Get Moving

Michele Allen
MilitaryByOwner Staff Writer

After sixteen military moves as a military spouse and countless number of "move assists" (helping friends move), I have learned a few lessons about making those stressful days go smoothly. I have learned a lot since that first PCS when I drove frantically across the country through the night, because I mistakenly thought we could reap the monies that we would have spent on hotels! OH how foolish, but true!  There were many lessons to be learned, but here are a few ideas for the pack out days. 

1. Be ready when they arrive. I have had 5 packers show up to pack us out in one day and one man come for 4 days to do all the work himself. If five guys/gals with tape and boxes show up at your door, you better be ready! No dirty dishes or clothes in the hamper! Take all of the trash out. 

2. Designate one room in your house as a "NO PACK" zone. Even it means moving everything out of that room first, find a space that you can use to put your suitcases, kid gear, pet gear and everything that you want to travel with you. It’s a safe zone, not only for your stuff, but sometimes just to escape without getting in the way. 

3. Take everything off of the walls…. But gather it all in one area. Like your dining room.    Wall décor is always packed more stably when one person is packing all at one time instead of haphazardly as rooms get done. Consider bringing any fragile decorative items all together too, as this will also help with a more consistent packing job. 

4. Keep your boxes for computers, TVs and expensive counter appliances or electronics. Ask the movers to pack them in their original boxes. Be sure they pack them though. If you have packed it, damages will not be covered. "CP" = carrier packed = damages covered

5. Lots of people use the prep time for packing to clean out stuff for the thrift shop or trash. I found the wisest, sorted out the unwanted items as they were taking it out of the box on the other end. The packers will put it in boxes whether it is organized or not, and then you have to only organize one time as you receive the boxes at your new home. 

6. If you are staying in your home throughout the pack out, ask the movers to leave boxes for you to put the bed linens in before they go on the truck. 

7. Get rid of open liquids. Tape up open dry goods. 

8. Arrange for your kids and pets to be somewhere else. Although it might be a good idea to have the youngest kids see what is going on so they aren’t shocked, you and the movers will be at your best with kids distracted elsewhere. 

9. Disconnect any appliances that are moving with you. If you are moving a fridge, put a nylon stocking full of coffee or charcoal briquettes inside the freezer and fridge department to keep out the musty smell while it is unplugged and closed. 

10. Provide water bottles and coffee for your movers. Buy lunch for them and create an easy and trusting relationship. 

11. There are so many details to keep track of when you are moving. Be sure to organize yourself so that you have everything you need in one file/box that is easily accessible. 

12. Relax. It’s going in boxes no matter what you do. If you can’t live without something, take it with you. There is going to be damage. Just decide how much you are really going to let it bother you. 

When you get in your car and drive away, look back. No matter what you take with you in the boxes, there are many more things that you are taking that cannot be boxed. Memories, friendships, family milestones, laughter, tears… those are not in boxes.