Controlled chaos at the White House

Happy Inauguration week!  (I can’t say inauguration day because my internet has been down for days).  What a spectacular time in history; I’m thrilled to be witness to such positive change in the United States.  Hope is one of my favourite words and I wouldn’t be without it.
I was excited to read in the NY Times about the way the changeover at The White House happens on Inauguration Day.  Within a matter of hours, all the personal belongings are shipped in / out (the incumbent / the elect).  But what does that take?  ALL HANDS ON DECK!  All 93 White House staff are assigned a task and have precious little time to complete it.  What amazing organising skills that would take!

The NY Times article tells a great story about moving day:
…when Bill Clinton was inaugurated in 1993, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s personal assistant decided to hand-carry Mrs. Clinton’s inaugural ball gown from Blair House to the Executive Mansion for safekeeping. Mrs. Clinton’s mother, Dorothy Rodham, put it away — unbeknownst to the residence staff. When Mrs. Clinton went to get dressed, the gown was nowhere to be found.

“It was found in a matter of 15 minutes,” Mr. Walters said, “but it was 15 minutes of sheer panic.”

What about you?  Have you ever had something go missing on moving day?  Or had someone else move something (well intended) without your knowledge?  Or had a smooth move…. I’d love to hear!


7 responses to “Controlled chaos at the White House

  1. My smoothest move had one thing go very right: I packed all the most urgent things (kettle and mugs, sheets, toilet paper) in one box, which I labelled BATHROOM.

    Why bathroom? There were many, many boxes going to every other room. I knew I’d be able to find it there, without having to sort through other boxes.

    • Ah Melissa – great tip! Very clever to pop it in the bathroom. I helped a client move home recently and she did same; had the box of essentials, all beautifully organised. But amongst the tea and coffee there wasn’t quite enough sugar… I’m embarrassed to say that I had sugar sachets in my glove box in the car… it was pretty funny to be able to produce them! LOL!

  2. Hi Lissanne, As an army family, we move quite a bit and invariably the one thing you need first will be in the very last box you open. We (military families) do have a joke that when you finally decide to open that last box, within days you will be notified of your next move. Our last move was 12 months ago and the removalists lost our dining room table! We had to eat Christmas dinner on a trestle table. I’m still missing my chalks and have finally given up on finding them and recently bought a new set. Thanks to your book & column, in the last 12months we’ve managed to donate more than 20 boxes of clothing & household items to the Salvos and I bet that our next move will be the smoothest ever!
    Cheers, Tori

    • Tori, I swear you should never open that last box if you like where you are living! That way, the army will keep you there for a little longer! Tee hee hee.

      You should be very proud of the donations to charity – I’m sure you find it easy now to let go! I love to inspire – thanks for the feedback! well done and keep up the good work!

  3. Hi Lissanne

    First thing on the morning of our last move, I crashed my shoulder into the corner of the door frame (tripped over sneakers – not the ones I was wearing!) and landed in the hospital emergency department for the day.

    I have a moving rule that all the furniture and white goods must go into the house first, and be assembled BEFORE anything else goes in. This way we at least have beds to sleep in at the end of the day. All boxes go into the garage in stacks for each room eg main bedroom etc, so that we can take them, one box at a time, and unpack easily with the least amount of fuss.

    When I arrived home late in the evening, almost comatose from pain killers, I was so CROSS to find that most of the furniture was in the garage and there was only a narrow passage through head high stacks of moving boxes in the house, and they were stacked in front of empty wardrobes and cupboards. Grrr!

    I was left with utter chaos to try and sort with one arm, a helpful but very tired little boy, and a husband who was going back to work interstate! Double grrr!

    If there is ever a next time, I don’t care if a shark has taken my leg off – I’m going to be there to supervise!!!

  4. Thought I’d share a recommendation and a tip.

    Recommendation (for Australia): We’ve now used MiniMovers for our last two moves. Both times the removalists were punctual, polite, professional and helpful – nothing was too much trouble, which made the move so much easier and a lot less stressful. So I thought I’d share my experience in case anyone’s looking for a removalist. Please Note: I don’t have any connection to the company, or get any benefit from this recommendation – just a satisfied customer.

    Tip: For our last move, I got different coloured big dot stickers, (one colour for each room), and stuck these on the boxes instead of labelling them, (e.g. blue dots for kitchen, yellow for bathroom, etc.). Then I made several photocopies of the floor plan of our new place, (from the auction brochure), and stuck the same coloured dots for each room on the floor plan. On moving day, I blu-tacked these floor plans at key points around the house, (e.g. by the front door, along the hallways, etc.) – anywhere I thought a removalist would stop to work out where he had to go. All I had to tell the removalists to do was to match the dots on the box with the floor plan, (i.e. boxes with a blue dot go in the room with a blue dot on the floorplan). Whilst this may sound a little overkill, they loved it, and were MUCH faster at putting everything in the right place. This freed me up to oversee the bigger items like installing appliances and positioning furniture. Overall, I’d say it all ran a lot more smoothly thanks to the coloured dots.

    P.S. Minimovers website, for those who are interested:-

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