i was not fond of being unable to pre-pack any of our items or handing over the reins to a complete stranger. you do remember that type-a person i told you about right?

the process of setting up our move includes doing self counseling on the move.mil website & creating an account with dps. luckily my husband and i were able to do our self counseling online but the personal property office at your base should be able to help you get the process started.

the self counseling consists of taking inventory of what you’re shipping to determine a  weight estimate. they also use this to determine how many “packs” to bring, of paper, dish packs, various boxes & even boxes for certain types of mattresses. weight allowances are determined by your husband’s rank & since my husband is an e-5 we were allowed 9,000 lb. to safeguard yourself always over estimate your weight. our total weight was 6,006 lbs {including packing material}.

after you submit your counseling application it will be reviewed & you’ll be assigned a counselor. since they e-mail all correspondence i highly recommend using the e-mail address that is checked most frequently. for us that was my e-mail address {isn’t the wife’s e-mail always the primary one?!}

one of your first e-mails from your counselor will be the contact information for your local {inbound} mover company. make sure to place this information, such as a memo board or your “japan” binder where it can be easily found.

when it comes to moving dates you will probably have little control over your pack out dates, however be persistent!! don’t take no for answer. 

keep in mind you can not schedule a hhg & u/b shipment on the same days as they more than likely will be with 2 different companies.

in order to schedule your hhg {household goods} & u/b {unaccompanied baggage} shipments you MUST have your DEA, dependent entry approval paperwork!!

since you won’t have a house address before you move to japan make sure your counselor puts “atsugi japan storage” as the destination. once you have a japanese cell phone number go to the personal property office on base to let them know you’re in japan & of your new number. you can change your contact number in dps, but it’s important that personal property knows you’re in japan.

 hhg’s come by boat & generally take about 45 days. we shipped ours 5 weeks before we left knowing that we might be in the Navy Lodge for a few weeks to a month. if your shipment arrives in japan & you still are waiting for housing your shipment will go into storage. when you have housing you’ll need to contact the personal property office to set up a delivery date.

u/b shipments come by air & typically take about 30 days.

when we scheduled our move, we were still waiting on our DEA paperwork. in order to secure our move dates, as they were already 3 weeks out, our counselor recommended converting our hhg shipment to a lts {long term storage}. she would convert our shipment back to hhg as soon as i scanned & e-mailed her our dea.

i was hesitant to go this route, but i highly recommend it. 5 days later we received our dea & we still had our original move date of 26-26 september.

after our dea was approved a woman from the moving company called to set up our in home move survey. luckily you can do this without your spouse & without a POA {you’re going to need that POA alot} and my kids behaved remarkably well. one hid in their room so that helped. gotta love stranger anxiety.

i wasn’t pleased when the nice lady in the grey sweater handed me this

so we did what any normal parents would do… started polishing off all the open  “sanity savers”. luckily for us we had a month, 5 full weekends left. problem solved. pina colada, margarita, frozen mudslide anyone?

tip #6  compile a serial number list & take photos of all of your large household ticket items. this would be all of your electronics: tv, ps3, surround sound, laptops, printers, etc. make sure this list contains the purchase date, price, location of purchase, serial number, model #, warranty expiration date & service/800 number. 

i know this seems daunting, but not only is it good to have all of this information in one place, you WILL NEED EVERY SERIAL NUMBER for your shipping invoices. the shipping invoices & high value item paperwork is filled out AFTER everything is boxed & loaded on your truck.

tip # 7  before the movers come make sure you know which high ticket items are NOT being shipped, like a camera, laptop, iPad, etc. you will still want the serial numbers for all of these items & should hand carry it in the backpack with all of your other documents.

tip # place all items that are NOT being shipped in a room & close it off. in the event that you can’t do this, like we were, make piles & cover them with “do not pack” signs but make sure to point these out to the movers. don’t assume anything!

a week later our packer, yes just one arrived with the daunting task of packing up our 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment.

just like santa he worked diligently & got straight to work. i was quite impressed with his professionalism & overuse of the word ma’am. 

my husband took 3 days of leave to help with the kids during the move. my husband took the kids on a walk & to the park when the mover packed the kids toys & our tv.

where are the toys?

tip #8  if at all possible have a family member or friend watch your kids so they’re not in the house while the movers work.

tip #9   to keep your movers happy & simply to be kind stock up on cans of soda & bottles of water you can pass out. forgo the red solo cups, cans & bottles are much easier & will be greatly appreciated

sadly for us my parents spent 3 weeks gallivanting around europe {thanks for the invite!!} & the kids fairy god-mothers were no where in sight! i mean whatever happened to magic wands that went bbibbidi bobbidi boo!?

day 1 consisted of our mover packing our living room & kitchen & ended around 1430 when he ran out paper. what?! ran out of paper. 

he over wrapped my “extensive” collection of large white serving pieces so they don’t break & i’m anxious to unpack them in japan & {hopefully} find them all in one piece!

end of day 1

day 2 was another busy day, especially since i took he kids with me to base to book our flight. that’s a story for another post.

my husband was still busy taking things off the wall & having the kids out of the house must’ve been a blessing for both him & the mover. our dining room, laundry, bathrooms & our bedroom got packed that day. 

i was not excited when i came home to this.

only a man would do this

that was the last night we slept on our bed in our apartment, our home for the last 2 1/2 years. i was pregnant with our son when we moved in & know we were leaving.

the next morning we were up early in anticipation of the movers early arrival. we were in full disassembly of beds & crib mode. my dyson got a super-duper workout while de-dusting our curtains. and most of all the kids enjoyed pulling 56% of the inventory stickers off the boxes & sticking them all over themselves. when our mover showed up at 1540 he was not thrilled with this news.

it was at that moment that i felt the words

“stickers on boxes with kids! are you kidding me? you were asking for it pal!”

about to come out of my mouth

but when i looked over at my husband & saw that knowing look on his face, i bit my tongue. for once.

slowly the movers started hauling boxes to the truck to pack them in crates.

our couch was wrapped in paper & then plastic {much to my disliking as they wouldn’t allow a moving pad, then paper & plastic}. it was then hauled outside to be lifted into a crate on pallets the size of a chevy silverado & then filled with 30 of our pillows. i had the privilege of seeing “tubs” tummy as he stood on the truck above me while i waited for the box to be closed, taped & sealed with 4 stickers signed with my initials. our couch was on its way to the warehouse & i prayed “tubs” would get it there safely.

it seemed to take a century for the 4 movers {our single packer now had 3 helpers} to load our crates. i used this time wisely in the most productive manner & kept the kids occupied by chasing them with the dyson that’d i’d be without for the next 12 weeks. the giggles that came with,

“i’m gonna get you!”

and them repeating it back put smiles on my husband’s & my faces.

finally at 2015 i rattled off countless serial numbers, signed too many shipping invoices & le husband came marching through the door with the pizza i’d pre-ordered. smart move.

we said goodbye to our packer who at this point felt like our 3rd child & did our best to have a pizza party on the floor with 2 messy toddlers.

73 minutes later when the kids were sound asleep my husband walked in with this gem.

32 inches. that’ll work!

another dumpster gift