pretty much has been something I've been trying to write since we moved from New York to Georgia in June. It's crazy that we've already been here for three months and are working into our fourth right now. For all my non military people who might be reading this, a DITY move is basically a do-it-yourself move. I think the name has actually changed to Personally Procured Move but DITY move definitely rolls off the tongue better. Anyways, that's neither here nor there. There are a lot of reasons to chose a DITY move for military families over having the military move you, one of which being that you actually get reimbursed for the money you spend on the move. You can typically make a decent amount of money off of a DITY move which is why it's so popular among military families. Oh, and you don't have to worry about movers breaking your stuff or getting it mixed up with someone else's belongings. Yeah, real things that happen.
We chose a DITY move for a few reasons. The main reason was that we were moving pretty quickly after getting married and didn't really have time to get orders amended and all of that jazz to include my stuff in the move. It's a lot more complicated of an explanation but I'll do us all a favor and keep it at that. We knew moving from New York to Georgia wasn't going to be that complicated in the grand scheme of things, making it pretty doable for a couple of newlyweds. Our DITY move was pretty uneventful but that doesn't mean we didn't learn a few things along the way!
What We Learned from Our DITY Move to Georgia
Break up your trip and book hotel rooms in advance
This is probably the number one thing I would tell everyone to do when they're moving more than a day's drive. I had so much anxiety about the move that I wanted to be able to control at least one aspect so we decided to book our hotel rooms in advance instead of searching for hotels once we felt like stopping. Not only did this mean that we didn't have to worry about having a place to stay but we were also able to break up our 16-hour trip into two 8 hour days which helped tremendously so that we weren't completely exhausted once we got to Fort Benning.
Don't let your husband pick the hotels
I made the mistake of letting Justin pick one of our hotels and boy, do I regret it. It wasn't the worst hotel I've ever been in... okay, it actually might have been, but the other people in the hotel were sketchy which made me nervous. We had a first-floor room with a huge glass sliding door that opened to the pool area and I was just so uncomfortable the entire time we were there. Not to mention that Gatsby was freaked out too and barking at anything and everything. There was also a couple that decided to have a very loud, very aggressive fight near our room and that was the first time I've ever actually been afraid to sleep in a hotel. I think I'll be booking our hotels from now on...
Hire movers to help load and unload the truck
I hire movers everytime I move becuase, well, let's be honest, I'm not much help when it comes to lifting things like furniture. You can hire movers for as little as $100 for two movers for two hours so I really don't know why people don't do it more often! It's totally reimbursable and will save you SO MUCH time and energy. Justin actually was running around getting checked in (we got our house the same day he had to check in) so he wasn't around at all as the movers were unloading the truck. I'm even more thankful that we hired them to both load in New York and unload in Georgia. If you're booking your truck through U-Haul, there's a place right when you make your reservation that you can use to go ahead and book movers. Such a lifesaver.
Shop around when looking for a moving truck
This is the one thing I wish we had done because we just assumed U-Haul was the best and a brand we trust and went with them. But I've since heard that other rental trucks are WAY cheaper (we spent about $2,000 on the truck). So definitely do yourself a favor and shop around before you decide on booking a moving truck.
Keep all your receipts and keep them organized
Keeping all of your receipts is critical for any DITY move. This is how you get reimbursed! We actually went to an office supply store and bought those little accordion folder things to keep our receipts in. Since we drove a truck and my car, we bought two so that we would each have one and then we consolidated them at the end of each leg of the trip. This made it super easy for Justin to turn in our paperwork relatively quickly. I think there was only one receipt we didn't end up getting for gas because the machine was out of paper and we didn't bother going in to get it.
Be careful when opening the moving truck, things have probably shifted
The most surprising part of our trip is that we only managed to break one thing. Movers are great but if you don't have someone supervising them they can pack the truck a little weird. Boxes buckle and things shift as your driving so definitely be careful when you open the truck. We thought something we needed for the dogs was accidentally put in the back of the truck so Justin needed to open it and when he did, everything started to collapse on top of him because of the way the mattress was packed. Thankfully he didn't get hurt and we only lost one box. Bonus tip: Make a list of things you will need during the trip or immediately upon moving in and make sure that stuff DOESN'T get put in the truck