The Best Way To Conquer Packing Paper After A PCS
We had been married for three weeks.
The Navy packed us up in San Diego and we wound our way across the country to Rhode Island. Our household goods arrived at our new rental home, and we set to work unpacking boxes.
And more boxes.
It seemed eternal. But what I had absolutely no idea about was how much the crumpled up packing paper would take over my life like the smell of burnt popcorn, filling every crevice of the house.
The packing paper reduced moving to a slow motion trudge through a bog of dry, white puffballs. We tripped over piles and gouged our shins on unseen boxes. Parking in the garage was a distant dream.
This could have helped…
I wish I could call back to my rookie spouse self and bestow all the PCS unpacking wisdom I have learned in the past six years. We milspouses have many unpacking options when it comes to receiving our household goods, such as:
- Direct the movers to unpack everything and take boxes with them.
- Do everything yourself and get rid of materials on your own.
- Unpack yourself and have the moving company return to get the boxes (by contract they are required to if you ask).
- Direct movers to unpack some items and leave others for you to deal with.
Of course, I didn’t have all that figured out during my first Navy move.
So I was stuck with beastly wardrobe boxes piled to the ceiling and narrow walking trails between snow drifts of wadded up packing paper.
In an effort to move some filler out of the house, I had a bright idea: recycle!
Turns out, wadded up packing material is next to impossible to recycle. We smashed pile after pile into our recycle bin, but the paper got so wedged into the bin, it didn’t come out when the recycling truck turned it upside down.
What a letdown.
The trick that changed everything
Thankfully, I found a solution to this catastrophe.
It’s a trick I learned from a seasoned milspouse friend named Katherine (who in addition to raising two kiddos, runs her own health coaching business).
The Best Way To Conquer Packing Paper After A PCS:
1- Open box and lift out items such as one shoe from a pair, or clothes nestled next to greasy, smelly garage tools.
2- Unwrap and set paper aside
3- Un-wad paper then flatten it using an outward motion with your knees (see video)
4- Stack flattened paper in a pile.
5- Step on the pile like a T-Rex in a field of pancakes.
6- Move stack of paper to a designated place in the corner of a room or garage.
7- You’re FREE! You’ve escaped from the packing paper jungle
How to minimize the chaos
I have made a lot of PCS mistakes, but for me the easiest and quickest way to get the house functioning is to have the movers unpack as much as possible. Then, they can take the boxes and paper with them right away.
Doing so minimizes the chaos of having boxes everywhere, then you can use the above tips to rapidly get the rest of the mess out of your way.
Good luck on your next move!