In the past two weeks we have been in every timezone within the continental United States. Soon we will be in another new time zone (hello Hawaii)! I’m going to break up our move into a couple different posts, so first is the pack out of our HHG (household goods).
We were assigned to Coleman American Allied with a 2 day pack out. I honestly did not think we would need 2 days for everything, because we don’t have that much stuff. The first day was simply packing. We had a crew of 3 women that packed everything into boxes and paper. They were awesome and left our bed together, along with pillows and a blanket so we had somewhere to sleep that night. A new crew came the next day to load the crates. It ended up taking the full 2 days to pack and load everything.
A few tips for moving:
1. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Movers don’t have the best job in the world, and most likely they deal with tons of rude customers. If you get a mover who doesn’t pack or load things the way you like, tell them, but remember your please and thank you’s. I also try to pick a spot in the house that I can see what pretty much everyone is doing without hovering. That way if I spot an item I want packed a certain way, I can mention it to them but I am not getting up in their personal space.
2. Feed them. Moving is hard work y’all. Keep your movers happy by providing lots and lots of water and something to eat for breakfast/lunch. Also, you’ll notice that if you bring them junk food they probably wont eat it. Our crews were so happy that we bought them Subway and Firehouse Subs instead of ordering a pizza.
3. Clearly mark items/rooms that you don’t want packed. The morning of the pack out I went through the house and designated what rooms and piles of junk they were not to pack. I used a sharpie on printer paper and taped the signs to doors. We had 4 doors (bathroom, laundry room, a closet, and pantry) labeled do not pack and 1 pile of junk to donate. When they first arrived I made sure to mention (nicely) to be aware of the rooms marked off. That way they will be looking for signs.
4. Tip them. We actually didn’t do this during this pack out because we felt that feeding them 2 meals was adequate. When we moved into Florida, the movers were done unloading/unpacking by 1pm so I couldn’t offer them lunch and I tipped instead. Some people do both, but I would say to do one or the other.
5. Vocalize how you want things packed. You can do this in a nice, courteous manor and still be in charge of the day. I have several antique items (hopefully they arrive in the same condition) that I asked to be packed a certain way. I also have some paintings and things that are irreplaceable and valuable that I asked they pay special attention to. Generally, they will be accommodating. We have only used the Navy to move us twice, so there is a lot of potential left for bad movers.
6. Have your move coordinator’s information handy. Should anything go horribly wrong or you are confused on a policy it is always good to have this person’s contact information on your person.
7. Declutter ahead of time. PCS time is a great time for “spring cleaning”. We are no where near our max weight, but I still don’t like to have to move unnecessary items across the country. It’s just more crap for me to put away later.
8. Do the dishes and take the garbage bag out of the can. This seems like an obvious one, but our movers said it is so common for them to show up and people have dirty dishes in the sink and garbage all over. It’s not a surprise they’re going to show up, so clean up your shit!
9. Pay attention to the inventory. They will sticker and inventory all of your belongings/boxes. Make sure everything gets a sticker and high value items get listed out. Actually do a walk through with the paperwork to make sure all is accounted for.
10. Make it easy on everyone. We have a dog who barks and gets anxious at just about everything, so we left her with a dog sitter both days of our move. We didn’t have a backyard and we knew the front door would be left open all day. If you have kids have someone there to help you keep them busy and out of the way or take them to a babysitter/daycare so you can concentrate on the move itself.
Everyone who was at our house from Coleman American was great. Everything *seemed* to be packed well and cared for as if they were moving their own house. Now let’s hope it all arrives in good condition!