Skip to Content

The Perfect DITY Move Packing Plan

Sharing is caring!


Today, I want to share the perfect DITY move packing plan with you. It’s that time of year again… Pre-PCS season. Maybe this isn’t technically a term, but for my family, PCS season starts as soon we know we are getting orders. We can’t wait until the orders are cut because being in the military means always waiting until the last minute.

Hurry up!

And wait!

While we won’t be moving this year, I have personally moved over 10 times and have always chosen to make the dreaded DITY move, and you know what? I love every minute of it! Some people say it’s horrible, and to each their own, but it was always fun. I had a plan, I executed it, and we made money! Doesn’t get much better than that.

So without further ado, here is The Perfect DITY Move Packing Plan:


– Boxes / Sharpies /Packing Tape / OCD (just kidding… maybe)

1) Designate one room of your house as the “Moving Room.” Everyone should know that nothing in this room is to be touched. This room is for boxes and furniture that are clean, packed, and ready to load. If you can completely clear out a room, that’s great. If not, work around the room’s stuff (I am too OCD for this). Make sure you clean this room from top to bottom before you start storing everything in it. If possible, try to use a room downstairs (you’ll thank me later).

2) I start packing 1-2 months in advance; trust me, it’s not bad. Make sure you collect as many boxes as possible, and when you think you have enough, get more!

3) The first things you will pack are your decorations and storage rooms, like the garage and attic. The idea is that none of this stuff is truly needed so that it won’t be missed. This also allows you to start purging items you’ve been storing for years that you no longer want or need. Suppose you have a lot of stuff to eliminate the plan to keep this all in one space. Then when you have enough, you can call a local charity and have them pick it up. I usually drop it off myself as I go into town.

NOTE: When packing up, keep everything together and mark each box with exactly what is in the box. You don’t have to list it, but make sure it reads something like this: Boy’s Room – Clothes / Boy’s Room – Games / Boy’s Room -Decor. This will help when unpacking and finding things you need (or the kids are dying to use again). It can also be helpful to color code with Sharpies. 😉

4) Once you’ve gone through those rooms and packed all of your decor, you can start in the other rooms of your house. I go into each room and make two piles. One to pack (things that will not be used in the next month and a half) and donate or sell. If you need/want to make some money, you can have a huge moving sale. We usually have 2-3 Saturdays devoted to selling the stuff we don’t want but don’t want to donate.

5) Anything that is not necessary for the next month and a half can be packed up and put in the “Moving Room” (be sure to check with your husband before packing the stuff you never see him use, I promise you, as soon as you pack it, he will suddenly need it).

6) Now, you’re down to bare bones. The only things left unpacked are the things you use daily. This is a great place to be, and at this point, you’re almost done!

1-2 weeks before it’s time to go, you will want to do these things:


– Leave out just enough pots/pans/silverware/plates/cups for each person to eat one meal


– Purchase paper goods and leave out a pot and pan. We purchase, and I pack up everything but a pot, pan, baking sheet, coffee pot, and two coffee cups (oh and a few big spoons and stuff like that).


– Only keep out what you need for the next two weeks


– Pack 1 -2 weeks of clothing into suitcases (you can leave them out, but make sure they fit into your suitcases)

7) At this point, your house is more like a hotel, and the kids will think this is fun, but you may get a little annoyed at times because you feel like you’re in limbo (unless you’re like me… then you’ll feel accomplished and awesome for being so prepared).

8) Schedule your truck rental as far in advance as possible! They book up quickly, so make sure you have yours ready. When you choose a truck, base it on your house’s size and then go up. You can never have too much space, but a truck that’s too small is what I call a moving nightmare. —> Sadly, this has happened, and we ended up selling some pretty big items because we didn’t have room to move them, and there were no trucks left to rent.

9) Purchase totes or different color boxes for the things you keep until the last day. These will be the first things you need when unpacking, so it helps to keep them separated from everything else.

10) Call reinforcements: Once you have your truck and know which day you will be moving, bring in as many people as possible to help load the truck. The hardest part of a move is loading and unloading, so ensure you have many strong hands to help. Side note: My husband and I have almost always moved alone, so this is a helpful suggestion.

I am sure I probably missed something. Feel free to add your tips below!

Sharing is caring!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Wednesday 31st of July 2019

Thanks for this post! Our first PCS is coming up and we're doing a DITY move. What are your tips for making sure we can get everything paid for and reimbursed? Also, does per diem kick in on the move day listed on, or can hubby get anything for when he goes to early to look at houses?

Shasta Walton

Monday 19th of August 2019

Hey Sarah, make sure you weigh before and after packing the truck and/or cars. Keep that receipt and all receipts from your trip. I'd ask your YN or sponsor about per diem. For house hunting, you pay out of pocket as far as I know. We are Coasties so other branches may do it differently, but I think they are all the same.

Jannet L

Thursday 8th of October 2015

There is nothing more that I needed in terms of help for my packing. Thanks for the amazing post. You're awesome. Keep it up! Sharing this with all my friends right away!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.