Yeah, it is exactly as it sounds. I learned a few lessons, observed a few things, and ignored a few more. Unavoidable, I guess?
One thing I learned– anything you DON’T want packed: hide it. Stuff it in your car if it’s still there! Stuff it in your neighbors car, hide it at your friends house, put it in an emptied out bathroom and tape the door closed like a crime scene! Or… if you are me, be super-uber-vigilant about doing the above, and then forget your ditty bag on the bathroom counter. Only to have it get packed anyway, despite your best efforts. Another lesson learned, showers, although lovely, are seldom even possible during the packout days if you are doing it solo. (An ugly –and somewhat smelly– truth) The thing is, when you have packers arriving early in the morning, and you are staying up late every night trying to do move-related work– early wakeups for the sake of a shower, just don’t always happen. In fact, sometimes, you greet the packers in your PJ’s, throw a hoodie on top and call it dressed. Or maybe that was just me. 😉 (Highly possible!)
Observation: for the safety and sanity of your family pets– send them to the groomers for the actual pack out day. Our move consisted of 2 days of packing UP (boxing, wrapping, etc) and one day of packing OUT (actually loading the truck). Do yourselves and your fuzzies a favor, and get them out of the house for actual pack out day. The front door will be wide open, people will be in and out of your house, and that is the PERFECT time for a firghtened or disoriented animal to runaway. Just in time to break your heart if they don’t make it back before you have to roll out of time. So be overly-cautious, it’s all right! Book them a hot date at the groomers or board them at your vet’s for the day. (*REMEMBER: they are supposed to be ‘quarantined’ so no ‘general population’ arrangements! Don’t drop them at a friends!)
Ignored? Let’s be honest. Everything and everyone will tell you to personally observe every item that is packed, every box that is sealed, every sticker inventoried and loaded. I’m just gonna go ahead and give you the reality check: it is IMPOSSIBLE to be in 3 rooms at the same time. And that is how you will get packed up. A team of 3 guys showed up, scattered to different rooms and went to work packing. I knew I wouldn’t be able to be everywhere at one time, so I ‘pre-packed’ a little before hand. Yeah, I know, I know, “But MrsUSN! THEY are supposed to pack you up!” That’s all well and good, but there are certain items I needed to ensure went together, were packed just right, or were packed by me. What I did was buy a bunch of book boxes (the kinds with removable lids). I packed up quite a bit of my personal items, work items,etc and just set the lids on top. The movers, happy to see their job made a little easier, pretty much just taped the boxes closed and loaded them as is.
Now, if you are of delicate sensibilities– stop reading now. Ok, you’ve been warned. For the sake of your dignity, if you have anything you don’t want them to find (AHEM)– get rid of it, or pack it yourself. One of the movers, was QUITE amused to find a triangular ‘Liberator Pillow’ in our bedroom closet… Now, you have to understand– The SeaMonkey and I went through fertility treatments, and all kinds of superhuman efforts to start our family. It never happened, but the (cough-cough) “accessories for the effort” were still present. Part of hte effort involved ‘elevating your hips’– hence the pillow. The Movers of course found it, and got a hell of a laugh out of that… I had to laugh along with them on that one though.. Instead of being subtle, or discreet and wrapping the pillow and labeling it ‘pillow’ or ‘misc’ or some such, they wrote on the paper wrapping in big black letters: LIBERATOR CUSHION!
Sigh. I’m telling ya. Somedays, I just look for the camera crew, because I SWEAR I can hear the laugh track in the background. Life is ridiculous, and PCS moves only highlight that fact. So either toss it, pack it, or hide it really well– or else you may as well pack up your dignity too. 😉
Other things I would suggest: no matter WHO is packing you up and out, certain items need to be packed by you and on your person (or safely in your carry-on binder or whatever). Jewelry. Contents of safe. Marriage license/certificate. Passports. Birth certificates. Firearms. Paperwork for your home. Don’t let any of these items out of your sight… Also, equally as important: don’t pack any of your cleaning stuff. No, really!! You’re going to need it fi you are leaving your house clean! Also, if you pack it, there is no telling what it will pack WITH. One friend, arrived at her new station, only to find the toilet plunger wrapped in her bathroom towels. FFS…. Buy new stuff when you get where you’re going!!!! Don’t risk that nasty scenario!! UGH!
Our Pack Up began on Wednesday. Thursday they continued packing. Thursday night, I made arrangements to stay (with my pups) at a friends house. Simply because your linens and lamps and whatnot will have been packed by then! Friday morning, I dropped the pups at the groomers, stopped for coffee on the way, and met the movers at the house first thing in the morning. Chaos. As the packers moved our stuff out to the truck, they emptied my house room by room, starting upstairs. As soon as they cleared a room, that was the time to get in there with your cleaning gear and scrub it down! Walls, doors, blinds, windows, baseboards, floors, double check closets, etc. If you work this way (a step behind them) you will leave a sparkling house. It’s worth the effort, especially if you are going to try to rent or sell your home after you leave!
Once the house was clean, HHG was gone, and pups had been picked up– it was time to go. Before you leave, take LOTS of pictures! This is especially important if you will be renting out your home. You want to document the condition you are leaving it in. Big shots of every room, front and back of house, yard, and any appliances you are leaving!! After I left, I made arrangements with a friend to make sure that last load of clean-up trash made it to thr curb on trash day. (Tough to rent a house with loaded trash cans! GROSS!) I crashed at a friends house again that night (desperately in need of a good nights sleep and shower!!). Next morning, got up, had my coffee and hit the road…On my way to Florida for the next few weeks, before continuing on to the cross country part of this Herculean journey.