Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Packing Up for a BIG Move - Part 2 of 3

During My Hubs' 26-year Air Force career, we moved just 6 times to new bases. However, we were growing our family, too so we also moved from on-base apartment to on-base house, to a larger on-base house, etc. We have a total of eleven moves under our belts! I know that there are a lot of military families that have moved a lot more than we did...but I think that move #12 will be our most challenging.
With many of our moves, the Air Force paid for professional movers to come and wrap, pack and move our household goods (up to a certain weight limit) to wherever our new duty station was located. A couple of times we did what is known as a DITY move, or Do IT Yourself.  While there were some advantages and disadvantages to either choice, we actually have had good "smooth moves" with both.
This time around, it's looking like we will be hiring movers AND packing & shipping things ourselves!


You might normally have an easy time when you are moving yourself within the same town or city, or even within the same state. Many people use boxes from the grocery store, or pick up a few at the local U Haul dealer or maybe Home Depot. (craigslist.com has a free section to look for moving boxes, too!)
If you are making a bigger move, say more than one state away, or perhaps like us, over an ocean, you still might want to do some or all of it yourself.
- Plan ahead!  If you are using a rented moving truck that you drive yourself, it's best to estimate how large the truck (or trailer) that you will need to take it all in one trip. The rental place can help you with an estimate for renting the correct size truck or trailer. Ensure that you or someone else in the family is confident in driving those larger trucks, as they can tend to be a bit intimidating for the novice.
- Uniform sized boxes equal less stress when loading the truck or trailer. They will fit together like a puzzle when you load. We noticed that professional movers always put heavy items, like books, into smaller boxes and lighter items like pillows and lampshades into larger boxes. This reduces strain on your back!
- Pack your boxes like the pros: use newsprint wrapping paper. Pad the bottom of each box with paper before you fill it, and don't leave airspace. The tighter the box is packed, the less movement and hence the least likelihood of breakage. If you have airspace, wad up some wrapping paper and fill in the gaps. Sometimes towels work well for this. Tape your boxes well to avoid those embarrassing OOops! moments when the bottom opens up.
- Packing dinner plates and saucers on their sides will reduce the chance of breakage. When you stack plates, even if they are wrapped with paper, the entire stack could be crushed. Standing them on their edges, where they are the strongest, is best. Also, put them to the inside of the box, and put other items around the outside. (I do NOT recommend the method of putting paper plates or styrofoam plates between dinner plates and stacking them. I have had personal experience with this one, and ended up with ALL my Christmas dishes completely smashed. Irreplaceable collectables that Hubs mom gave to us over a period of years.) 
- Color code your rooms. When you are unloading boxes at your new home, the big red K will tell you at a glance that it goes into the kitchen, blue BA will indicate Bathroom, etc. Give each kid their own color, too, because little Johnny will love seeing his green J coming out of the truck!
- Just because the box is big, doesn't mean it should go on the bottom.  You might have small boxes of books that will stand up well when other lighter boxes are stacked on top.
- Stack to the highest point.  Load the heaviest furniture over the tire area and near the front of the truck, for stability. Take drawers out to load a furniture item, then put them back into place once it's on the truck.
- Use moving blankets (rent them by the dozen cheaply!) bubble wrap, and tie-down straps to help with stability.
- Pack the truck top-to-bottom, side-to-side to keep items from shifting around or falling. Again, this will minimize breakage. Use a hand truck or dolly to move larger furniture, appliances and heavy boxes. Renting one of those babies is cheaper than a trip to the chiropractor.

Since Hubs and I are storing many of our household goods, we are wrapping and packing quite a lot of boxes ourselves using U Haul products that are designed for do-it-yourselfers like us to pack like the pros!

Next time: I'll explain why and how we are hiring movers to help us get a few things to Oahu.

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