Why didn't you tell me that moving can make you a complete control freak? Because I was not in control the day the movers came.
A Nebraska snowstorm had kept the movers away an extra day and made them late the day they actually came to pack up our belongings. It was also the reason it took them almost twenty attempts to get up our driveway with their gigantic moving truck. I watched from the window. And then I needed a Xanax.
On the initial walkthrough, I pointed out piles and explained what they were and where they would go in our new home. Looking back, I know I should have spoke up and been more firm, because our move didn’t go like I planned.
I was afraid of being a “nitpicky witch,” an endearing term used by the lady at the TMO office. I would have gladly stayed in the garage and watched their every move, but one of the first things they packed up was a box of pregnancy tests with one missing. They made eye contact with me, I turned beet red, and scurried inside the house.
It took the movers almost thirteen hours to pack up our things. It was partially my fault, as I have a ton of dishes my Grandma has been collecting for me for years from Goodwill. My husband gave me the glaring you’re a hoarder look more than once that day.
We kept the movers fed well all day. By the time it got dark outside it was definitely time for them to get going. The crabby one of the three had cracked ribs and he was ready to run out the door. Naturally, it was him I had to deal with when I realized they hadn’t packed ANY of my most irreplaceable and breakable items.
The very first thing I had said to the three of them that day was while I pointed at this pile saying, “These need to be re-packed because they are irreplaceable and fragile.” He gave me the dirtiest look and said something about me not mentioning it, and that they were out of dish boxes.
I was about ready to cry. The other two movers realized that I was at the breaking point. They said they would partially pack it now, and pack it better when they got back to the warehouse. That helped calm my nerves a lot. I was very thankful for the two of them who helped calm my nerves.
This is what I wish I knew for my first PCS:
- You are not a hoarder. If you have a lot of things, like dishes, some of them are going to get broken in the move. And then you have back-ups. (Oh the sweet, sweet satisfaction of telling my husband this.)
- Be direct. Be specific. Movers are potentially great, but they need to know exactly what you want. You aren’t being a nitpicky witch, you’re making the move go smoother for everyone.
- Don’t try to pack a bunch of stuff yourself. The packers will go through it anyway, and re-pack the majority of it. It’s a waste of your time and especially theirs. The totes we spent a lot of money on and were actually used for the move ended up crumpled and worthless.
- Keep valuables in your car. You’re going to give yourself a panic attack just thinking about your Depression glass dishes bouncing down the interstate.
- Movers don’t take anything that can freeze or anything in an aerosol can. You are going to have to take these in a vehicle with you, so try not to have a bunch of it.
- Get the phone number of whoever will be driving the truck so you are always in contact with him.
- Don’t buy expensive, fancy furniture. You are going to be moving around so much, it won’t look expensive after a couple of moves. Used, heavy-duty stuff is great. You can always paint it.
- Invest in a small safe and keep all of your important documents there and easily accessible in YOUR vehicle. This includes: banking, medical, pets, records, etc. (This was one of the few things we did right!)
- When someone is packing up your life, there is very little privacy.
- Block off a room to keep everything you plan on taking with you in your vehicle there. I wish we would have thought to bring a pot, a pan, a spatula, a pizza pan, etc. when we moved. But we didn’t. So we had to buy new ones.
Moriah Lazoritz is a brand new Marines spouse currently living in Northern Virginia.