Organize Your Space

Here come the packers!

The team at Canadian Military Family Magazine have seen and heard it all – packers will move anything not nailed down to the floor. Full garbage cans to smelly diaper pails have all been loaded and then unloaded from the truck.

If you are moving this posting season and you want to get through the entire experience unscathed print this article and tape it to your empty fridge for reference.

One to Two Days Before Packers

  • A day or two before you move remove all the batteries from toys and appliances. This not only ensures leaking batteries don’t damage anything, but it keeps startled movers from dropping boxes when the toy inside says, “Hello. I love you.”
  • Take down window dressings and pictures, and then fill holes if you are a really nice person. If you are a nice person with a lot on your plate and not a lot of time let the people moving in to your house take care of the holes.
  • Defrost and clean freezer, fridge and stove. At the bottom of the freezer, you will likely find food that you bought the first time you went to the grocery store when you moved into the house. That food can be discarded. The rest can be given to the neighbours.
  • While you are at it, give the neighbours the perishable food from the fridge, all liquids including shampoo, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies. If they are military and familiar with relocating they will already have asked for your propane BBQ tank and all your plants.
  • Buy a couple of boxes of Ziplock bags in a variety of sizes. Use the bags to store small toys, puzzles, games, and items from the desk drawer. If you have a notorious ‘junk drawer’ in your house, it’s time to purge or face your twist tie and rubber band collection on the other end of the move.
  • A couple days before the move it really is time to switch to paper plates, plastic cups and utensils. Use a sharpie to put everyone’s names on cups if you are environmentally conscious or if your kids just drive you crazy using fifteen cups in the course of one day.
  • Set aside special toys like a favourite teddy and whatever you do don’t want to forge. Put everyone’s chargers in a location safe and secure from packers. A trip to the local Best Buy to replace electronics chargers is a pricey mistake.
  • There is still some cleaning to do. If recycling and compost bins stay with the house, they need to be cleaned out.
  • Wash the bed sheets one day before packing day, that way they only have been slept in once.
  • Just before the packers arrive, strip the beds and put bedding in extra large zip lock bags or the original zippered clear plastic case included with purchase.
  • Take photos of your furniture that will need to be set up on the other end of your move.
  • Finally, drain oil and gas from lawn mower the day before they pack.

On Packing Day

  • On packing day plan on spending the entire day at the house with the movers. When you let them in give them instructions and make sure you point out any fragile items. Give them labeled Ziploc bags to add screws from disassembled furniture, include a photo of what the furniture looks like assembled or assembly manual.
  • Throw the damp towels from your morning shower into the dryer along with the shower curtain.
  • Put together a setup box with tools, paper towels, hand soap, toilet paper, duct tape, phone, TV remote and parts from disassembled furniture.
  • Empty garbage cans and remove trash and take items to recycling depot or ask a neighbour to put them out with their recyclables the next week. Turn down the heat, or turn down the air conditioner.
  • Load your vehicle with your personal luggage, including favourite toys, blankets, electronics, pillows, and ‘new house bag’. Don’t forget to have any relevant documents you may need immediate access to available, airline tickets, passports, medical records, and shopping list for the first day in your new home. A dollar store shower curtain can be a precious thing if the home you are moving to doesn’t have shower doors.
  • Don’t forget Fido and Fifi in the move. If you are driving, you need dishes, food, water, leashes, medications and medical records. Beds and toys need to go in the car too. If you are using a pet relocation specialist ensure you have their contact information with you.
  • On loading day inventory all goods being loaded even if you feel like you are getting in the way.
  • Take a final walk through the house, not to appreciate how it actually looks when it is clean, but to make sure it is empty. Check inside cupboards, closets, corners and behind doors the garage, shed and yard.
  • Read the meters and clean the yard one last time picking up the pet waste. Lock the doors and windows and leave the key with the real estate agent or landlord.
  • Finally take one last look at the home you are leaving, know you are taking a thousand memories with you, turn around and head off on your next military family adventure.


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Vicki L Morrison

Thanks to her husband's military career Vicki reinvented herself as a writer so she could work from home, while taking care of their three kids. A former MFRC executive director Vicki is a passionate advocate for military families who loves telling their stories.

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Canadian Military Family Magazine