Military Moves Part 7: Unload and Unpack

Guaranteed:  at least one item has been damaged...

The end is in sight.  broken plate

The moving truck pulls up to the front of your new home to unload.  It might be an anxious moment finally seeing your HG&E again and if any items have been damaged.  I can guarantee that at least one item has been damaged, but don’t freak out by this comment. It’s almost inevitable.  The damage can be very minimal.  However, in some cases multiple items can be damaged and/or severely damaged. If this is the case, ensure it is documented prior to the unloaders leaving.  Later on, this will assist with the claim procedure.  

(stay tuned for a future blog about how to identify, address, and claim damages!)


The driver will ask a family member to be responsible for the Bingo Sheet.  The Bingo Sheet is a list of all the tag numbers placed on all the HG&E.  As the unloaders unload, they call off the tag number of the HG&E.  The family member crosses off this number on the Bingo Sheet.  When all the HG&E has been unloaded, all the numbers should be crossed off.  This determines that you have received all your HG&E.  


At origin, the loaders spend a fair amount of time disassembling furniture and at destination the unloaders reassemble all the furniture. Reassembling furniture takes longer because the unloaders did not dissemble the furniture and with no assembly instructions it can be bit of a puzzle. If you see an unloader struggling, lend a hand.  I wouldn’t want the job to figure out how to reassemble some of the furniture items.  After the furniture has been reassembled, I recommend double checking that all furniture is tightly secured.  Sometimes the unloaders don’t tighten the furniture securely.  




Military Move Tip:  

Keep a roll or two of toilet paper, a hand towel, hand soap, and garbage bags unpacked. This allows people to use the washroom in a sanitary manner and there is always some sort of garbage left behind such as food waste to dispose of.  These items also come in handy for the unload and unpack.  

Shhh...I have a little secret

Shhh….I have a little secret.  When the loaders leave or even sometimes when they are still here, I open all the wardrobe boxes that contain clothing, the closet and bedding boxes and unpack them myself.  I do this because I have nothing else to do with my time so why not accomplish one of a million tasks. 

Unpacking:  items are not placed in cabinets or drawers

The following day or business day, the unpackers arrive. Remember in the article “Pack, Load, and Clean”, I made a comment “I place a lot of little items in zip lock bags such as utensils from kitchen drawers, toiletries from drawers, and small toys.  I will explain the reason why later in another chapter.”.  Well this is the reason why.  The unpackers take all the items out the boxes and place the items wherever there is an available surface area.   It can look as though the unpackers took a box and dumped it out upside down, although this isn’t actually what happens.  Items are not placed in cabinets or drawers.  By the end of the day it can look as though your home threw up everywhere.  

I follow the main unpacker around the house

If possible, I recommend following the main unpacker around the home.  The main unpacker is usually responsible for the more involved rooms such as the kitchen, living room, and office.  By following the main unpacker around the home, this may allow you to organize items.  At the very least it gets items off the floor and counter tops.  


The packers leave and it’s time to literally pick up all the pieces, physically and metaphorically speaking, to start what seems a new life.  Part of this new life is decorating a new home with existing items and of course a shopping trip to Home Sense to purchase maybe one new decorative piece, that’s if you have self control.  In addition, maybe some painting to provide a new look to make it feel more like home. When the home is unpacked and organized the feeling of being settled will come.  


Becky Van Dyk is a military spouse who has moved more times than most!