I’ve been reading FSO blogs for months on packing tips. I compiled all my favorite tips and developed some ideas on my own. What happened today during my packout was unbelievable. It was stress-free! The movers were done in a few hours and I ended up with fewer boxes than I was expecting.
So first things first. I started packing weeks ago. I did a little bit at a time. The main part was sorting through what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to donate. A lot of stuff ended up in the donation pile and now in my sister’s closet. I probably chucked 500+ lbs of stuff.
I kept everything boxed up and organized by room, so that when it came to set up for the movers it would be easy. Once a box was finished it ended up in the garage in a corner. Tuesday morning I claimed the garage and cordoned it off, declaring it packing land.
I then separated the boxes by room on the floor. After I had everything laid out, I packed my suitcases. During that process, I took a few more things out and put them either in air or in storage. Then I took a day off, did absolutely nothing but enjoy time with a friend. I really appreciated having a relaxing day, with zero thinking about packing. My move was Thursday and I was completely ready to go Tuesday.
My two movers, who were quite the characters, arrived around 10am Thursday and did my air shipment first. Surprisingly enough that little narrow corridor of air shipment just barely fit into the box. It was quite the jigsaw puzzle trying to get it all to fit. My fingers are crossed that I’m not overweight. I only had to move a few things over to household effects: the clothing hangers because they simply wouldn’t fit. But I’ve got my spices, crockpot, food storage containers, shower curtain, Ghana basket, bath towels and rug, winter coats, toiletries, Ghana blanket and comforter, and plunger in that box. (Yes plunger, why? Because you never want it, but when you need it, you need it…) My air shipment is an odd collection of things I might need in DC if I’m there for multiple seasons and things I want to have handy for my UAB shipment to post. I have no idea how much my nifty little box weighs, but the movers said it shouldn’t be over 250lbs.
After they did my air shipment, they started tackling my household goods. The only thing I was truly nervous about was my air. The rest didn’t matter as much to me, save for a few key items. I came into this move with spreadsheets in hand, ready to organize the hell out of this pack.
And that I did. Here’s a look at the sheets I created. I numbered each box as the movers were finished packing it. I listed on my sheet all the contents and the value of each item. I listed if the items were seasonal and which room they should go into. So now I have a record of each box, should I decide to keep anything in storage. Each box is labeled on at least 3 sides, so when it comes to head to post I just have to rattle off the numbers I want to transportation. Even my floor lamps and bookcases got numbered. The movers would tell me what they were putting into each box as they did it and I just sat in the garage watching. Since all my stuff was already boxed, they just reboxed everything into new boxes and wrapped the items that needed cushion.
The whole process was efficient, quick, and painless. I even had time to watch the World Cup games during our lunch break. I grilled up some hot dogs for the movers and accidentally ate a taco for lunch, when I knew we are going for tacos for dinner.
They got there at 10am, took a 20 minute break around 11. I fed them a little after noon, and they took an hour break then. They were finished by 2pm.
I had heard so many horror stories about packing and moving, that I guess my expectations were really low. That and I knew I needed to be organized and mentally ready for this move.
The few things I think really made a difference were:
1. Tackling everything a bit at a time over the course of a few weeks
2. Having an entire day of rest before the movers came
3. My spreadsheets!
4. Knowing what I wanted to have from my UAB when I get to post, thanks to reading blogs
5. Getting rid of the stuff I no longer wanted or used
6. Having everything neatly organized in one space for the movers (the first thing they said to me was “fantastic, you did all the work for us! Do you need a job as a mover?”
The last thing they packed was my Darth Vader mask, which they wrote on the box as “Dark Vader.” Overall, I’d say: