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Monday, August 6, 2012

JoAnne's Axioms of Unpacking

Axiom:  n.  a universally accepted truth or principle or rule

Hi Everyone!

I had several comments last week wishing me well on the big unloading day and I'd like to thank you all for that.  So far, it has been great.
Well, just as expected, this was the scene out front Thursday morning.
 The truck arrived with ten of our crates.  They would deliver the other three around noon.

 They even brought along a fork lift so they could take the crates off the truck and put them in the driveway.  They did three at a time, carried the stuff into the house, and loaded the empties back on the truck, etc.  When the other three arrived, they loaded three of the empties onto that truck.  They had six guys initially, but one left with the other truck.

After a hot morning and afternoon, they left around 3:30 after unloading everything and putting the furniture back together.  My husband sat the whole time in the garage, checking off the numbers of the items on the inventory and telling the guys where to put the items.  I stayed in the house and when they brought the things in, I told them where it really went!  I'm sorry, but my husband is pretty clueless about where things go!  Anyway, we all had a good time, but it was hot, hot, hot.  I did some unpacking during the process--emptying 6 boxes so they could take the empties away.  Once they left, I realized that our house was full of "aloha."  (See how all the boxes have Aloha on them?)

I'm not going to give the whole, boring lowdown of unpacking, but decided that my axioms will cover things nicely--I'm not claiming that these are all original, but after 13 military moves in 22 years, I feel a bit qualified to offer these up.

1.  It doesn't matter what is marked on the box, or where it is placed.  It is a solid fact that the first boxes opened will contain the most useless, un-necessary junk that you own.  It is never some glasses, or a trash can that you first come across, instead it is a box full of the junk that you didn't even use at the last house and you thought you donated before moving.

2.  Let's say that you have "missed" or cannot find something.  Something essential that you really need.  Like the dryer vent tube.  (An item that I think logically should have been placed inside the dryer for transport--a fact that my husband disagreed with)  You open and search as much as possible but in desperation you go an buy a new one.  It is a solid fact that the very next box that you open will contain the missing item.

3.  It is a solid fact that you will always unpack the items first, rather than the container.  For instance, I had this mess all over the kitchen counter for hours while I looked for the crock that they go in.  

.  Same with spices.  I had approximately 26 spice containers all over another counter for days until I finally came across the spice cabinet.  Of course, it is also very probable that your husband unwrapped the previously described crock and, not recognizing it for what it was,  stuck it away somewhere.  I didn't know about this, assumed it was missing, and, well, see number 2. 

4.  It is a solid fact that the item that gets broken in the move, or that you break while unwrapping is not the crappy, cheap version of the item, but always the nice version.  I have maybe three nice wineglasses that I bought or received as gifts, and about 20 that were some souvenir from a military ball, and it was the nice one that broke.  That is why I have 3.  It used to be 8, but I've made lots of moves.  This is also true with damages.  Years ago, we moved from Arizona to Georgia and the truck encountered a tropical storm.  Did the rain leak onto the 28 book boxes full of my husband's work papers that I've been wanting him to get rid of for years?  (He never looks at them, just collects more) or even something that could be washed and dried and rescued?  No, it leaked on our newest furniture...

5.  It is a solid fact that the boxes of items that belong somewhere specific will be piled in such a way that you cannot get access to that specific place.  For example, books and the bookcase or china and the china cabinet.

And finally, but usually occurring in every move:

6.  If you really cannot find an item and think it was lost or stolen, it is a solid fact that said item will be located in a box of Christmas decorations.  For instance I had most of the house unpacked and while working in my quilt room (I left this for last to give me motivation to get the whole house done) I realized that I was missing a piece of furniture!  It was a cabinet that I used with my desk (in our last house, the house was equipped with two "tech centers" which were desk areas made with a countertop.)  It was nowhere.  I searched, my husband searched and I was ticked.  We haven't had anything stolen before and we couldn't figure out how they could abscond with a piece of furniture!  I had three more boxes (in the whole house!) left to open and so I decided to tackle this one.

The box is labeled X-mas Deco.  It is also labeled with the name "Mann" which isn't our name, but since the rest of our Christmas decorations were there, I decided to open the box to see what was inside.  (All the others are in tubs--and I couldn't remember what would be wrapped in a box.)  I slit open the box and this is what I saw.

The top of the missing cabinet!  I have never seen a piece of furniture boxed up.  We have had items we thought lost show up at Christmas time, before, though.  Our last move to Hawaii it was a few months after getting settled that I realized all my jewelry (the cheap stuff) wasn't in the drawer where it belonged.  (I had assumed my husband unpacked it.)  I checked the other drawers in the dresser, and they were all empty.  Also missing were all the doodads for my husband's uniforms, my spare glasses, etc.  I was devastated!  I went through all the boxes, closets, anywhere it could be in the whole house.  Nothing.  Then in December, when I was decorating for Christmas, Dale got out the ornament bins and when I opened one, I screamed.  It was full of all that missing stuff!  We then remembered that we had an empty ornament bin and we had used it to pack that stuff in ourselves!

Anyway, as of Sunday, all the boxes are empty and some order has been achieved.  Not much, but some.  It was a very hot, sweaty, tiring, sore 4 days, but it is so nice to finally be getting settled!



  1. Yep, I concur!

    One thing though, best packers ever were our Dutch guys and YES they even made boxes for our furniture which I was forever greatful since it was massive oak pieces made in Europe. To this day they still look new since we always insisted on extra care from every move.

    Soon everything will find it's place. Enjoy!

  2. I'm glad the move went smoothly... and yes... it will take time to get organized and settled in completely.

    It is amazing where stuff will turn up tho...

  3. Happy to hear you are getting settled with your familiar "stuff". Have fun setting up the new sewing room!

  4. I'll let you know how many of your axioms apply for our move! 13 crates is a lot of stuff!

  5. Ah, memories of military moves! Yes, all of your axioms are right on. We've retired, and haven't moved for over 7 years now. But, I have found that those frequent moves (20 total for me) did encourage weeding out and getting rid of junk. Stuff is starting to accumulate. But, it is nice to have furniture without all the wear and tear from those frequent moves.

  6. Oh yes, those are excellent axioms! i've lived most of them. :-)

  7. Love these! So true!! Why is there always something with the Christmas decorations? I didn't want to tell you this when your stuff was in transit......why do people tell you about bad things that happened to someone while you are going through it?.......I'll tell you now that you are done LOL! We knew a couple who had crates fall overboard during an overseas move, then during their next move the their truck caught on fire.....it wasn't a good ending for their stuff. Maybe your ironing board went overboard......are you laughing? I hope so :-)