166 Boxes Later

Around 8:40 yesterday morning, I started worrying that maybe the packers weren’t going to show.  I waited until 9 am to call, and Alfonso assured me that they should be there any minute.  I think it was about 9:10 when they pulled into my drive.

A team of four ladies came in my door.  I’ve never had 4 at once.  The last move, I had only 2.  Usually, I get 3.  I showed them around.  I pointed out the labels I had made using that blue painter’s tape: LINEN CLOSET, SCHOOL BOOKS, PROFESSIONAL GEAR.  “Just label the boxes with what I wrote on the label and I’ll be happy,” I said.

I pointed out several closets and doors with another label: DO NOT PACK.  “We’re here for another month,” I explained.

I showed them that I had already pulled down things from the high shelves, grouped like items together, taken half the pictures off the walls.  They noted the mostly empty dresser drawers, the bagged stuffed animals, and the ziplocked loose items.  I told them I still needed to sort through one corner of the dining room which was piled high with various sewing projects put on hold to prep for the move, and I wasn’t completely satisfied with the garage, and that Mary, who refused to go with her siblings to a friend’s house to play, had some toys out in the sun room.

They got to work.  I got to work.  I sorted my sewing stuff and was able to get much of it upstairs into the appropriate bins before the upstairs ladies got to my sewing totes.  The rest of my sewing stuff was piled on the ironing board.  “You don’t need to pack this,” I told the packer in that room.

While sorting, I heard another packer on the phone with the office.  “This is a one day pack job,” she said.

When the guy did the walk through last month, he had said, “A house this big is a three day pack.”  I assured him it would only take two, but didn’t argue with him too much.  This week it is better for the truck to come on Thursday than on Wednesday.

The packer repeated to me that she thought it was a one day pack.  I told her I’d get to the garage as soon as I was done with the sewing stuff.  And I did.  It didn’t take me long, and soon one of the upstairs ladies moved out there and started boxing bicycle helmets and Nerf footballs. 

I had nothing to do.  Mary was watching Netflix on my computer and I thought it was inappropriate to put my feet up and read a book while these women worked.  So, I went back to my sewing pile and looked at what I had kept behind.  I had made Fritz a cape for Halloween, but had never hemmed the bottom, and the tie at the neck had pulled free.  I finished it and mended it, and then got it out to the dress up box before the lady packed that up.  There was my favorite pair of jeans from pre-pregnancy which had raggedy hems and had been patched at the knees.  I cut them off and hemmed the bottoms.  I don’t know when these shorts will fit me again, but they are ready to go.  I repaired a quilted pillowcase that had come apart at the seams.  And I sat and darned 14 running socks (all mine) with holes in the big toe.  A six-pack of Hanes running socks costs about $11, so I feel like I did my frugal good deed for the day.

By 2 pm, I noticed a significant slowdown in the pace of the packing, and by 3 pm, they were all sitting around my kitchen table filling out paperwork.  They were done.  And not just done with the packing, but they were completing the inventory – 166 boxes labeled with orange stickers and listed on 6 inventory sheets.  By 330 pm, I was signing everything in triplicate, and by 340 pm, they were waving goodbye. 

6 1/2 hours times 4 workers: 26 man-hours to pack me up.  Not bad.

“That’s fabulous,” texted my sister when I told her.

“It MIGHT be fabulous,” I texted back.  “It all depends on the condition of the stuff when we get to Tampa!”

I’ve learned to withhold judgment until the end.

As it is, one of the upstairs ladies did not use the labels I put on the blue painter’s tape, and I had to mark up some boxes last night so my husband will know which room to put things in.  It’s really nice to label a box “Mirror”, but which mirror?  The white one that attaches to Jenny’s dresser…or the brown one that matches the boys’ dresser…or the one we had hanging over the fireplace?

So, here I sit with a maze of boxes.  I still have a few more sewing projects that I’ll try to finish up in the next few days.  I can do some cleaning (bathrooms) with my helpers and a few last loads of wash before they take my machine away.  But Phase I of the pack-up is done and I have a breather until Thursday.  I am hoping that the trucker wants to come tomorrow to do an inventory.  If he does that tomorrow, and the boxes already have their stickers, Thursday’s loading shouldn’t take more than 5-6 hours.

And that would be quite lovely.

11 thoughts on “166 Boxes Later

  1. I do hope your move goes well. Your post certainly brings back memories of our many military moves. I will be interested to see how your move turns out on the other side. The one time I had a packing team of all women, I had the best move. It was amazing. Instead of getting twenty boxes marked dishes that could hold pots and pans, tupperware, or fine china, all my boxes were clearly marked as to their contents. The ladies knew the difference between plastic storage containers and Wedgwood china.

  2. Hang in there, Hon, and rub that beautiful buddha of yours for good luck. I tell my children, “I'm in the presence of TWO guardian angels, you know!” and that's no small thing.

    Also, I offered up my holy hour on Sunday for your intentions. Did you feel the grace? 🙂

  3. Well, congratulations! Sounds like it was a relatively easy, low-stress day. But I know what you mean about not sitting while somebody else is doing work for you. My house was never so clean as the day the lawn-mowing guy came around. 😉

  4. Ha! 166 boxes is nothing! We were also told our house was a 3 day job. It took 1, and we had nearly 300 boxes (I didn't do any decluttering before the move, long story).

    The movers told us that in our area, packers are paid by the job, not by the hour. The estimate is always over-the-top and they get paid the same whether it takes them one day or three. They can take the extra days and either not work or head to another packing job and get paid again for three days of work that takes them only one day.

    The packers were quick and I worried about breakage and damage, but we only had a few items here and there that got dings or marks. Not too shabby, I guess.

    Best of luck on the rest of the move. I'm praying baby cooperates with your timeline!

  5. I do hope your move goes well. I would hope with a team of women packing your things that everything will be just fine when you open it up at the new house.

    Praying that your little one cooperates with your timeline, too.

  6. Yay! Continued prayers.

  7. Yay! Continued prayers.

  8. Oh my goodness…I hope this is your last move for a while. And I hope that little Tiebreaker of yours times things just exactly right. Praying!

  9. OMW, I would have swooned at the sight of 4 women. When we shipped things from Central Asia, 4 men showed up to pack. I was NOT a happy camper. Things that matter to me did NOT matter to them and it was reflected in how they packed. Needless to say I did not behave in a culturally appropriate manner that day. Ahem.

  10. It is good to see that your nesting instinct is being put to productive use.
    Please put your feet up and have a lemonade. Do not go into labor until all your stuff is on the truck.

  11. Hi Michelle, I have not been blogging much lately. Wow. What an impressive moving story. You are organized. I can't imagine what it would be like for me. We've lived in the same house for 26 years now. God bless the rest of the move!

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