Why I Stalk the Government Movers
There are opposing views to this idea, and that is okay! Some feel the need to stay out of the movers way and let them do their job.
But the other group feel compelled to be more “involved,” and that is perfectly okay. After all, the stuff in your home is your stuff – everything you have worked for or been gifted. You are placing that in someone else’s hands.
Let me give you some examples: When we filed an insurance claim after a hurricane hit our home – I made sure my roofer and I were there to ensure that he saw everything. When my father was having his house built, he went every week to see the work site. As a teacher, I welcomed parents in to see my method of teaching – it is their child.
There is oversight in many jobs. I don’t just walk away from a teller and trust that he/she will deposit my money because that is his/her job. So personally, I am not just going to sit on my couch while they do theirs. But that is me.
So if you are the type that “hovers,” you have the right too and should – but remember, they have a job to do so you can provide conversation while you do so to not make it so awkward.
To Feed or Not to Feed
You may be anxious to do a government move after hearing the horror stories from other military families. However, many veterans have come up with ways to show appreciation towards the movers and perhaps also woo them into being more careful with their stuff.
First, the question comes up each year in spouse groups about what to do with military movers. Should you feed them, tip them, etc.
Bridget from https://nuttyhiker.com says – “ I feed them lunch (usually pizza) and also have water’s and Gatorade as well as snacks for them.”
Diane from www.thewanderingrd.com states, “We always feed the movers lunch and provide plenty of bottled water. We typically give them some options and ask their preference. No, I don’t make them eat healthy! It’s more about pleasing them…When we lived overseas, I asked around and the convention was to provide some American “delicacies” like Coke and homemade chocolate chip cookies, which they took home to their families.”
Amy from Mehmomblog.wordpress.com says, “Our first move when the movers packed us we just got Gatorade and had bottled water available. Our budget was tight so we didn’t buy food, but they really appreciated the Gatorade. We’ve been overseas since then so we get the movers American snacks and chips they don’t have here. I always make sure there’s enough for them to take home and share with their families.”
Sybil from mamasandcoffee.com adds, “When they 1st arrive I let them know what areas to pack vs. staying with us (I try to put those items in a small closet or bathroom).”
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Stalking the Government Movers
When your movers come, they will each pick a room and will start packing up your goods.
First things first, I pack ALL irreplaceable valuables in my household goods container that always travels with me. This includes all my jewelry, my laptop, my PCS notebook (which you can sign up for below to get FREE), my hard drive with thousands of family photos, cash, and any family heirlooms that I deem appropriate.
Remember, the packers are going to go through everything that is not already in a sealed box, so if you have some things you would rather not be seen – go ahead a box those ahead of time.
However, if you are going overseas – it cannot be packed as it must be inspected by the packers (so perhaps put your valuables or dirty secrets into your personal luggage).
Secondly, IF both of you can be home, great. I am not afraid to stalk my movers during government moves. Why? Because I want to make sure my stuff is being taken care of and appropriately boxed.
This IS your STUFF. Remember that.
We moved between rooms focusing on the bedrooms or rooms that had things that may “walk away.” This is uncommon, but it does happen.
Personally, I have a DITY move labeling process that I do when we move ourselves. The movers will have their process to by labeling each box (you will find stickers on things years after your moves). However, you may be able to convince them to allow you to use this common method too.
Click here for the post on my method complete with your downloadable checklist.
Transferring the Moving Boxes/Furniture
This is where my heart stops. Watching my stuff be handled.
Because this is where furniture gets dinged and scratched. I watched my $4,000 bedroom set that was our wedding gift to ourselves get 4 separate dings (1 on the outbound, 3 on the inbound).
Not to mention the walls and door frames. Yes, our drywall got so many chips from moving furniture up and down stairs. However, I stalked them by watching them. They were more careful when I was there watching it going in and out. They may not like it, but it’s MY stuff.
All your stuff will be put on a moving truck (depending on the size of your HHG, it could be with other HHG’s too), which is why I use my labeling method.
Helpful Hints to Know
Packers will pack EVERYTHING (except the no can do list).
Yes, they will pack the trash bins with trash in them – it happens – ALL THE TIME.
They will pack your dirty, smelly laundry in the laundry basket – yes, it happens!
Things Government Movers Will Not Pack
Click here to see the full downloadable PDF from the State Department.
Have experiences or comments you would like to share? Put them in the comments below.
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About the Author
Kelsey Ramirez is a Real Estate Broker in western Washington. She is also a veteran elementary school teacher, military wife, and mom to two daughters. She is the founder of The Military Move, a military-based website to help families in the PCS process. Kelsey loves to travel, write, and create amazing content. She has her Masters in Technology, which she uses to learn all new things digital.
With three decades of military support, Kelsey’s mission is to help new and existing military families in their unique adventures through all military topics including PCSing, budgeting, school choice and rights, housing, and especially just being a military spouse.