You know what’s awesome? Unpacking your boxes and realizing that not “all” of your boxes made it to your new home. Sometimes it’s obvious what’s missing—like your kid’s bike. Other times, missing items will haunt you for years—like a boot or your mom’s serving platter. Did you misplace it or was it never delivered? You may never know. *Cue Twilight Zone music.* Maybe some of my moving “epic fails” will help you prepare for your move better than I did for mine.
Epic Fail Number One: Letting the mover check off the box numbers during delivery. We discovered (after the driver left, of course) that all of my career clothes, all of Frick and Frack’s toys, and half of the hubby’s professional gear never made it.
Solution: Never let the movers check off the boxes as “delivered.” You are the one who needs to ensure all the boxes that were loaded onto the truck are unloaded at your new home. Stand by the front door with a pen and your inventory sheet, and ask the movers to call out the box numbers as they enter the house. Check off the boxes as they go. Also, politely ask ALL the movers to use one door. A single point of entry will help avoid missing a box.
Epic Fail Number Two: Failure to organize miscellaneous parts effectively. Frick and Frack’s bunk beds were delivered without a scratch, but when the time came to put them together, we discovered the screws never made it. We were left with a pile of without-a-scratch wooden planks. Super.
Solution: Whenever possible, ask the movers to keep the screws in their respective holes (secured tightly) for the move. When that isn’t possible, plastic sandwich bags and permanent markers are your friends. Before moving day, hand write “bunk bed screws” on the plastic bag and ask the mover to place the screws in the bag and tape it firmly to the bed planks. Why not have them place ALL the screws to ALL of your items in one box, you ask? What happens when they lose that box? Now you are stuck—screwless.
Epic Fail Number Three: Not knowing movers are required to handle disposal of packing materials. We asked the movers to unpack our belongings and they convinced us we were responsible for disposal of the packing material and boxes. When the time came for the trash man to take away the cardboard, they charged us forty bucks for a “bulk pickup.”
Solution: Movers are required to take the packing materials with them if they unpack your household goods. If you choose to unpack your household goods yourself, at your own pace, you run the risk of never getting the movers to help you dispose of the boxes and packaging materials. Just sayin’.
Epic Fail Number Four: Not creating a First Day Box. We arrived happily at our new duty station and the movers finished unloading around 9:00 at night. At bedtime, we were surrounded by boxes and had no idea which one contained items we needed right away.
Solution: Set aside items you know you’ll need the first night in your house—things like an air mattress, pillows, sheets, towels, a shower curtain (rings too), a few toys, etc. Before the movers pack ANYTHING, ask them for a large box and a roll of packing tape. Remember those permanent markers you set aside to mark the plastic baggies? Give them to your kids and have them create a First Day Box masterpiece—the louder and more obvious, the better. Fill the box with your must-have items and ask the movers to load that box LAST. Why? Because it will be the first thing off the truck at your new duty station. It’s a great way to have the things you need and to also be reminded of the creature comforts of home!
Epic Fail Number Five: Not properly separating our stuff and cleaning out before the movers arrive. The movers packed everything—even things we didn’t want them to pack! During one move they packed a dirty diaper. I kid you not. During another move they packed trash. UGH. In another move (because apparently I’m a little thick and didn’t get it after the first two times) they packed everything that was SUPPOSED to go in the car with us. By the time I returned from the gas station (I left the hubby in charge) all of our traveling road show stuff had disappeared into the abyss of boxes.
Solution: Before the movers arrive, pack your car! If you want stuff to stay with you, be sure it isn’t within reach because movers will pack everything in sight! Never let the movers pack valuables such as wedding rings (again, I could tell you multiple horror stories) or personal papers such as wills, car titles, and powers of attorney. It’s much safer to keep those items with you so they aren’t lost in transit. Also, be sure to unload the dishwasher before the movers come. I was once left with a load of dishes after the moving truck pulled away. *sigh*
You know what, guys? You’ve TOTALLY got this. Moving is not an unmanageable monster. It’s just…challenging. Did you know that Mamie Doud Eisenhower (wife to President Eisenhower) moved 35 times in 37 years before moving into the White House? Her husband was career Army before becoming Commander in Chief. I’m sure she had a few moving “epic fails” she could share, and she made it through just fine.