Pack out #5 accomplished! We just had the BEST movers ever! They were by far the most professional and speedy movers we've worked with, plus they were such a fun & pleasant group of folks! It was a small group of 4 people: 2 men, 2 women (yes our first female movers). They split our move into two days: HHE and UAB on day 1 (a full 8 hours from start to finish), and DC local storage on day 2, which was only 3 hours. Our group was from Pullen Moving Co of Woodbridge, VA. (No, we don't get royalties for this plug, I just believe in giving credit where credit is due!)
We have now moved 5 times in just over 3 years in the Foreign Service: London to DC; DC to Bahrain; Bahrain to Bahrain (long story), Bahrain to DC, and now DC to Seoul. By now we've learned a few tips and tricks to make the move go slowly.
1. Separate everything you own into separate HHE, UAB and Storage (if any) areas of your house, preferably into separate rooms. That way, things won't end up in the wrong continent.
2. The night before the movers arrive, do a dress rehearsal of your travel day. Pack your suitcases (check-in and carry-on) as if you are flying out immediately. Too much junk? This is the time to move overflow stuff into UAB.
3. Warn your neighbors. They will be putting up with your noise and inconvenience. We asked our neighbors if we could use their parking space, as it was most convenient for moving truck. In return we allowed them to use our space and I put my car on street parking.
4. On the morning of the pack out, we always have coffee, donuts and fruit ready. Throughout the day we have snacks, sodas, water, etc. Some movers break for lunch. Our movers today refused to stop. I should have ordered pizza but I completely forgot but luckily they got but with our snacks and stuff they brought.
5. TIP YOUR MOVERS! Whether domestic or overseas, it's just nice to tip the people who are responsible for your worldly possessions. I'm a big believer in Karma, and wife & I worked enough crap jobs to know these folks don't get paid much.
Exceptions: don't tip movers in countries where it's unacceptable/insulting to tip, and don't tip if they did such a horrible job such as breaking stuff. That's why the coffee & donuts will be sufficient in those cases.