07 January 2013

Pack it up, Pack it in!

I'm pleased to announce that all of our belongings (with the exception of our filled suitcases) were packed up over a month ago, and they are currently on their way to Japan as I type this.

Overseas military moves have 2 shipments: Unaccompanied baggage (UB) and household goods (HHG).  During a UB, your stuff is put into boxes and sent over via plane.  It gets there first, and because it costs more, you are limited to only so many hundreds of pounds.  The overseas household goods shipment gets boxed up and then crated, and sent by boat, so it could take quite a bit longer (hence the UB shipment for priority items).  This shipment also has a weight limit.  The weight will be determined by your destination, rank, and if you have dependents (that's me!).  In our case, we were authorized a total of 13,500 lbs, including a ~1,000 lb limit on our UB Shipment.  You've got to estimate your weight yourself, and figure out what to do with the rest, cause the government will move EVERYTHING you have, but if you are over those weight limits, they charge you an arm and a leg and your first born or something like that.  I don't know the exact amount off the top of my head, but you just hear from people, "DON'T do it!".  So basically, don't do it.

The weight limit is pretty much a joke to us.  We don't own much.  In fact, we recently received emails saying they weighed our shipments.  Our HHG weighed 3,465 lbs and our UB weighed 309 lbs.  Yup...29 years of 2 peoples belongings and it doesn't even weigh 4,000 lbs.  Nice, right?! 

98% of our belongings have been up in storage since summer since we moved out of our house and into a furnished apartment, so my day with the movers went amazingly smooth.  We packed everything up well enough to ship overseas, with the intentions the movers wouldn't have to repack anything.  Our efforts worked well, because they didn't have to unpack anything (okay...just one box that was crushed).  The movers are responsible for getting your belongings to your destination safe, and they are NOT allowed to write 'packed by owner' on the bill of lading, so they'll open up boxes to make sure it's packed to their standards.  They might need to throw some extra paper on top to prevent shifting, or repack a box entirely.  It is their call, no matter how nicely you think you packed.
Pro Tip Alert! If you plan to put your stuff in storage, do it right the first time, when you have time, and you are the one handling your belongings.  Go to the recycling center at your local base.  They flatten and keep the professional moving boxes and even sometimes bags of paper.  They'll give you anything you want for free.  Get it, it's what the movers would use to protect your belongings.  If you pack it up to snuff with moving company standards, it will save you so much time on moving day, plus the peace of mind knowing your the only one touching your stuff.

We had 2 storage units (because only small were available at the time we moved in), so the movers worked on one at a time.  They checked some boxes and decided if they were all packed as nicely as those...they wouldn't be repacking any.  I have heard of folks getting annoyed that shippers won't send those big plastic totes as they are, but it's really for your own good.  The temperature changes could crack the plastic, making all your shit fall out.  And you don't want your shit to fall out.  A solution would be to ask for what my movers did automatically...instead of repacking the totes, they just sat them inside of another box.  Viola!

The guys were really good with my belongings, but I stayed close to help answer questions (this eliminated the need for them to search through something), and just to keep an eye on things that may have been overlooked.
Pro Tip Alert! Keep an eye on that bill of lading sheet that the head-mover-dude is filling out.  When he/she walks away from it, take a look, count your boxes, and make sure those stickers are on EVERY SINGLE BOX (otherwise you can't prove you had it, if it gets lost).  It's easier to ask to look at the sheet occasionally while they are working on it rather than after they have everything in the truck, and 10 inventory sheets, and you have no idea what's missing or wrong.  Doing it this way, I was able to catch numerous boxes they hadn't accounted for (simple oversight), and a wrong description of our TV.  If something still goes missing, at least you know that you did everything you could to ensure the best possible move.  If you don't...well...really, who's fault is it?
Once all the items were out of the storage units, boxed, labeled, and listed on the BOL inventory, they were stacked into the crates.   This was pretty fun to watch how perfectly they could stack/shove so many boxes into one crate.  NOTHING else could fit in them.

The HHG's were done in one day.  We had two scheduled just in case, and also our UB shipment on the second day by a separate provider.  I brought hot fresh donuts from the local donut shop, and the guys took breaks so I didn't feel obligated to feed them anything else.  On the second day, my movers practically laughed at me.  They had it MADE that day with only 7 boxes that they placed into 3 larger boxes.  Once the paperwork was complete, it was less than 12 minutes from the time they showed up to the time we all left.

So what's left now?
We've been living on what we can fit in our suitcases to bring with us on the plane to Japan.  Aaron should be finishing up with training this week, and then we will move out of our apartment and in with some family until we leave for Japan.  So this weekend we are going to pack our suitcases.  And then all that's left is to clean the apartment, put together a box to ship to ourselves (bedding, & other last minute stuff), and hand in our keys.

Oh, and then wait a month.

If you enjoyed this post, and would like to follow 'Where in the World is Kacey?', please subscribe here so you don't miss anything! Also, be sure to check out Kacey's Kitchen for my food blog, newest post on Water Chestnuts!!

Have something to say? Leave a comment below!


Post a Comment