Hello from Germany where I am helping my son and his family of five pack up their house and move all their belongings back to the United States after three years abroad.
Meanwhile, we are, on a Sunday, getting ready for the house packers who arrive Monday morning at 8, with a crew to pack up everything that isn't moving.
In Europe, house packing is quite a business. Now that summer is here and school is out, families are moving to new jobs, from country to country, all over the world.
Today, we are busy separating out stuff to be shipped by sea in a huge container, stuff to be shipped by air, stuff we will need between now and Friday when my son Miles and his family get on a plane for the States.
Everything in the house in Kelkheim, Germany, has -- or will have -- a custom-colored sticker. Gold, for instance, stays in Germany. Among the gold are electrical apparati that have the Germany prongs for 220-volt receptacles and won't work in the U.S. I have seen a printer, DVD player, television sets, and all sorts of devices that will remain on German soil.
Empty the garbage, don't pack wax
We need to take care, as house packers are notorious for packing EVERYTHING. So, unless you want your kitchen trash bag packed full of garbage to stink up the container as it floats across the Atlantic Ocean and sits in New York in the sun for three weeks awaiting an OK by Customs officials, you empty the garbage and take it outside. By the way, don't pack wax candles.
Monday and Tuesday the packers will prepare everything for shipment, then wait to carry it out of the house on Wednesday. On Monday and Tuesday, the beds will be packed, so those nights we will sleep on mattresses on the floor. Roughing it, we will picnic in our own house. Wednesday, after the house is emptied, we head for a hotel.
I have great admiration for Miles and his wife Snow, preparing to move with their three young girls, planning tasks for each day while entertaining two pre-schoolers, Kate and Lauren, and one-month baby Bethany (without portfolio).
I do see one advantage to moving your household every few years. The packing process includes a cleansing of unwanted and unneeded items. A family that moves everything travels lighter.