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Guest Blogger: 5 Things to Remember in the Stress of a DITY Move with Army Wife Mallory

Today's guest blogger is Mallory aka the DITY Mama! I am definitely fan-girling pretty hard about having her on the Spouse SERVE blog! If you don't already know Mallory, she is an Army wife, mom of 3, and the Queen B when it comes to all things DITY moves! As many of you know, our family is braving the full DITY world for the first time this summer and I feel confident in our abilities because of all Mallory's help and resources! Whether you are a regular full DITY family, a partial DITY family, or a never before DITY'd family, Mallory has lots of lessons to help you learn. Be sure to follow Mallory along on her Instagram and Blog for all the best tips and tricks! You never know when it will be your turn for your first ever DITY Move!

First, let’s identify what a DITY move is…a DITY (also known as a PPM) is the military acronym for a Do-It-Yourself move. This means you choose to do everything yourself during a PCS (permanent change of station) instead of using the government transportation office. There are many benefits to a DITY but just like any move, stress is inevitable. Moving brings uncertainty and produces financial stress, relational stress, parenting challenges, emotional distress, or feelings of resentment. It throws us off routines and is both mentally and physically exhausting. Throw in kids and other life stressors and whew! Can you say stressful!? Our family has completed 13 full DITY moves in 13 years, 11 of those being PCS moves across the country with the other 2 being local moves. We knew about some of our DITY moves months in advance, while for others we found out only days and weeks ahead of time. Of course in true Army fashion, our last minute moves were in hard seasons of life with new babies, toddlers, pregnancies, deployments upon arrival, etc. So, if you’re in the middle a DITY move and you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed…I get it, I’ve been there too! Here are a few things to remember while you’re in the stress of your DITY move:

1. You are in control!

For me, the best thing about doing a DITY move is that I am in control of the process every step of the way! I control how my household goods are packed and organized, when movers come, when the trailer is picked up and dropped off. I can make sure my items are taken care of or at least minimize as much risk as possible. Although it feels more daunting to do it all by yourself, remember that you are for the most part in control of your move. You can do the research and make the best choices for your family and your budget when doing a do it yourself move. Need to change dates? Hire different movers? Use a different moving truck company? With a DITY, you have the option to do so. You can also choose when you start and the pace of your packing. You may not be in control of a lot of things military life throws your way, you may not even have control over where you are moving, but it does help to know that you are able to make choices and decide how your family is packed and moved. Both ways of moving are hard. Different seasons of life can affect stress levels too, but having a little more control over your move can help minimize different aspects of moving stress and uncertainty. Knowing this brings me comfort when everything else feels out of control!

2. Stick to the Budget

In the midst of a DITY move, your home and life in general can feel chaotic. Sometimes it’s easier just to throw money at a move to make it smooth and less overwhelming. Outsourcing is great and can take some of the physical and mental load away…but always keep your budget in mind! The main goal of a DITY move is to spend less than what you are estimated to make. You don’t want to have to pay out of pocket! So, find out your DITY incentive and create your budget. Categorize what you will spend and set goals in each category (moving supplies, movers, taxes, etc.) Write down the total budget goal and stay under it so you can make a profit and avoid paying out of pocket. Once you create a budget- stick to it as best you can! Refer back to it when you have to go out again and again for more supplies or when you decide last minute to ship a vehicle. You will be glad you did after your move and so will your bank account.

3. Set Packing Goals

It doesn’t matter how far out your move is, set packing goals! One of the most stressful parts of a DITY move is the process of packing a house. Thinking about packing a house in its entirety might leave you feeling defeated at the start, but thinking about packing living room decor is much more attainable! Create goals based on your timeline, the earlier you start the less time you will have to spend packing each day. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed during the packing, take a step back and see how you can break it down into smaller, more attainable goals. Remember, the first box is the hardest. You will hit your groove and your confidence will increase as you work towards your packing! I’ve got you covered: Click here for free Weekly Packing Plans specifically for DITY moves.

4. Self care

While you’re working towards your packing goals, also set boundaries with the packing in order to protect yourself from becoming overwhelmed. Know when to say yes to the boxes and when it's time to take a break from them. Know when to ask and receive help from your loved ones and/or your community! Doing a DITY is hard work and moving in general takes a toll on you and your family. So, don’t forget to practice self-care and set realistic expectations. I know there are instances where you don’t have the privilege of time but remember self-care doesn’t have to be extravagant. Take cues from your family too as you are in the chaos of planning and packing. Boundaries are essential to our physical and emotional health, and they help reduce stress levels. So, whether you’re finding yourself a little more irritable, stressed, sad, or tired- be aware of how you’re feeling. Breathe, take a break, confide in a loved one, ask for help, communicate with your spouse, receive encouragement, and show yourself some grace. This isn’t easy but you’re doing the best you can!

5. It will get done!

I know this is much easier said than done but believe me, it WILL get done! This move, this stress, this season won’t last forever. Take comfort in knowing you will be on the other side of it eventually. Yes, a lot of work goes into, the stress is real, and it doesn’t just magically happen, but you are capable of doing hard things. Each DITY move is different and presents different challenges. You will learn from each one as you continue to move throughout your family’s military career. It feels hard now, but the more you show up on the hard days, the more boxes you pack, the more planning you tackle… results in more confidence built, more experience gained, more coping skills acquired, and the smoother a move will go in the future. Just know that this move is helping you build resilience, skills, and strength that you may not have known were in you. Plus your organization skills will be better than when you started!

So if you’re in the stress of a DITY move, remember that you are in control, your budget matters, small packing goals are key, and self care is needed! The move WILL get done! You’ve got this. One box at a time.

Thank you so much Mallory for sharing your insights on how to handle the stresses of a DITY Move! Whether you're a seasoned DITY mover or are facing your first, like we are, these reminders will come in handy when the boxes start to overwhelm you.

Make sure, if you haven't already, that you go and follow Mallory on Instagram and check out her blog with so many great (and FREE) resources!

If you'd like to write a guest blog for the Spouse SERVE Blog, we would love to hear it! Send us an email to

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